SNP says Inspectorate must pay for exam fiasco

9th February 2001 at 00:00
The SNP is to hit the streets with its education manifesto next week, pledging to abolish the full-time schools inspectorate.

In its place the party plans to second "active" teachers for four-year periods, creating "a better, livelier and more accountable link" between the inspection system and practitioners in schools.

Although the policies have been drawn up by a working group which included educationists and teachers, they reflect the thinking of Michael Russell, the SNP's new education spokesman. Mr Russell has frequently said publicly that fresh ideas and fundamental reforms are requred in the wake of the exams fiasco.

The proposals are intended to signal an assault on Labour's twin-track strategy of "pressure and support" for schools. Mr Russell told the secondary heads' annual conference in Crieff last November that this had included no element of consultation and had failed.

He believes education reforms have to take account of the pressures on teachers, pupils and parents. The SNP will set out to "depressurise the system", as he put it in his Crieff speech. This is likely to include pulling back from current approaches to assessment and target-setting.

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