Emperor's Clothes Unravel

30th March 2012 at 01:00

The cabinet secretary's performance on radio last week, as he announced a tactical retreat from the introduction of the new exam system, was far from convincing. Once again he asserts that most secondary schools are in a good state of readiness and as the person ultimately responsible for Scottish education, he should know, shouldn't he?

I took it that the emperor was sensing that his finely-knitted curriculum was beginning to unravel and he was in danger of an embarrassing and revealing moment somewhere down the line.

Why is it that at the last minute he seems to be listening to the secondary teachers who will have to deliver the new curriculum? Surely some of the measures now being hinted at were suggested a number of years ago by those not in the thrall of Curriculum for Excellence.

For the replacement curriculum to be truly excellent, I would hope that it would be demonstrably better than the one that preceded it. But, sadly, if the well tried and tested existing curriculum, rationalised and modified with a pragmatic approach to its simplification and need for update, was put up as an option for most secondary departments, I am sure they would welcome it with the enthusiasm currently missing for CfE.

Sorry to be a pain, Cabinet Secretary, but pound;3.5 million will not even begin to restore the real cuts in expenditure that most schools are having to deal with.

Rob Hands, still a geography teacher.

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