Our children deserve better than 5-14

31st July 2009 at 01:00

I could not believe the outdated responses which appeared in The TESS letters page on July 17. In response to Andrew Dempster, who states that "many teachers have little or no idea what it (A Curriculum for Excellence) is all about", I have to question who these teachers are.

In Argyll and Bute, we have been fully involved in new developments leading to a child-centred approach. We recognise we are in the business of teaching children, so we are moving away from self-obsessing, defensive departments and collectively looking at the needs and interests of the children.

Is this a "distillation of all the trendy, liberal thinking that has dominated education since the 1960s"? If it is, then it is shameful how long it has taken to reach our schools.

I spent a lot of time in my school looking at what the parents and children (the people who employ me and pay me) expected from the education we were offering. This may shock Mr Dempster, but fun and relevance were mentioned. Could it be that the Scottish nation has moved on and left the dinosaurs clinging onto 5-14 behind?

In implementing "fun" and "relevance", we have raised attainment and achievement and we no longer have reluctant attenders and disengaged learners. We have less discipline and disruption, and more time to teach. Children are learning because they want to, not because they are being threatened with consequences and punishments if they don't.

In response to the "Concerned Parent" of Duncanrig, East Kilbride, the welfare of the pupils is the highest priority. That is why this curriculum reform is so urgent. We have been letting our children down for years with the worksheet-based, subject-focused time-fillers. It is sad that someone feels their child is part of some experiment and does not see that he or she will benefit greatly from opportunities the year groups ahead of him or her have missed out on. I have seen children accelerate a year ahead of where they would have been under 5-14 restrictions.

Perhaps some teachers should be phased out with 5-14, because children of this country deserve better.

Stephen Glen-Lee, headteacher, Luing Primary.

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