Time for a Summer Clearout of the Curriculum?

The official line on CfE is not the one teachers take (Priestly,TESS, 5.4.13) is more concerning given it is also not the line officials take.  Discrepancies exist between validators’ tools and the new framework established by CfE.  Bringing together scrutiny and support bodies may iron out differing narratives however, at present, the aims and objectives of CfE remain unclear and disjointed.  What national objectives schools should primarily work towards?  HGIOIS?  BTC documents?  CfE Entitlements?  CfE briefing notes?  Excellence Group reports (do you remember them?- what was done with them?)?     A teacher setting such unclear Learning Objectives or being so vague in Success Criteria would certainly receive professional support at best.  In the worst case scenario continued concerns would lead to competency proceedings.     The quality indicator for ‘Curriculum’ is perhaps the clearest example of the current ‘disconnect’.  QI 5.1 is the golden prized for many schools to score ‘excellent’ given that the numbers getting ‘good’ or ‘very good’ in this category declined during the implementation phase of the CfE.  However one would do well to ask; “Where do the sub themes of this QI sit when looking at CfE guidelines and, in particular, Building the Curriculum 3?”  Moreover, “where does Building the Curriculum 4 sit in the inspection model?”       Schools failing to have a Curriculum rationale might be open for criticism.  However, at a national level, there is no rationale, aims or objectives explicitly set and able to be judged against in terms of implementation.  What should schools be working towards as a priority?  Scrutinisers might ask probing reflective questions if schools presented such an unwieldy staff handbook of objectives, processes, procedures and curricula.     It is little wonder some staff are disengaged from the step change CfE was supposed to produce.  Some are not fully aboard with the strategically planned quality improvement agenda that should benefit our students.  Some don’t know if they are coming or going faced with this multi layered maze.  Thankfully our students are benefiting from dedicated, tenacious educators who are determined to succeed with positive outcomes for our young people.  However, this improvement is in spite of, not because of, frameworks that were supposed to support radical reforms in education.     The latest curriculum briefing paper on Scottish Studies asks reflective questions on a single theme.  Are similar papers are to follow on ‘local’, ‘British’, ‘European’ or ‘Global Studies’?  On one hand I hope so, in terms of parity of esteem and curricular balance.  On the other hand, I do worry about drowning the profession with even more paperwork, hanging off the already multi headed hydra.  Where do the briefing papers feature for schools as a priority?  How are these reflective questions linked to clear improvement agenda?   Outward looking Scots educators reflect “at least our system is not as confusing as ‘down south'”, but that is ironically what we are moving towards.  Despite challenges in England, educators are sure of one thing:- their professional collegiate energy is focussed on collaboratively developing and sharing high quality pedagogical practice.  This should be the main aim as opposed to parochialism, pontificating or procrastinating over plans, policies and papers.  Keeping it simple is the key.  One would do well to remember our ‘Ps.’  ‘Planning plus preparation prevents poor performance’ but we should not lose focus of the fact that producing pedagogy pipelines properly pointed at preparing pupils prevents pared performance.   

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About neilsgleeeclub

Educator, writer, speaker and leader. Views are my own and not those of the organisations I work for or represent.
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