Archive for the Social Issues Category

Cut out the middle man

The Commission on School Reform, set up by think-tank, Reform Scotland, and headed by former EIS General Secretary and council Chief Executive, Keir Bloomer, hoped the Commission would publish an interim report in the spring.  Ross Martin, former Labour Education chair in West Lothian, and adviser to […]

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Are we surrogate parents?

‘Schools forced to act as surrogate parents,’ screamed the headline.  It certainly grabbed my attention. Sir Michael Wilshaw, OFSTED’s chief inspector, stated that schools spend significant time instilling basic values because children are not taught these at home.  Schools, particularly in poor areas, had no option but […]

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Ah dinnae ken why I have to talk proper, Sir

I was helping a group of S6 students to draft their personal statements for their Ucas forms. These are fine young folk: engaged, enthusiastic, bright. Like many in Wester Hailes, however, they often underachieve. They have not developed the cultural hooks on which to hang higher order […]

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Substance abusers need us to work together

I recently attended a conference on the impact of substance misuse on children’s educational attainment. The speakers from Learning and Teaching Scotland, Glasgow University and Glasgow City Council outlined how the curriculum addressed substance misuse issues and trained teachers to do so. Superb inputs from a university […]

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Finnish product is a long way from home

Scottish schools are increasingly urged to emulate the Finnish model. I was neutral until I heard Jouni Valijarvi, director of the Finnish Institute of Educational Research, explain what made Finnish schools tick. Only 1.5 per cent of the population attend private schools. There are low levels of […]

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Marriage isn’t just about procreation

Oh, there really is some sloppy thinking around the marriage issue. Norma Allan (29 March) says: ‘the most important function of marriage is surely the procreation of children and their custodianship until adults…this deems same-sex marriage inappropriate’. No, Ms Allan, there is a fatal flaw of logic […]

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A gentle nudge with a huge knock-on effect

I recently participated in a seminar on school evaluation and improvement. It was a productive, informed discussion. The issue which left me troubled, however, centred on the impacts of parental choice on school evaluation. School evaluation is inevitably based on measurable outcomes: attainment, post-school destinations, attendance, exclusions. […]

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Litmus test for the harder side of Scottish life

Carol Craig’s The Tears that Made the Clyde is a trenchant critique of contemporary Glasgow society and, by extension, of all Scotland. Despite her concern and anger at the waste of human potential our past has created, she offers no simple cures but tries to see the […]

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Why do some parents find school alien?

Why do some parents find school alien?

My holiday reading was Janice Galloway’s This is not about me, an account set in Saltcoats of a late 1950s childhood. With an alcoholic father, a depressive mother and a manic older sister, her childhood was never going to generate a reminiscence of an idyllic past. Coincidentally, […]

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Let them go if you want them to come back

Two sixth-year girls asked me how to get to Glasgow University for an open day. I was delighted at their ambition and sense of adventure. Relatively few of our students go to university; a lower proportion still leave Edinburgh. On the day of the open day , I […]

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