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Thus the man spake

Douglas Osler has found a new vehicle for his robust views on education - the Scottish Conservative Party.

Although the former head of the education inspectorate was only the chairman of the party's policy advisory group which pronounced on a range of subjects, its section on education will be very familiar to TESS readers who followed the monthly column he wrote for the newspaper following his retirement.

Amid the analysis of problems and solutions, the group (and Mr Osler in The TESS) said:

* "the curriculum is not based on modern needs" and "courses in school are short of preparation for the world of work" ("The curriculum... does not prepare pupils for contemporary society or for their future world of employment" - October 31, 2003)

* "CPD for teachers has been arranged at the expense of pupils' time in school (and) this should be reversed with consideration being given to a one-off buy-out of five weeks of teachers' holidays" ("Time for CPD should not be made available at the expense of children's education... holidays should be used to accommodate professional improvement" - September 26, 2003)

* "I required subjects (should be) English, mathematics, science, history, computing, an oral modern language and sport" ("English, numeracy, maybe some mathematics, sciences, computing, physical education and history" - October 31, 2003)

* "there is a need to improve the effectiveness of... those in local education departments" ("There are some, but few, outstanding officials in education directorates" - January 30, 2004)

* "the guidance system should no longer be staffed necessarily by teachers... for example, behaviour counsellors, a social worker, a careers adviser"

("The range of professionals on the guidance team would vary from school to school... careers adviser, behavioural counsellor, a social worker" - July 30, 2004)

* "the emphasis on specialist schools is unwelcome... all schools should seek quality in all aspects of provision" ("every school in the state system should be offering the best opportunities... to match the needs of all the pupils who attend" - March 26, 2004)

* "in higher education, there is too little accountability... and no effective system of quality assurance" ("universities' use of current resources should be externally assessed... the teaching side of university life should be open to independent quality evaluation" - February 27, 2004).

The Conservatives have made clear the proposals by the group are not party policy and will not necessarily be included in their manifesto for next May's Scottish general and local council elections.

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