BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK: Scotland
Front Page 
World 
UK 
England 
Northern Ireland 
Scotland 
Wales 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 



Alan Mackay reports
"He probably knew his way around the school"
 real 56k

Judith Gillespie
"He could just start implementing these policies people have told him over and over again"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 7 November, 2000, 14:06 GMT
School standards reform row
School pupils
Pupils will get the chance to air their views
A dispute has broken out over plans by Education Minister Jack McConnell to visit schools to seek teachers' views on how to improve standards in schools.

Judith Gillespie, of the Scottish Parent Teacher Council, said the time for talking was over and that people wanted action.

Tory education spokesman Brian Monteith said that Mr McConnell's plan was a sign of "past failures".

Mr McConnell was at Lornshill Academy in Alloa, where he used to be a maths teacher, to announce his targets for raising literacy and numeracy in schools.

He also pledged to have at least one meeting per month to listen to teachers' views.


I want to make sure that teacher-pupil relationship, that central relationship to the success of our educational system, is at the centre of all our policies

Jack McConnell
He said: "I think it is very important that people are professionals in the front line, in the front line of dealing with children in the classroom day after day, that their views influence the policies we set, that they are able to tell us when we get it wrong, or tell us when we get it right."

The minister said "positive" discussions were taking place about pay and conditions but there were other issues, like the amount of administrative work and bureaucracy, buildings, discipline and parent involvement.

"On all these issues the teacher is the central figure who stands in the classroom each day and has to deal with the pupils.

"I want to make sure that teacher-pupil relationship, that central relationship to the success of our educational system, is at the centre of all our policies."

Minister with pupils
Mr McConnell returned to his old school
However, Ms Gillespie said that people had been saying for years what was wrong with the system and Mr McConnell should be implementing these changes.

She said: "What people want, parents, teachers, and pupils, is stability in the system.

"They want sufficient money to buy books and equipment.

"They want high moral amongst teachers, which probably means adequately paid, and they want decent school buildings.

"People have been saying this for years and we have yet to have it delivered.

'Gimmicks' claim

"So I don't think Jack McConnell needs to go round the country on a bus, he could just start implementing these policies people have told him over and over again."

Tory education spokesman Brian Monteith said: "It is clear that Sam Galbraith failed to listen to the parents and teachers throughout Scotland, and this is an admission by McConnell that he's got to change policy."

SNP education spokesman Mike Russell said: "Gimmicks won't do.

History papers
Scotland's exam system has been plagued with problems
"It's going to take a lot of time, a lot of money, a lot of effort, to turn round the disasters created and the difficulties created by this administration.

"It will be interesting to see if Jack McConnell can do it.

"I certainly am doubtful whether this executive is prepared to put the money in to do it."

The new education minister faces the task of restoring confidence in the exams system after this summer's results crisis.

He has already accepted the resignation of Scottish Qualifications Authority chairman David Miller.

A consultants' report published last week listed a catalogue of management failures by the SQA.

Mr McConnell said the problems "simply cannot happen again next year".

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

03 Nov 00 | Scotland
Report savages exams authority
31 Jul 00 | Scotland
More staff at the chalkface
31 May 00 | Scotland
Pay rise call for Scottish teachers
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Scotland stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Scotland stories