‘Funding problems and trust issues hampering curriculum’

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PROBLEMS with funding and a “lack of trust” in schools from national and local government are holding back the development of Scotland’s new school curriculum, according to the body representing Scotland’s headteachers.

Neil Shaw, the outgoing president of School Leaders Scotland (SLS), will today use his speech to the organisation’s annual conference in St Andrews to highlight concerns about “the direction of travel” with Curriculum for Excellence.

Mr Shaw is expected to say the curriculum is being hamstrung by a lack of funds, with new courses demanding extra resources and more in-service days for teachers.

While proponents of CfE claim it hands power back to teachers, allowing them to tailor lessons to their pupils, Mr Shaw said headteachers were “frustrated” at a lack of trust from the Scottish Government and local councils.

First used as a concept in 2004, CfE was introduced in Scottish schools in 2010, with the first exams designed for the curriculum, the Nationals, set to be introduced next year.

In his speech, Mr Shaw is expected to say: “We have moved a long way from the original publications, over eight years ago. However, there remain a number of concerns about the direction of travel. It would be nice if we could get back to the discussion surrounding how we might improve learning and teaching and support young learners.

“The SLS position has always centred around the school in its community.”

In his speech, he is expected to say: “Many school leaders are frustrated at the apparent lack of trust from national and local education managers.

“In parallel with this, many teachers and middle managers are equally frustrated by the lack of trust invested in them by their headteachers. Trust should be reciprocal – ‘give it to get it’. This also works in the classroom. Leaders must learn when to let go as well as when to rein in.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We have enormous trust in Scotland’s teachers.”