'Delusory' plan to introduce Scottish studies to curriculum

9th September 2011 at 01:00
Government's step to make subject compulsory is derided

Former Scottish Education Minister Brian Wilson has slated the Government's plans to introduce Scottish studies as a compulsory subject in the curriculum.

The suggestion by Alasdair Allan, Minister for Skills and Gaelic, that the Scottish education system's principal failure was its delivery of basic information to Scots about their own country was "delusory", said Mr Wilson, writing in the West Highland Free Press.

Scottish education's real failures were its lack of delivery of acceptable standards of numeracy and literacy to a high proportion of pupils, and the fact that Scotland was "probably the most hopelessly monoglot society in Europe already", he said.

Mr Wilson, who was in charge of Scottish education in the late 1990s, also questioned the content of the planned subject, as Scottish history and literature are already part of the curriculum.

"Are there to be extra doses of religion? A few minefields there. Or is Scottish studies going to be a revival of modern studies from a Scottish perspective? Even more minefields there," he said.

Ensuring Scottish content was in the curriculum was "entirely proper" as part of a balanced approach, he said - but creating a compulsory subject called Scottish studies was unlikely to enhance this.

Giving Scottish pupils the opportunity to learn through the medium of Gaelic should be a Government priority, rather than "creating tokenistic provision without substance . under the banner of `Scottish studies'," he said.

Julia Belgutay, julia.belgutay@tes.co.uk.

SCOTTISH STUDIES WORKING GROUP

Members announced this week:

- Duncan Ross, Glasgow University;

- John Hodgart, Association for Scottish Literary Studies;

- Douglas Gifford, Glasgow University;

- Neil Mclennan, Scottish Association of Teachers of History;

- Ian Walford, Historic Scotland;

- Liz McGlashan, Scottish Association of Geography Teachers;

- Marian Docherty, principal of Newbattle Abbey College;

- Gavin Wallace, Creative Scotland;

- Phil Cunningham, musician;

- Arthur Cormack, chair of Bord na Gaidhlig;

- Liz Lochhead, Scots Makar;

- Anne Jardine, Education Scotland;

- Robert Quinn, Scottish Qualifications Authority.

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