The Council of the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association at a meeting on Saturday 4 October 2008 gave unanimous support to a motion calling for a delay in the implementation of the Curriculum for Excellence. The full text of the motion reads:
"The SSTA welcomes the general principles of Curriculum for Excellence and the commitment to a secondary curriculum delivered by subject specialists. However, given the timescale for the publication of the revised "outcome and experiences", the lack of any timetabling models and the current reduction in Continuing Professional Development relating to the introduction of Curriculum for Excellence in many Local Authorities, this Association calls for a delay in the implementation of Curriculum for Excellence.
This would allow for:
• Proper analysis of trialling project
• Central development of teaching materials where required
• Proper planning of interdisciplinary projects
• Decisions to be made about future exam structure before starting to implement courses
and would ensure that the intended first group of pupils would have the best educational experience possible under Curriculum for Excellence."
Speaking after the meeting, SSTA President, Ann Ballinger commented, "The SSTA cannot accept the assertion from the Cabinet Secretary and others that Curriculum for Excellence has widespread support within the teaching profession. This is far from the case, particularly in the secondary sector. One crucial aspect of the CfE proposals is the move to the first three years of secondary education being a period of "General Education", the work completed during these years not being subject to the National Assessment arrangements. This would leave only the fourth year for the initial study of the new "General" National Qualifications. It would be clear that only five subjects would be studied during the fourth year. While additional General level studies might be undertaken during years five and six, the most able students would be undertaking the existing Higher Courses. Effectively at the end of S3, very many of our young people will be making choices which will significantly influence their futures. The SSTA will not accept that this proposal in any way moves Scottish education forward: rather, it is a backward step.
Ms Ballinger continued, "The traditional strength of the Scottish education system in its breadth in the middle stages of secondary is being lost. The new General examination is not yet in existence. The provision of this examination in all subjects and at all necessary levels is crucial. The SSTA does not see this task as being a simple matter of modifying existing courses. The concerns of secondary teachers across Scotland are summed up by the constant use of the terms "vague", "unclear", "detrimental" and "restrictive". It is not too late; we must, however, now have acceptance by all involved that Curriculum for Excellence as it stands at the moment, is not the way forward."
For further information, please contact Jim Docherty, Acting General Secretary