Getting personal about learning

13th May 2005 at 01:00
Personal learning planning (PLP) was always going to be a tricky initiative. The Education Minister recognised this early on when he insisted it was personal learning planning, not plans - a process, in other words, not a bureaucratic accumulation of documents. The Association of Head Teachers in Scotland is not impressed (page three) and has called on its members to boycott the "process" unless they are satisfied sufficient resources are in place.

But there is an argument that personal learning planning should not be regarded as new at all. Setting time aside to tell pupils what they are going to learn, what is expected of them and what will be done in response to their progress is surely at the heart of effective teaching. Of course, just as there are teachers and headteachers who are more and less effective, so PLP will be of variable quality. No doubt the AHTS statement reflects that.

But there is no need to throw the baby out with the bath water and, if councils like Falkirk can claim to be making a success of it, why can't others? As ever, the test is the gains for pupils.

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