Free-thinking? Dream on

4th August 2006 at 01:00
Scotland ready for an experimental secondary school run along the theories of the Howard Gardners and Reuven Feuersteins of this world? Professor Brian Boyd and Sir Graham Hills think it should be (page five) - although there is some doubt as to whether their enthusiasm for schools run along creative thinking lines is shared by the movers and shakers of the Scottish system.

Sir Graham's idea was to create an innovative secondary school under the city academy model which eschewed the current stranglehold of subject domination; Professor Boyd - a stalwart supporter of the comprehensive model - insists it should be part of the state system. That, however, poses funding issues. Would the Scottish Executive, or indeed a consortium of local authorities, be prepared to stump up? More to the point, how would parents respond? Were it to be another high-performing Jordanhill School mark 2, receiving direct grant funding from the executive, but run along traditional curricular lines, there would doubtless be a headlong rush by parents to register their children.

Parents are conservative creatures, however, clinging to the comfort of familiar exam standards and curriculum subjects. Those who are less comfortable with mainstream education tend to opt for schools in the Rudolf Steiner mould. There may not be very many who would choose to ask their son or daughter, "How did you get on in cross-curricular creative thinking today, darling?"

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