Less of the Hobson's choice

2nd March 2012 at 00:00

One hundred years ago Henry Ford famously said: "You can have any colour, as long as it's black." Fast forward to Education Scotland 2012: "You can have any curriculum model - as long as it's 3+3."

Lochaber High's "Big Jim" (Sutherland) is absolutely right to defend his school's preferred 2+2+2 model (24 February), approved by staff, parents and pupils. He is also right in thinking that he doesn't have a problem - Education Scotland has the problem.

Each school should be free to meet the needs of its community by whatever means and model they choose. Mallaig High, a neighbouring school of Lochaber High, has had a 3+3 model for several years, the result of a move to S3 presentation. Like Lochaber High, the aim was to eliminate the S2 diploss of momentum - never was it intended to reduce pupil choice, slow down the pace of learning and reduce pupil motivation.

Mallaig's 3+3 model, based on S3 Standard grades, has a proven, successful record, with many pupils confidently embarking on the senior phase with a broad base of eight good Standard grades as they move on to HighersIntermediates in S456.

It remains to be seen whether Curriculum for Excellence will do as much for pupils. If it works - whether 2+2+2 or 3+3 - why fix it?

H Wilson (Ms), Glenfinnan.

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