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Last Updated: Monday, 1 November, 2004, 16:05 GMT
School plans 'not radical enough'
Classroom
Standard Grades will come under review
Scotland's education minister has been accused of not going far enough with a package of school reforms.

Peter Peacock said the proposals were "the most comprehensive modernisation programme" for a generation.

Scotland's councils backed most of the reforms but said the minister missed a chance to be "much more radical."

The Scottish National Party said the steps would help "a relatively small number of pupils" and the Tories said they were "grossly insufficient".

The proposals, announced on Monday, include a new three to 18 curriculum, a review of Standard Grades and more emphasis on numeracy and literacy.

Narrowly focused

Head teachers will receive leadership training and 8m will be set aside each year to create 20 Schools of Ambition.

The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) said it supported most of the reforms.

However, it said they were too narrowly focused because ministers were "talking about schools in isolation".

Education spokesman, Councillor Rev Ewan Aitken, said: "This was an opportunity to be much more radical, to genuinely integrate all the services that young people need to fulfil their potential."

SNP education spokeswoman, Fiona Hyslop, said the measures announced by Mr Peacock were "not revolutionary by any means".

Lord James Douglas Hamilton
It is about time that the executive woke up to the dreadful levels of illiteracy, innumeracy and truancy in Scotland's schools
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton
Tory spokesman
She added: "The glaring omission in these proposals is the failure to champion the raising of standards for all.

"There are welcome changes but these will impact at the margins for a relatively small number of pupils, whereas what we need are measures to provide a national impetus to realise national ambitions for education.

"The minister is playing catch-up in professional and cross-party thinking."

The Scottish Conservatives' education spokesman, Lord James Douglas-Hamilton, described the proposals as "half-hearted".

He said: "It is about time that the executive woke up to the dreadful levels of illiteracy, innumeracy and truancy in Scotland's schools, but sadly these education 'reforms' are grossly insufficient.

"The executive needs to do much more to work towards getting rid of the two-tier state education system which exists in Scotland at the moment, where real choice is only available to those who can pay twice - once through the tax system, the other by buying a house in their preferred catchment area.

"There has to be greater choice in education, and power must be in the hands of parents. Under the executive's new proposals, schools will continue to choose the children, instead of the other way around."

Class sizes

The Scottish Socialist Party's education spokeswoman Rosemary Byrne said that she had "grave reservations" over the reforms.

The former teacher said: "The minister has once again completely avoided the issue of class sizes and yet if teachers are faced with more bi-level teaching it will be very difficult if class sizes remain the same as they are currently."

She claimed that Mr Peacock was "in denial" over a shortage of primary school teachers.

And she criticised moves to bring more private money into Scotland's schools.


SEE ALSO:
Details of the proposals
01 Nov 04 |  Education
Schools shake-up plan rubbished
31 Oct 04 |  Scotland
More exams on under threat list
26 Oct 04 |  Scotland
'Minority Highers' facing the axe
22 Oct 04 |  Scotland
Doubt cast on education proposals
08 Sep 04 |  Scotland


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