When excellence turns weedkiller in learning for life

18th April 2008 at 01:00
Niall MacKinnon's piece, "Perils of permanent perfection" (TESS, March 21), is the second intelligent analysis I have read about A Curriculum for Excellence. The first was the comment by Brian Cooklin, president of the Headteachers' Association of Scotland, that "if it's running down your leg, it's a curriculum for excellence".

Hitherto, nobody has questioned excellence as "a good thing" in education. Applied to an arithmetic or spelling test, it is a limited, if possibly desirable, target. Applied to the curriculum, teachers or learners, it defeats its own ends. Imposed by HMIE, it may well be labelled a curriculum for disappointment, failure and negativity; sloshing weedkiller over a garden may get rid of the odd dandelion, but it will hardly encourage growth.

Maybe it is time to bin ACfE. It has served its purpose for those wanting out of the classroom. We should adopt instead Niall MacKinnon's suggestion of A Curriculum for Life, which has the best and widest aspirations and the least of HMIE's narrow audit.

But a word of caution: he might share the fate of another great teacher 2,000 years ago whose curriculum for life also failed to meet the approval of HMIE (Galilee division).

H Wilson, Mallaig High.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now