SSTA Calls for Teachers' Concerns Over Deep Audit to be Properly Addressed

The Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association, representing 9000 Scottish secondary teachers, has once again raised concerns about the integrity of the ‘deep audit’ completed in March 2012.

Speaking in Edinburgh, the Association’s General Secretary, Mrs Ann Ballinger, warned once again about the damage likely to be inflicted by a lack of action.

“The SSTA has raised repeated concerns about the shallowness of this so-called Deep Audit. We have numerous examples of Councils who failed to consult with classroom teachers or even Department Heads. Very few authorities consulted with Head Teachers and only a handful of those asked them to consult their own staff. According to the information collected at the time of the so-called deep audit only 5 Authorities consulted their experts, the staff developing material and preparing to teach the new courses next year.

“The approach of the Government and Local Authorities to offer to respond to requests for support from departments or schools is deeply flawed. It has become very clear over the last few weeks that any individual, brave enough to stick his or her head above the parapet and admit to not being ready to implement these courses, is subjected to an interrogation worthy of police state. This is not the approach we were promised when the Cabinet Secretary announced the deep audit.

Teachers report huge concerns about the implementation of the next phase of the Curriculum for Excellence. They are the professionals responsible for teaching and learning. The Government must listen to the experts and act accordingly”

“The Cabinet Secretary's announcement on 21 March 2012 included a promise of course materials for the new National 4 and 5 qualification, developed nationally and distributed to schools well in advance of the commencement of the new qualifications in 2013/14. No attempt has been made to set up writing teams for these courses”

Mrs Ballinger detailed the process involved in developing new courses.

“To produce effective courses for any subject those responsible for the development must:

• Identify suitably experienced teachers to participate in writing teams

• Allocate time out of school to write the courses

• Circulate the material to subject specialists with a timescale for responses.

• Review responses and determine what has to be rewritten

• Rewrite courses and allow time for any criticism. Where factual inaccuracies exist these must be amended and courses reissued.

This process is unlikely to start before the end of this session and will take months to complete. One wonders what exactly the phrase ‘well in advance' means.

“Teachers across Scotland need these courses, and the support promised, now.”