Curriculum for Excellence faces crisis of confidence and resources

The Scottish Government needs to address the lack of resources and the crisis of confidence in the new Curriculum for Excellence.

Surveys have shown that teachers have grave doubts about the implementation of the Curriculum for Excellence, which is due to start in August this year. The Scottish Government have taken the unprecedented step of telling the HMIe inspectorate to suspend inspections and set aside their other responsibilities, to act as advisors in an attempt to rescue the process.

Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie said that this was papering over the cracks rather than delivering what teachers wanted.

“They want better information about assessment criteria, clearer guidance, time for development, and course materials and other resources to be made available. I raised the issue with the cabinet secretary , Mike Russell, at last week’s Question Time in the Scottish Parliament.

“I reminded him about the Scottish Qualifications Authority inquiry, undertaken when we were both members of the Education, Culture & Sport Committee. The problems leading to the SQA debacle included the fact that the new system had not bedded in and, more important, the fact that communication between the various parties, including the SQA and education authorities, was not good.

“The Scottish Government need to listen to parents and teachers who are saying that schools are simply not ready, so that we ensure that the curriculum for excellence is successful and we do not end up in the same mess that we did with the SQA.”

Mike Russell responded that “the message that the member described” was not “consistent across the education sector”, and referred to a statement from the EIS teachers union that “Scottish education needs CfE to succeed, so we must work together to ensure that this will happen”.

Cathy said:

“Everyone wants the CfE to be successful, but that will not happen if problems are ignored.

“Clearly there are problems that need to be sorted. As to how widespread they are, I note that Mike Russell now intends to write to every parent of children beginning secondary school in Scotland.

“The Scottish Government has had three years, including a year’s delay, to introduce the new Curriculum but the vast majority of secondary teachers feel they are not ready for its implementation.

“I hope that before Mike Russell writes to parents he will address the issues that parents and teachers are raising. Just writing letters won’t sort a lack of preparation and resources.”

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