Education by committee

4th February 2005 at 00:00
"Fiddling while Rome burns," I mused to myself after reading the disagreement between Messrs Kirk and Boyd about the report, A Curriculum for Excellence.

It will be only a small minority of teachers in Scotland who actually read the thing, discovering that it is a collection of high-minded but pretty fatuous statements of little or no use to them.

The only page which teachers really need to look at is the third last one, where they will find a list of the committee members who produced the report. Not a single one of them does anything remotely like the job of a real teacher who stands in front of about 30 pupils day in, day out - and there's the rub.

Every time a committee is appointed by a Minister for Education, it consists of "experts" who have no understanding of the job, of what is practicable and of what is desirable. They produce recommendations which may look good on paper but which are hopeless in practice. I refer merely to all of 5-14 and rest my case.

Your regular columnist, Marj Adams, makes a valid point, as always, when she says the Education Minister should be "consulting a whole lot more classroom teachers".

There is far more educational wisdom in the average staffroom than there is ever likely to be in one of those committees nominated from the top down. I suggest that any future committee should consist of a two-thirds majority of working classroom teachers. If their proposals were acted on, we would soon see genuine improvement in Scottish schools, where standards are embarrassingly poor.

The "experts" have had their way for years and years with their useless ideas. The results are plain - abysmal! Si argumentum requiris, circumspice.

Bill Cooper. Highfield Circle. Kinross

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