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EDITIONS
Friday, 9 June, 2000, 20:54 GMT 21:54 UK
Teachers support Section 28 repeal
BBC Scotland education correspondent Ken Macdonald reports from the EIS's annual conference in Dundee

Scotland's main teachers' union has warned the government that it will boycott compulsory national testing in Scotland's schools.

Delegates at the Educational Institute of Scotland annual conference in Dundee said the Scottish Executive was trying to impose changes the Tories would never have risked implementing.

Under the current rules, pupils in primary and early secondary school face national tests only if and when their teachers think they are ready.
delegate may ferries
May Ferries: "No compulsory tests"
But delegates were warned proposals from the executive threatened to breach this, with the introduction of compulsory, standardised tests.

In a jibe at Labour, Glasgow delegate May Ferries implied there was no difference in policy between Education Minister Sam Galbraith and former Conservative Scottish Secretary, Michael Forsyth.

She said: "This is not what primary education is about and I'm sick of it.

"So let's send a message to Michael Forysth, oh, is that a mistake? A message to Sam Galbraith: You go any further in this narrow, stifling obsession of more compulsory tests and we will oppose it."

The call for a boycott from September mainly came from Glasgow, where standardised testing has already been introduced in some schools.

School curriculum

A series of motions opposing compulsory testing was passed unopposed and there were further warnings about changes to the school curriculum.

Carole Dixon, of East Dunbartonshire EIS, said: "Superteachers? You bet we are.

"Teachers who juggle more curricular balls and change more curricular hats a day than anyone in the business world would believe possible.

"What's more amazing is that we've been doing this for years with few specialist teachers, limited training and resources which need complete revamping."
Keep the Clause campaigners
The Keep the Clause campaign was attacked
The conference has overwhelmingly backed the repeal of Section 28 - which forbids the promotion of homosexuality in schools.

It followed an intervention by a gay teacher - who accused Cardinal Thomas Winning of making "disgraceful and reprehensible" comments on the issue.

Glasgow primary teacher Jim Whannell became the first openly gay member of the EIS to address its annual conference.

He said the the backlash against repeal had been a low point in Scottish history, and accused Keep the Clause campaigners of creating an artificial danger.

Earlier, delegates backed a plea that all pupils should get contraception and abortion advice - and said the militant anti-abortion group Precious Life had no place in schools.

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BBC Scotland Education Correspondent Ken Macdonald
"Delegates have voted to oppose compulsory, standardised, national testing"
See also:

25 Apr 00 | Unions 2000
19 Apr 00 | Unions 2000
08 Jun 00 | Scotland
31 May 00 | Scotland
30 May 00 | Scotland
29 May 00 | Scotland
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