It's critical we get there

1st April 2005 at 01:00
In your report last week on the Scottish Book Trust conference on creativity, you quote Margo Williamson, principal education officer with Learning and Teaching Scotland, as saying that "the review of the curriculum had shown that everyone knew where they wanted to be but were still working on how to get there".

Please allow me to point out that, in the view of many authoritative judges, the critical skills programme provides a proven, comprehensive and highly practical way of "getting there".

For example, in an article entitled "The why and the how" (TESS, May 23, 2003) Ian Smith, founder of Learning Unlimited, voiced the following opinion: "(Critical skills) clearly addresses our five national priorities . . . By far the most exciting thing about the programme for teachers is that it satisfies the how question. It actually works in the classroom."

And in her column in your newspaper in June last year, Linda Kirkwood of Oban High School said: "Our staff have experienced some of the best presenters in the land but, of all of the courses, the critical skills programme is the winner by a long chalk. Creativity, assessment for learning, enterprise, citizenship, inclusion: they are all there."

Finally, the foreword to the Scottish Executive's document A Curriculum for Excellence states that "people want a curriculum that will fully prepare today's children for adult life in the 21st century".

Compare this with the conclusions of the recent intensive study of critical skills in Jersey by Professor Ted Wragg: "Our overall conclusion is that the critical skills programme empowers teachers, enhances pupils' learning and is appropriate for its purpose of preparing children for adult life in the 21st century."

Colin Weatherley Critical Skills Programme manager (Scotland) The Paddock, Gullane

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