Monday, February 3, 2014

Scottish independence: Mike Russell has utterly failed as education minister as majority of Scottish teachers struggling to prepare for new flagship exams, so what do you have to do to qualify for removal from public office under Salmond?

Dear All

It is a historical fact that I taught at Glasgow University.

That being said, they will pretty much let anyone have a shot at it, however, being a humble Glaswegian pottering about the place, I was brilliant.

There are several things in teaching to remember, understand your subject and have the ability to pitch your lesson to people at various levels, even within the same group.

The Scottish National Party has had a few shots at running education right across the board from Schools to Universities and they have been pathetic.

Curriculum for Excellence should never have been forced through without the entire co-operation of teachers and academics with all the kinks worked out.

It would have been better to have taken longer and gotten it right than press on with the current ‘get it in quick’ approach.

My experience of the Scottish National Party is that there is a poor work ethic and not enough care, pass the buck and drop problems on someone else to fix as they bail out.

You can't do that in teaching, how can you teach something when you don't understand the system yourself?

Teachers are now struggling to cope with the Scottish Government’s new flagship exams, as well as that they say that they need more materials to help pupils.

Around 60% of teachers said in a survey that they were not confident of their ability to deliver the courses.

It gets much worse with nearly 80% saying they were not ready to assess pupils for the National 4 and 5 tests.

I have written about Curriculum for Excellence before, it is clear that this should have been pulled entirely then farmed out to universities for additional study and analysis, if you have access to experts then use them.

Apparently we have “anxious” secondary teachers, who have not been given the materials necessary to prepare fourth year pupils.

How can that be right?

Mike Russell, the SNP Minister replaced Fiona Hyslop because she was getting so much flak that Salmond had to move her, so a game of musical chairs happened.

That game was not successful.

Alan McKenzie, acting general secretary of the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association represents around 8,500 teachers, revealed there is a level of anxiety he had never witnessed before.

McKenzie's take is that Russell, the Education Minister, and the Scottish Qualification Authority, to “bite the bullet” and act immediately to offer more support.

He added:

“The response we received from teachers showed an overwhelming lack of confidence felt by our members regarding the new Curriculum for Excellence in schools. While we are committed to making the new curriculum for excellence a success in Scottish schools, the SSTA have been attempting to signal real concerns about the progress and that's why we have released this interim report. There is a general feeling of dissatisfaction. When you have 93 per cent of your respondents indicating that they feel unsupported by the Scottish Qualifications Authority and by Education Scotland I think you have to take that very seriously. There is always a degree of anxiety whenever there is curricular change, there is no doubt about that. But I have never seen anything quite as bad as this.”

This should have been pulled right at the start, but it seems too late now at least for pupils having to sit exams.

He told the press that teachers had been given one “exemplar paper” in each subject, which did not give teachers a broad enough base to teach the new exams.

Plainly something has gone wrong and Russell should go, actually, he should have been sacked long ago, but the SNP doesn't have a pool of talent to draw on, that fact is plainly on show with the independence campaign.

All SNP Government Ministers should be returned to their desks without exception.

McKenzie says he has a promise from Russell that the government would provide “every iota” of help required.

Why should they have to ask in the first place?

When people start talking about getting out "emergency materials" out do you have faith in the SNP taking care of your kids future?

Larry Flanagan, Gen Sec of the EIS, the teachers' union said it continued to raise teachers' concerns with the SQA and the Scottish Government, he has been talking for some considerable time now.

He added:

“The indications are that they are listening to these concerns, and are working to try to provide the additional support and information that teachers need to ensure the smooth introduction of the new qualifications. While the EIS and teachers did not agree with the timetable for the introduction of the Nationals, we continue to work hard to ensure that all pupils are as well prepared as possible.”

Russell told BBC Radio Scotland that teachers wanted guidance on assessment and verification and that was “precisely what is being provided”.

I would sack him immediately and not think twice about that decision.

Russell has outlived his usefulness in Government.

Lastly time for a quote by Alex Salmond:

"My problem is that I have too many talented people".

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

No comments: