Editor's comment

21st September 2007 at 01:00
A thread consistently running through discussions on A Curriculum for Excellence has been "show us the detail". This week, the draft experiences and outcomes for numeracy and science were published by Learning and Teaching Scotland but for some, that detail is still lacking.

At first, the guidance provides no surprises. Indeed, as is acknowledged in the documents for "numeracy across the curriculum", many teachers, particularly in primary, are already embedding numeracy skills in other areas of learning, notably enterprise education.

Concerns have emerged, however, that in its current format, the guidance does not make sufficiently explicit the core ideas of science. Stuart Farmer, a leading member of the Association for Science Education in Scotland, warns that some teachers could teach their pupils about the applications and technological developments described in the draft without explaining the underlying basic science. Significant support in the form of continuing professional development will be needed if classroom practice is to fulfil the aspirations of this curriculum.

In maths, which has seen a large influx of new teachers to meet the S1-2 class size cuts, they could struggle to find their way through the outcomes.

Ironically, teachers in England have long complained about being hemmed in by an over-prescriptive curriculum (there are moves to offer more freedom at local level). Now, their counterparts in Scotland are worried about a lack of specificity.

The profession, meanwhile, awaits with trepidation the deliberations on the other key area of reform the future shape of qualifications, particularly Standard grades and Intermediates 1 and 2. There is some urgency for the new courses must lead naturally into the next stage of exams.

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