Misguided curriculum claims

23rd March 2012 at 00:00

Janet Brown's opinion piece (9 March) provoked the sort of rant I usually reserve for inane proclamations from politicians. The article was full of misguided assertions about the "seamless progression" that learners will experience thanks to Curriculum for Excellence and the Scottish Qualifications Authority's design of the new qualifications.

She was keen to stress that a "continuum of learning" will exist between CfE levels and National 4 and 5, and that there will be sufficient flexibility to cater for pupils' individual paces of learning. That sounds marvellous in theory, but I am left wondering whether Dr Brown has ever visited a school. Her idealised curriculum takes no account of the timetabling issues. She seems to suggest that an average S4 cohort will in future comprise some pupils taking eight National 5s; some taking a mixture of National 4s and 5s; some weaker pupils studying eight National 4s over two years or five National 4s just in S4, spending more time on each subject than a more able pupil would need.

The implications for staffing and rooming alone are mind-boggling.

Then there is supposed to be progression between National 4 and 5 rather than an overlap of content, so bi-level teaching effectively becomes impossible.

It is high time Dr Brown and the SQA ceased their blue-sky thinking and instead came back down to earth, and thought about how best to work within the constraints that exist in secondary schools.

Sally Watson, Aberdeen.

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