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Time for a values-based approach

Education Secretary believes new curriculum could have helped to halt the economic crisis

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The Education Secretary believes the new curriculum could have warded off the boardroom behaviour which plunged the world into economic crisis.

Fiona Hyslop has called on schools to take advantage of the new curriculum to instil a sense of values in pupils. In an upbeat speech to a conference in Edinburgh during which she announced the timetable for the reforms (see opposite), she declared: "The strength of A Curriculum for Excellence is that it is values-based. The need for a return to a values- based society and world in general has been put into stark relief by recent economic events.

"Founding or re-founding our children's education on a values-based approach could not have come at a better point in our history."

At the conference, organised by the Educational Institute of Scotland for its head and depute members, she acknowledged that the economic crisis "has created serious financial pressures for councils", but insisted "there are signs that councils have acted to protect education budgets, and in some cases to actually enhance them".

Ms Hyslop said pound;23 billion would be going into local government this financial year and next, a record amount and an increasing share of the central government budget. Cross-examined, she said councils had resources to maintain teacher numbers at 2007 levels; they were also allowed to retain their efficiency savings for the first time and not to use these to reduce teacher numbers.

In a strong defence of the Government's proposals, she endorsed:

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