English rebels scorned

19th February 1999 at 00:00
THE Education Minister has dismissed the recently formed Scottish Association of Teachers of Language and Literature (SATOLL) as representing a "minority view".

The association has gathered signatures from 1,200 teachers protesting at internal assessment in Higher Still English and wants to achieve substantial redrafting of courses in line with "the educational values of the subject".

Helen Liddell was speaking at the launch of figures which reveal that, while 80 per cent of the revised Higher courses are going ahead next session, fewer than a fifth of Scotland's 366 English departments will be ready. The remainder are postponing the new Higher for a year.

Mrs Liddell said she refused to be "bounced" into changes "based on the activities of a very small number of people". She praised "the majority of English teachers for getting ahead".

Tony McManus, assistant principal teacher of English at Queensferry High and a driving force behind the protests, said petition forms were still being returned. "We are convinced the majority of teachers of English in Scotland support the aims of SATOLL," Mr McManus said. "At first we were accused of being only an Edinburgh organisation, but the magnificent turnout at our inaugural meeting in Glasgow disproved that."

He complained that in some cases teachers had been leant on to proceed. "Even where departments undertake courses out of a sense of professionalism and concern for their pupils, participation should not be interpreted as support," Mr McManus said.

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