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Union fears wane of subject specialists

Scotland's second-largest teaching union has sounded the alarm over fears that Curriculum for Excellence may be opening the door to a dilution of specialist teachers in the secondary sector.

The warning was prompted by a Stirling Council job advertisement for a French teacher which stated: "In the context of Curriculum for Excellence, a willingness to teach outwith traditional subject areas is essential."

Ann Ballinger, general secretary of the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association (SSTA), is concerned that the advertisement presaged a drift away from subject specialist requirements.

"This is the first advertisement like this, but there is a trend. I know probationers are being asked at the interview stage if they are willing to teach other subjects," she said.

A spokesman for the General Teaching Council for Scotland said it had already identified this issue as "requiring further attention" in the run- up to the full implementation of CfE. It expected local authorities to take into account the qualifications of teachers when recruiting staff.

A spokeswoman for Stirling Council said the wording of the job advertisement had been agreed by the Local Negotiating Committee for Teachers, which included an SSTA representative who had raised no objections to it.

The requirement that applicants should be willing to "teach outwith traditional subject areas" referred not to their having to teach traditional subjects other than their own, but rather to their flexibility and willingness to teach ASDAN (Award Scheme Development and Accreditation Network) courses and similar vocational or personalised programmes, she said.

Elizabeth Buie,

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