An Easter egg with cracks in it

10th March 2006 at 00:00
To anyone familiar with the various initiatives introduced into Scottish education in recent decades, the way that A Curriculum for Excellence is being handled is becoming depressingly familiar.

Despite the reassurances that it would be different this time, that the profession would be consulted and listened to at every stage, that things would happen on time, we are starting to discern the same old pattern taking shape.

We were told that the subject areas would have their rationales, with all their "overarchings" and "underpinnings", before Christmas 2005. I expect to be amazed if they are out before Easter.

But much more troubling is your report last week of the national co-ordinator's speech to the Association of Educational Development and Improvement Professionals in Scotland conference. There we learn from May Sweeney of "current thinking" and of "a major discussion going on".

By whom, may I ask? How many teachers know of anyone who is involved in this thinking and discussion? How are the members of these thinking and discussion circles appointed? I seriously question whether the views and practical experience of ordinary teachers are being properly represented in the groups shaping the curriculum review.

And then some headteachers are warned that "they will be left on the back foot" if they do not fall into line, while others are praised for taking to the new curricular opportunities "like a duck to water". In other words, there are the usual gold stars for anyone ready to jump on the next bandwagon almost before it appears round the corner.

The whole thing smacks of teachers once again about to be faced with a fait accompli imposed from above.

For me, the tin lid was put on it when I read that the national co-ordinator is off to Australia for two weeks to investigate "rich tasks", whatever they are. Why do these people always waste my taxes by going to the other side of the world? We live in Europe, for goodness sake.

Bill Cooper Highfield Circle, Kinross

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