Page last updated at 07:55 GMT, Friday, 8 May 2009 08:55 UK

Union 'concern' at new curriculum

Child working
The union survey suggested teachers were unsure of the new curriculum

Almost half of Scotland's teachers have little confidence in advice which supports the implementation of a major reform of the school curriculum.

Scotland's largest teachers' union, the EIS, has claimed 11% of its members have not been involved in talks about the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE).

The EIS said 46% of teachers were "barely confident" or "not confident at all" with the advice on the CfE.

The Scottish Government said it remained committed to the CfE.

The curriculum aims to provide "continuous education" from ages three to 18, with an emphasis on "cross-curricular teaching".

The new guidelines provide teachers with examples of what their pupils will need to know at particular stages in their education, so they can provide information relevant to young people's lives.

Children will also be taught how to find information for themselves, check whether it is reliable, then use the information practically.

EIS general secretary Ronnie Smith said the union, together with most teachers, supported the aims of the Curriculum for Excellence.

There remains a substantial minority of teachers and lecturers who do not feel fully engaged with CfE
Ronnie Smith

But he added they had "a number of concerns about how the process of implementation is progressing".

Mr Smith said: "In particular, the survey highlights that the engagement of teachers with CfE is highly variable across the country.

"While this is improving, there remains a substantial minority of teachers and lecturers who do not feel fully engaged with CfE.

"Given the timetable for implementation, this is an issue of real concern and urgency for local authorities and the Scottish Government to address."

Other concerns raised by Mr Smith included a lack of time for staff to work on CfE development and a "stark lack of funding to support the most ambitious programme of curricular change in a generation".


Labour's Ken Macintosh said: "The fact that at this stage not all teachers feel involved or comfortable with the reforms is worrying."

He added: "We share their concerns over the lack of funding and the lack of continued professional development for teachers.

The Labour MSP said there was "still strong support" for the new curriculum, but added Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop needed to show "clear leadership".

Meanwhile Tory schools spokeswoman Liz Smith said: "It was abundantly clear to everyone involved in education that the teaching profession was not fully prepared for the implementation of Curriculum for Excellence."

A Scottish Government spokesman said ministers were "absolutely committed to Curriculum for Excellence".

And he stated: "That's why we have provided local authorities with £17.8m to prepare for Curriculum for Excellence, including funding for 100 extra teachers to support implementation activity.

"We have put in place an additional implementation year, brought in three extra teacher in-service days and agreed Curriculum for Excellence as a key shared commitment with local government, supported by record levels of funding for councils."

The spokesman said that all teachers would receive personal copies of the Curriculum for Excellence guidance later this month, and added a dedicated website had received 62,000 visitors since the guidance was launched on 2 April.

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