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Thoughts of the day

- "The notion that professionals get guidance for everything de- professionalises them," according to Jim Conroy, dean of education at Glasgow University. Speaking as an advocate of Curriculum for Excellence, he declared: "Our job as leaders is to ensure our colleagues are professional, that they are treated like professionals, think like professionals and act like professionals. Otherwise we will always be having things done to us."

Professor Conroy revealed that tabloids were banned from Glasgow University's education faculty because "students could not educate if they were not educated themselves".

- Tommy MacKay, the educational psychologist behind the West Dunbartonshire literacy programme, credited with virtually wiping out illiteracy in the authority, has claimed that the new curriculum will not improve Scottish children's reading and writing. To improve literacy you had to tackle "the key issue of eradicating illiteracy", he said in a Question Time-style session at the conference. The quality of the curriculum was not the issue, he stressed

- Brian Boyd, one of the original architects of the new curriculum, who was also on the panel, agreed and said that instead of introducing assessment of literacy and numeracy, the Government should have rolled out the West Dunbartonshire programme across the country.

- Ian Jones, headteacher of Madras College in St Andrews, said the plans for assessing literacy and numeracy via all subjects would be a "logistical nightmare" in a large school such as his, which takes in 300 new S1 pupils each year.

- Ronnie Summers, headteacher at Musselburgh Grammar, warned that, amid all the current upheaval, it was important to step back and see the big "strategic" picture, rather than focusing too intently on details. The issue of transition, for example, should not be only about the mechanics of moving school, but also creating a consistent rate of progression in the learning and teaching experience.

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