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The Curriculum for Excellence is dead; now we need to clarify our aims

Discussion in 'Scotland - education news' started by AyeRight, Apr 5, 2018.

  1. AyeRight

    AyeRight Occasional commenter

    The Curriculum for Excellence is dead; now we need to clarify our aims
    Neil McLennan

    At a recent conference I suggested a new evidence-based, inclusive strategy for Scottish education. The national Curriculum for Excellence is dead. It started life already behind and wasn’t nurtured. How could it be expected to succeed with such a start?

    Establishing what Scottish education was for never happened at the outset of CfE. There was a national debate, but the questions “what is working well?” and “what is not working well?” were never set in any philosophical framing of the purposes of education. Thus the blend of “whole-child”, self-actualisation approaches were not reconciled with performance management of exam results in a broad, inclusive education philosophy.

    CfE has been described as attempting to achieve an egalitarian meritocracy. What has resulted has been complexity, chaos and falling results instead of clarity, cohesion and improvement. A conversation, not a debate, on the purposes of education and clarity on its broad aims in Scotland would help many.

    Those offering critique are marked out as dissenters in “the latest round of attacks on CfE”. This polarised framing is unhelpful and takes away the complexity we are dealing with. Insight into the lack of clear aims for CfE and of evidence-based, educational rationale for its values, capacities and principles will in fact help to strengthen Scottish education.

    The top right-hand corner of the CfE glossy green posters is starting to show cracks. The values noted are not those of education. They are for Scottish parliamentarians. Even then, these were not informed by consultation, widespread engagement or researched evidence. The silversmith making the parliament mace was left to come up with some words.

    The four capacities of CfE — that children will become successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors — were apparently arrived at late in the design. One might ask if Scotland is achieving them. Likewise CfE’s principles: is the curriculum coherent? Are students progressing well? Is there a wide breadth and choice for them? We know the answers: could do better. Let’s get around the table and establish an education system we can be proud of. We are largely a compliant nation. In education, though, questioning is no bad thing.

    Neil McLennan is a senior lecturer at the University of Aberdeen

    inthered and bigjimmy2 like this.
  2. bigjimmy2

    bigjimmy2 Lead commenter

    Nice article. Let's hope any replacement will be . . . simple.
  3. josephsaint

    josephsaint New commenter

    It will depend on which "enlightened" individual is seeking promotion.
    stott1954 and bigjimmy2 like this.
  4. micgbanks

    micgbanks Occasional commenter

    Educational professionals setting up management consultancies and now trying to sell CfE to Wales. SNP government now in full panic mode over education. The narrative now moving towards increased inspections in scope and scale to set up teachers to take the blame.
  5. bigjimmy2

    bigjimmy2 Lead commenter

    Do you have a source for those claims?
  6. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    This is exactly what has happened in England. OFSTED in conjunction with new laws mean that a teacher can have one "bad" observation and then out the door in 6 weeks. The whole English system is designed to make the teacher accountable for everything. It is very easy to manage spreadsheets which have colour coded cells highlighting "problems" caused by bad teaching.
    Excessive, high-stakes assessments every half-term become the purpose of school. Students are aware of their target grades but remember nothing of what they learn. Teachers are given target grades for every student which are somehow based on what the student did in a test in year 6. These target grades then become the stick used to beat teachers into submission and justify zero pay rise.
    England has now reached the point where they cannot recruit or retain teachers. It is a crisis completely attributable to OFSTED, MATs and the laws brought in by Gove.
    I would love to see the marketing literature trying to sell CFE. CFE has not produced a single positive academic outcome. Literacy, numeracy, attainment for socially disadvantaged students are all worse now than before CFE. And Scotland has a teacher recruitment and retention crisis of its own.
    inthered, josephsaint and bigjimmy2 like this.
  7. micgbanks

    micgbanks Occasional commenter

    Look up Donaldson and the education plans in Wales. Look at what the SG is proposing for Ed Scotland HMIe inspections in Scotland. You don't need particularly advanced numeracy skills to add up 2+2
  8. cochrane1964

    cochrane1964 New commenter

  9. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    Not sure what to make of these links. The impact website seems to be punting the same old data-driven garbage which has destroyed teaching in England. the other website is a guy selling his services.
  10. bigjimmy2

    bigjimmy2 Lead commenter

    I'm sorry but I just don't see anything new in your posts.

    People have always pushed their own consultancies - most of them a waste of time, but certain alleged experts have always done it.

    I'm not sure the Scottish Government, or as you called it the SNP Government, is in full "panic mode". I haven't noticed any sense of panic or any pointless new announcements recently to indicate that. Having said that, the Government should be panicking over education because the entire system is corrupt from bottom to top. 1) We have poor teachers, especially new entrants. 2) The curriculum is a joke. 3) Our "management" or "leaders", call them what you will, simply don't know what to do to improve things education-wise. 4) Politicians do not have a clue.

    I'm a bit cold on the Education Scotland proposals tbh, so I'll reserve comment on that.
    brawlassie likes this.
  11. gnulinux

    gnulinux Occasional commenter

    Hear hear!!!
  12. micgbanks

    micgbanks Occasional commenter

    Nothing new here!

    I take it the SG governance proposals, reform of the GTC, the NIF, the HT Charter, the Named Person - to name but a few are all old hat and we don't need to worry about them!

    I hope all Scottish Teachers are not sleepwalking their way into the next 12 months. I would suggest having a look at the plans for the scope of future HMe inspections as that train is just around the corner.
  13. catmother

    catmother Star commenter

    Considering that we have sleepwalked through all the changes of the last few years,including 3 colours tracking spreadsheets (when did that nonsense start?),I have no doubt that more crapola is on its way.
    bigjimmy2 likes this.
  14. bigjimmy2

    bigjimmy2 Lead commenter

    Reform of the GTCS has been talked about for months if not years.
    There is an annual update of the NIF if I remember correctly.
    HT Charter? Nothing to do with coalface teachers but, again, has been mooted about for ages.
    Named Person - that's the HT, scheme has stalled, has been on the table for years.

    I have no particular gripe with your points - indeed, I agree with all of them - but there's nothing anyone is unaware of, that's all. Teachers will sleepwalk through this, because we always have. Teachers need to be led industrially, with someone like the former RMT boss Bob Crow actually telling us what to do.
  15. micgbanks

    micgbanks Occasional commenter

    Teachers being told what to do and then following that advice........ Better chance of hearing cats.

    If teachers genuinely followed a 35H working week. Did not do unpaid work like supported study, curriculum development and lunchtime supervision and taking on responsibilities they don't get paid for. School leaders and Employers may have a bit more respect for them. That's not new but it is true and it's a message that unions have been trying (but failing) to get out to teachers.

    Teachers are their own worse enemy in the race to the bottom for pay and conditions of service. When (and how) will teachers learn the lesson?
    MilkyBar Kid and Marisha like this.
  16. stott1954

    stott1954 New commenter

    I heard Doctor so and so dreamt it up in his bath.
  17. stott1954

    stott1954 New commenter

  18. stott1954

    stott1954 New commenter

    There will always be those that remark- but what about the weans.
  19. Effinbankers

    Effinbankers Lead commenter

    Tell them to go an eff themselves

    This is a job. You get paid for doing your bit, so you can go home and pay your mortgage and feed your kids.

    We're not charity workers or carers (no offence meant to either, they do good work), but it's high time we learned to stop being taken advantage of
    Marisha and bigjimmy2 like this.
  20. alanuk

    alanuk New commenter

    Bring back 5-14!

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