Excellence comes at a cost

26th January 2007 at 00:00
James Waugh, Nether Currie Crescent, Currie, Edinburgh

So, teaching practice in Scottish schools has stayed "broadly static" and in many instances learning is "adequate" since the teachers' agreement was put in place. Can anyone in Scottish schools have expected HMIE to say anything else?

The pace at which HMIE expects teachers and schools to progress is highlighted in The Journey to Excellence document published last year.

Schools are now expected to move from being "very good" to being "excellent".

Part one of The JTE outlines the general features of an excellent school, followed by part two (97 pages) which has 10 dimensions. Each of these outlines the "specific features" needed to reach excellence. When you look at the demands, it becomes clear why HMIE considers learning and teaching in schools no more than "adequate".

I suspect many teachers would reach the standard relating to a good teacher, but the excellent teacher seems a tall order and ignores the realities of Scottish classrooms.

The chartered teacher may set the standard needed to be an excellent teacher but, for many, this means giving up other aspects of their life, already under strain as a result of trying to be a good teacher.

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