New curriculum full of CPD opportunities

22nd May 2009 at 01:00
As one of the 583 teachers who did not return their questionnaire on the EIS survey about A Curriculum for Excellence, I felt it only right to take time to respond to your doom-laden cover story of May 8

I am not sure why I did not complete my questionnaire, and I know I should have taken the time to do so. However, I may have been catching up on the legions of paperwork that mount steadily for a primary headteacher. I also seem to remember not particularly liking the way the questions were formed.

I feel nothing but enthusiasm for and agreement with all that this new curriculum stands for. It is, after all, based on surveys and consultation that highlighted areas of current practice which needed to change.

I believe that we have come incredibly far in the last four years. ACfE is about principles and practices. It is about how children learn as well as what they learn. Assessment is for Learning has caused a sea change in practice.

There is enough to keep any school going in continuing professional development materials for a very long time - the Journey to Excellence site, HMIE self-evaluation materials, the Learning and Teaching Scotland website to name a few.

The EIS believes there is a need for nationally-led CPD or the new curriculum will fail - but why should that be the case? A Curriculum for Excellence has given us a framework and it is for each school, cluster and authority to find the way to make that meaningful for them. It is then the job of school leaders to make sure that their school improvement plan has ACfE at its core - mine certainly does.

I know I speak as a primary practitioner and I realise that demands and structures are different and perhaps more challenging in secondary. However, as your article on St Kentigern's Academy showed last week - leadership from the top, enthusiastic staff and a little bit of thinking outside the box can produce amazing things.

I feel sorry for the 11 per cent of questionnaire respondents who "had not been involved in discussions" on the new curriculum; if any of them are school leaders, then I despair. My answer would be to log on to the LTS website, click on C for A Curriculum for Excellence and take your pick of good CPD opportunities.

Charlotte Robertson, headteacher, Larbert Village Primary.

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