Curriculum for science

7th March 2008 at 00:00
South Ayrshire headteacher

"Curriculum for Excellence is about creative approaches to getting children to solve problems along pathways that the teachers know. It's like going on a journey with no limits to learning.

But the science outcomes are very woolly. 'To appreciate the night sky' - what does that mean? How do you know when they've learnt it? What is it they have to know?

Less prescription and more scope for creativity is fine. But this is no prescription. It's back to 'make it up as you go along'. So it'll be whoever gets in first with the best package, and we'll call that Curriculum for Excellence. How is that different from 5-14?

For primary school science, we want things that work and that will help teachers to see connections. We need a genuine cross-curricular approach, not just more topics.

I want to see that spirit of creativity and to have Assessment is for Learning, critical skills and everything else that makes teaching more effective built into the new curriculum. We need teachers to enjoy teaching again.

What we don't need is 'I did Curriculum for Excellence on Tuesday afternoon'. But that's what we seem to be getting."

Jeanette Kean, Primary teacher and science network leader, West Lothian

"I am out of school at the moment and having time to develop the science curriculum with other enthusiastic people. Maybe it is a bit rarefied, but primary teachers as a whole still seem positive about the new curriculum. They don't have the same concerns about how it all dovetails with assessment as their secondary colleagues.

There is a generation difference, with people trained in 5-14 having more to learn about risks and developing things in depth. There will be a lot of 5-14 running alongside Curriculum for Excellence until people get more familiar with the new outcomes.

It was slow at first, but the outcomes are coming thick and fast now, with primary teachers taking on board all curricular areas. There is enthusiasm from both primary and secondary teachers for cross-sector work.

What I welcome most about the new curriculum is the freedom it gives us to follow the interests of all the children."

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