National Policies don't add up

1st April 2011 at 01:00

As a parent with a child in first year, at the forefront of the Scottish Government's Curriculum for Excellence policy implementation, I am struggling to make the connection between what is happening in my son's school in South Ayrshire, and the Government's vision for economic development - "to create a more successful country, with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish".

The policies just don't seem to add up. How can a national policy, which claims to be aiming for excellence in the education of all children and young people across Scotland, be subject to the vagaries of local implementation, and at the same time assure equality of opportunity?

How can South Ayrshire Council's compulsory reduction in the number of certificated subjects available in my son's school when he reaches fourth year, not put him and his peers at a disadvantage when what little evidence there is available indicates that such a policy is not being introduced across Scotland?

How can we attract more women into science when we limit opportunity at such a tender age? And how can Scotland and its people remain at the forefront of global research and innovation if we undermine our children's potential in such a short-sighted manner?

The jury may still be out as to whether this national policy has the potential to enable our children to achieve excellence. There is no doubt, however, that affording local councils the autonomy to manage the implementation of such far-reaching changes in times of swingeing budget cuts is a recipe for disaster.

Whatever flavour of Government we have in Scotland after the May elections, if they care about our children and the future economic prosperity of Scotland, they will not progress the implementation of reforms which treat children's education like a postcode lottery.

Dr Ann McMahon, Doonfoot, Ayr.

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