Call for evidence

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    “The Commission on School Reform was set up by the think tanks Reform Scotland and the Centre for Scottish Public Policy to consider whether the school system in Scotland is meeting the present and future needs of young people and to make specific recommendations as to how things might be improved or areas that require further enquiry.”

    We should respond to this as the Pedagoo “community”…what do you think about any of the following questions…?

    What do you think are the main challenges facing Scottish schools and how are these best addressed?
    Is Scottish education sufficiently ambitious?
    What should it do to ensure that it meets future challenges and remains internationally competitive?
    What are the outcomes for children and young people that we should hold as being most important?

    • This topic was modified 10 years, 3 months ago by Fearghal.
    • This topic was modified 10 years, 3 months ago by Fearghal.

    Lots to say on this, but one thing that immediately strikes me is that second question: Is Scottish education sufficiently ambitious?

    It’s a loaded question in so many ways, and goes right to the heart of what we think Scottish Education should be. To borrow a phrase, what is the Purpose of Scottish Education?

    Is education’s role to provide workers for the future, and if so, do we have a clear vision of what that work will be? Or is it to help learner’s become learners so they can approach the future with the ability to adapt and thrive?

    Also, what is it that defines it as ‘Scottish’ education as opposed to simply ‘education’?

    There are so many nuances to this question that I’m going to have to think about it and come back, but for now, I’ll simply say that I believe there is a disconnect between what many would wish Scottish Education to be, and the realities of how we’re going to get there. I’m hearing too many people trying to take what they already do and adapt it (as little as possible) in order for it to ‘fit’ the new National standards. I believe this is indicative of one of the basic problems education everywhere faces: we have allowed our accountability to become more important than the needs of those we teach.

    I do believe there is a desire to make changes for the better, but they are being hampered by those with limited — or backwards facing — vision.

    Much more to come on this one!

    • This reply was modified 10 years, 3 months ago by Neil. Reason: Fixed a typo!

    Firstly a major challenge is the undermining of teaching as a profession and the poor status / lack of respect society affords us for doing this crucial job.

    Next one of the main challenges facing Scottish education is the huge gap between the great forward thinking initiatives (CfE) and the cack handed manner they are implemented. It constantly amazes me that the core principles of CfE are undermined at every turn by paranoid management and a deep set desire to cling to grades and formative assessment just to fill in boxes or make pretty graphs. I am foerced to grade CfE using 5-14 by another name as that is what the authority demands. Really we should be reporting fully to parents about their children’s progress, experiences, next steps in a holistic manner – you don’t need a grade!

    Another huge problem is IT provision which can be embarrassingly bad and Glow is descending into farce.

    As for ambition I think it is present in bucketfulls but it is quashed too often (again just look at CfE) by many who are stuck in their ways and not forced to re-evaluate their practice. Often these are people in promoted positions within schools and authorities who are not brave enough to stand up to parents etc for fear of damaging their career – as one said to me today “you’ve got to play the game”.

    I think in terms of future challenges etc I would refer back to my previous points – if we are not trusted as professionals and allowed / enabled to develop and change we will be left behind.

    Young people need to be leave education as functioning, capable members of society. they need to be literate and numerate but they also need to be able to adapt to new situations and crucially to think and work independently. I think enabling independence at all levels is essential. Health and Well being ideals of respect for others, community and society are also very important.

    There is loads more but I’m going to stop or I’ll make myself miserable! But I do know there are loads of great teachers and practitioners out there!

    Darren Leslie

    Yes!! Scottish Education is certainly suitably ambitious. I for one, as an NQT, am suitably ambitious. I am taking my first tentative steps into the world of education and I believe hand on heart that Scottish Education is going in the right direction and we should be aiming for the stars. We are aiming to create pupils that are hungry to learn, hungry to improve, hungry for success and importantly hungry to succeed. Is this where we are now? most likely not, but can we get there? most definitely yes. The main challenge to this is only ourselves. By this i mean teachers. Isn’t this our golden opportunity to really teach they way we dreamed when we first filled in that application to teaching college? I filled my first one in many years ago (6 to be precise) and i was discouraged by a small minority of my own teachers and they all asked me ‘why?’. My answer is simple, i love working with pupils and i have a desire to improve their lives to connect with them and to make them want to learn, to want to perform well in PE (my subject, incidentally) and to want to better themselves whether it is in the classroom, the sports field or in the pursuit of their dream job. Going back to the question this is a golden opportunity that we must grasp if we want to improve the lives of our young people for years to come and our main challenge is ourselves and our fellow teachers. We have all had negative conversations regarding CfE, we have all seen teachers simply tick the Es and Os to fit their current courses and we have all seen teachers decide that they are too old and they have already reinvented the wheel. In terms of international recognition, we already have some main figures in very important positions across the globe but if we want our future pupils to be competitive in what is becoming an international market we must ensure that we prepare them properly and it is up to us to ensure this happens. What our curriculum should do is prepare our young people for whatever may come their way. Do we need a direction for our education system could it not be left open for our young people to pursue their dreams. Does it matter if they want to be salt of the earth, hard working, 9 to 5 individuals or high flying, globe trotting rock stars, should our curriculum not support these pupils. I agree with both previous comments in that there is a lot of negativity around and a lot of people working in the wrong direction, and a lot of people in powerful positions going in the wrong direction. Having said that i have also met a lot of forward thinking open individuals who have a vision for CfE and Scottish Education, i hope I am one of them and that together we can really make CFE and Scottish Education a powerhouse of world education. Can it happen? or am i simply an NQT with ideas above my station?

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