A revolution plagued by confusion and concerns

THE Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) is supposed to herald a once-in-a-generation change in Scotland's system of education, but it has become a revolution plagued by confusion and concerns.

The confusion has arisen over the lack of clarity in defining exactly and concisely what CfE is meant to be, with distinguished education academic Professor Lindsay Paterson, for example, describing the reform as vague and even teachers' leaders struggling to explain it simply.

Arising out of the confusion are the concerns, now reflected in a Scottish Government survey which shows that three-quarters of all teachers believe they have not received proper training for the curriculum, which will be formally introduced in August.

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CfE may seem to make sense in the academic ivory towers in which it was conceived but if it has not been properly explained to classroom professionals at the front line of these reforms, then we should all be concerned.

If – and the lack of clarity makes it a big if – the new curriculum gives teachers more flexibility to teach by making lessons less prescriptive there might be benefits to the people who matter the most in all of this: the children.

However, the widespread concern in the teaching profession casts further doubt over the whole process and suggest that Mike Russell, the education secretary, needs to do more to ensure that the changes are properly understood and implemented.