Academic claims he was not contacted for major education review

A leading critic of the Curriculum for Excellence has said he was not contacted during a major review of the policy – despite claims to the contrary.

Professor Lindsay Paterson, who has been critical of Scottish Government education policy in the past, did not feature in the report

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) was asked by the Scottish Government to review the policy, with its report being published in June.

As a result, ministers made the decision to scrap Scotland’s exam body and reform Education Scotland.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

But Professor Lindsay Paterson, who has been critical of Scottish Government education policy in the past, did not feature in the report.

Professor Lindsay Paterson

When asked about his omission, one of the report’s authors – Dr Beatriz Pont – said he was “apparently” on their shortlist of people to consult, but it was “not possible to fit him”, adding that the team behind the review did read some of the Professor’s writings on the subject.

However, Prof Paterson said he was not approached by either the Scottish Government or the OECD.

“This came as news to me. I was not approached by anyone from either the OECD or the Scottish Government to ask for my views,” he said.

“If I had been asked, I would have offered to meet the OECD review team at any time, at their convenience.

“If they could not meet me, I would have offered to submit my views in writing.

“I was not asked which of the publications that Dr Pont refers to would be most relevant to their deliberations, and I note that the OECD report does not cite anything I have written.”

Prof Paterson went on to raise issue with how Dr Pont’s answer was worded, claiming it appeared that she did not have a say in the creation of the shortlist.

“I must say also that Dr Pont’s form of words (‘apparently…’) suggests that the shortlist was drawn up by someone other than the OECD officials,” he wrote in an email.

“This brings us back to the question of who was vetting the people who were asked to submit evidence to the OECD review team.

“The suspicion is that it was the Scottish Government.

"If that suspicion is correct, then it casts doubt on the independence of the OECD review.”

Following the review’s release, Prof Paterson wrote a paper for the Reform Scotland think tank entitled Partial, Sycophantic and Superficial.

The paper claimed a number of those consulted for the review were already advisers to the Scottish Government on education policy.

When he learned of the academic’s omission from the review, Tory MSP Oliver Mundell said it was “shocking”, adding: “I think he’s widely regarded in Scotland, by Scottish teachers, by parents, by many across academia.

“The idea that, as one of the leading critics of the current curriculum, his voice would not be included and his papers would only be read, I think confirms many of the concerns I’ve got.”