Seven-week summers 'are squeezing attainment'

24th March 2000 at 00:00
Neil Munro reports from the spring conference of the Headteachers' Association of Scotland at Airth

THERE is an urgent need to reorientate schools to accommodate the needs of pupils, Archie Morton, director of education in Argyll and Bute, told heads.

The seven-week summer break was "anathema" - fine for teachers but not for pupils. Mr Morton would prefer four weeks.

He said pupils in the first two years of secondary were the "poor relations" in the present system because classes are timetabled only after the exam-driven years of S3-S6 have been organised and staffed.

Mr Mortn, whose proposals for a schools shake-up in Argyll have won few friends so far, suggested that pupils entering secondary should have no more than four core teachers.

Heads also heard from Keir Bloomer, director in Clackmannanshire and president of the Association of Directors of Education, that the record of introducing changes has been "a tale of sorry mismanagement".

Heads should play more of a lead role in influencing policy at a time when technological changes and a greater understanding of how people learn are likely to transform the nature of schooling and education.

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