Too soon to cry foul

25th November 2005 at 00:00
It has been with some disbelief and disappointment that I have seen various media reports, following the "statements" by Peter Peacock at The TES Scotland 40th anniversary seminar in Inverness.

Disbelief because, as a participant at the seminar, I bore witness to the Education Minister's views, and I wonder if I was party to the same discussion as that reported in some sections of the press. Your publication of the minister's remarks on November 11 was helpful, as was your wise editorial counsel.

As a teacher of history for the first 17 years of my career, I think I may have risen to any ministerial challenge to the place of history in the curriculum. In fact, there was no such challenge. The challenge that the Scottish education community must accept, however, is that the Scottish Executive has given us an opportunity to define what a 21st century curriculum should look like, both in structure and in terms of delivery - placing the needs of learners first.

If, at the first hint of change, we revert to bunkers and trenches, then my disappointment with those who knee-jerked a few weeks ago will continue.

History has a unique part to play in a curriculum promoting the development of skills and knowledge for our young people. It lends itself to a range of learning and teaching styles within and outwith the classroom and it is very well placed to take advantage of the new techniques that the likes of the Scottish Schools Digital Network will make freely available.

So let's draw a line under what the minister did not say and get on with the real debate about how to best serve our learners in 21st century Scotland.

Bruce Robertson Director of education, culture and sport, Highland Council

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