Curriculum for Excellence in Dundee Must Provide Best Options for Our Secondary School Pupils

At the Education Committee tonight, I will be arguing that there is an alternative to the Director’s one size fits all flow charts and timetables for curriculum for excellence in our Secondary Schools.

Let’s not kid ourselves that it’s all under control and everything in the educational garden is lovely.  In recent workforce surveys many teachers in Scotland have indicated their lack of preparation for and confidence in delivering the new curriculum and preparing their pupils for the new examinations.  Although the recent letter from the Cabinet Secretary for Education is last minute, it offers some additional cash and some opportunities for opt outs from the new examinations.

The motion I will be presenting to the Committee tomorrow evening will provide an opportunity to pause and take stock rather than ploughing on regardless.

We need our secondary schools and their subject departments to honestly explore the possibility of deferring entering their pupils for the new exams and taking the existing Intermediate assessments instead. We must be guided by the overriding principle that we must always do what is best for our pupils who only get one shot at this.

We should not be over influenced by the Director’s grand design but rather take account of the reality of readiness in every department in every one of our secondary schools.  I am sure many subjects departments and many teachers are relatively confident about the big changes ahead and will take these in their stride. But it would be surprising if some departments in some schools would not benefit from the opportunity to make use of the special measures which the Cabinet Secretary for Education has made available for every secondary school in Scotland.

Finally, we need a report in early June that appraises councillors of the real choices that are to be put before pupils, parents and carers before the end of the summer term.