Archive for March 2012

The true meaning of accountability

Speculation about Scottish council rationalisation has gained some initially positive responses among educationists. Many teachers look back fondly to the late 1970s and 1980s. The regions governed with a light touch. Regional politicians kept their distance from schools but were also people of stature: Geoff Shaw, Charlie […]

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Keeping an eye on pupils was a class act

A quarter of a century ago, in a school serving one of Edinburgh’s poorest areas, there was a dedicated, engaging, talented teacher, held in esteem, awe even, by his pupils. They believed, I promise you, that he could see what they were doing in his classroom even […]

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Pupils at greater risk than ever

Pupils at greater risk than ever

A recent Edinburgh City Council report, Organisational Review of Support to Children and Young People’s Service, highlighted major problems facing Edinburgh, which are replicated, to varying degrees, across Scotland. Significant budget pressures were identified. In 2007, there was a Pounds 500,000 overspend on Working Together, which finances […]

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It’s a cock-up, not a conspiracy

It happened in a school not a million miles from my own. A former learning assistant – well experienced, well respected – had moved up the educational ladder and become a teacher. This erstwhile person has recently become provisionally registered, was on the authority’s supply teaching list […]

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So what is wrong with appraisal?

Language is important.  How an individual or organisation names a contentious phenomenon often goes to the essence of the debate on that issue.  ‘Sharing classroom experience’ or ‘classroom observation’ is a case in point. Few issues (except perhaps behaviour management) raise so many defensive hackles in the […]

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Change is the same done differently

The day after term ended we headed, as over many years, to Arran, a reviving break after the year’s pressures.  Our daughters are grown and have their own lives, but each joined us for part of the fortnight.  The pull of past holidays is strong for them […]

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Talented young essayists have their say

Talented young essayists have their say   Who will be the Ian Banks, the Liz Lockhead or the Janice Galloway of 2032? Are any of tomorrow’s top novelists honing their writing skills in West Lothian schools today? And if they are, how best can they be encouraged […]

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Getting messages across

A Guidance teacher friend sent me a link to the Kony2012 post on YouTube. The short, heartwrenching film outlines atrocities committed by Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army. The LRA originated in Uganda but now operates in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic […]

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It’s a matter of time for literacy

Heart-searching is occurring in the educational world over one of our most basic tasks, the teaching of literacy. Statistics suggest that 15 per cent of adults lack the functional literacy skills expected of an 11-year- old. The recent OECD report on Scottish schools illustrates the growing gap […]

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New curriculum is a mess of pottage

My starting point in the Curriculum for Excellence debate had been moderate enthusiasm for the proposed changes. A secondary curriculum organised in two blocks (S1-3 and S4-6), seeking to make links across subject divides, and preparing young people for the worlds of work, citizenship and future learning, […]

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