The view from the rector's study

2nd May 2003 at 01:00
With the election over, The TESScotland talks to teachers and heads in the front line and to education leaders, who all have some forthright messages for the new Scottish Executive

Ken Goodwin, headteacher of Shawlands Academy, Glasgow

There has been a long overdue and welcome priority given to education and significantly helpful investment. On the other hand, there has been a plethora of initiatives that have tended to overwhelm schools and the obsession with measurement continues.

Schools should be allowed to organise their own development programmes so that teachers' workload is reasonable and we should seek to reduce class size to further improve learning and teaching.

We have a generation of young people whose confidence and levels of skill are extremely high - their potential is considerable. Young people can do things nowadays that my generation could only have dreamt of - creativity and problem-solving being two examples.

Gordon Miller, headteacher of Mearns Academy, Laurencekirk

McCrone has been the main issue. There is still confusion and anxiety in the minds of staff over how key parts are to be implemented, for example, management structures, chartered teacher status and CPD.

The ring-fencing of excellence funding has proved to be singularly unhelpful in making use of this money to its greatest effect. Behaviour difficulties as a consequence of inclusion policy continue to be an issue.

Schools are having to adapt to and cope with an increase in the number of pupils presenting academic and behavioural difficulties.

We must address the inequity of funding of schools across all authorities.

There has to be more curricular flexibility in respect of inclusion along the lines of offering more vocational opportunities. And if PPP (the public private partnership project) is not going to be politically acceptable, something else must be put in its place to ensure continuing development of our school buildings.

The 5-14 programme should be reviewed and replaced.

But there are many good things going on in our schools and public exam figures are proof of an improvement. Schools generally continue to provide a wide variety of opportunities for pupils, academic and otherwise.

Brian Foley, headteacher of St Saviour's High, Dundee

I support social inclusion but a key issue is the problems caused by a small minority of disruptive pupils whose effect is compounded by parents who will not support measures taken by the schools.

Tony Finn, headteacher of St Andrew's High, Kirkcaldy

The Executive has managed to solve some notable problems and is now beginning to provide solutions which are more relevant to Scottish education.

The area which causes most concern is inclusion. How can we get the balance right between offering benefits of inclusion to children who were previously unable to attend our schools and protecting the vast majority of pupils from loss of teaching time as teachers struggle to cope with increased burdens and more challenging behaviour?

Better learning is linked to better behaviour. We need more resources and support to get this right.

Bill Crossan, headteacher of Campbeltown Grammar

I am concerned about the disparity between authorities in terms of staffing and other resources. If all schools are expected to work to the same improvement agenda, it seems invidious that some should do so on the basis of less adequate resources.

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