Page last updated at 00:17 GMT, Sunday, 25 April 2010 01:17 UK

Russell urges heads to back curriculum changes

Mike Russell
Mike Russell said headteachers are key to the success of the changes

Head teachers have been urged to back an overhaul of the school curriculum by Education Secretary Mike Russell.

The Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) is to be implemented in secondary schools across Scotland in August.

But there have been union threats of disruption over the controversial, planned changes.

The changes, already in place in primary schools, are designed to give teachers more freedom and make lessons less prescriptive.

Mr Russell said: "Head teachers are at the heart of any successful school.

Secondary teachers are angry and concerned at the lack of preparation and the failure to listen to their views
Ann BAllinger

"It's their energy and motivation that inspires teachers, pupils and parents - which is why we need dynamic, inspirational leaders in our schools.

"We are entering a crucial period with further implementation of Curriculum for Excellence this August and effective head teachers, who lead by example, are essential to help drive forward the improvements to Scottish education that we all want to see."

He pointed to independent research, carried out six months ago, that found head teachers "see their job as a valued opportunity to make a difference to children's learning".

However, a recent survey by the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association (SSTA) found that teachers were "angry and concerned" at being ignored by the government.

Work to rule

General Secretary Ann Ballinger said: "Secondary teachers report being 'fully behind' the principles of Curriculum for Excellence but are angry and concerned at the lack of preparation and the failure to listen to their views."

The survey also found 89% of teachers want more resources before they begin teaching the Curriculum for Excellence while 78% say that clarification of course content is essential.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) union has suggested teachers concerned about the impact on their workload could work to rule.

Larry Flanagan, of the EIS, told the BBC last week: "I do think one of the key issues for teachers is the workload issue.

"The answer to that is simply to apply our own contracts and work a 35-hour week and limit the implementation of Curriculum for Excellence by using that mechanism."

Opposition parties have also voiced concerns.

Labour education spokesman Des McNulty said "the SNP won't be forgiven" for getting wrong "the biggest shake-up of Scottish education for a generation".

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