Little impact in the classroom

13th March 1998 at 00:00
How is Brian Wilson doing? We asked three teachers who are Labour activists.

Iain Stewart, Liberton High, Edinburgh, and vice-chairman of social work and housing in East Lothian "We are looking at severe budgetary constraints in local government and while the new money is welcome, we have got unavoidable growth in certain areas." The Children Act was one extra burden on councils. Some schools in his area are overflowing because of rising rolls, Mr Stewart said.

Higher Still and 5-14 are the troublespots for teachers, according to Mr Stewart. Just when they thought they had Standard grade under control, there were changes there too. "Over the past 20 years we have still not taken a holistic view of educational policy."

And Mr Wilson's impact in the classroom? "Very little."

David Watt, Cleveden Secondary, Glasgow, and secretary of the Socialist Educational Association "You have got to put it in the context of the last 20 years. We have had comprehensive education for 33 years and 22 of them have been under a Tory government. We have got a lot of work to do. Brian Wilson is playing a safe approach."

Teachers were being patient with the new minister and Government but Mr Watt warns it may be different this time next year. "The Labour party in terms of education, education, education has to be ready to put its money where its mouth is."

Angus McCormack, Nicolson Institute, Stornoway, and past president of the Educational Institute of Scotland "Under the Tory regime you were always looking over your shoulder to see what the next thing they were going to do was. Brian Wilson is prepared to talk and listen to others. He has put money into early intervention which was very important for us and he has been prepared to look into further education, which is a big problem. He shored up Clydebank College which the Tories would not have done. He is trying to find ways to resource FE."

Mr McCormack believes the Education Minister will have to tackle 5-14 and Higher Still developments which "have not satisfied people".

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