I was struck, at the school bus meeting, not by an angry parent but by the general negativity in the room. Scattered amongst the “what about your expenses” and “you’re not listening to us” comments were mutterings about the Curriculum for Excellence. Why, people were asking, was money being wasted on this scheme that people clearly didn’t want? Now, I can’t profess to knowing a huge amount about the CfE but from what I do know, I wish it had been introduced early enough to benefit my two guineapigs, now in the closing stages of their school careers. I think there’s a huge selling job still to be done.
I’ve always thought that it must be extremely difficult to introduce real change in education, change beyond tinkering around the edges. The problem is that everyone thinks that their experiences were the best. They want the system they know for their children. The popular pundits tend to bolster this view. And children are in education for such a short space of time. Yes, I know it seems forever on that first day when they walk up the road in their smart new uniform, clutching their superman lunchbox and you’re choking back the tears, but believe me, it zips by. The relatively short timespan means that people don’t want the uncertainty of change while their children are going through the system – let someone else’s children deal with it – and there is constantly a whole new group of people to win over. I know I’ve ranted enough about the changes that affected my two but I’ve always felt that those were ill-conceived, badly managed tinkering and not real change for the better. The Curriculum for Excellence seems to offer the latter.
And while I’ve ranted, I’ve rarely had gripes with individual teachers. On the whole they’ve done a great job within the constraints placed upon them. I do wonder, though, if the CofE also still needs a lot of selling to teachers. If they’re not convinced yet, there will be bad vibes directed out towards both pupils and parents.
So, in the interests of doing my bit to help redress the balance, can I recommend you look at Don’s series on the excellent things happening in Scottish education and this YouTube site? Fearghal Kelly, on secondment to the Council, is posting all about the Curriculum for Excellence; in fact, I’ve only just (ie after writing the above) seen this post about positivity – or should that be negativity?
Image credit: Wesley Fryer