Borders education chief backs new curriculum

BORDERS education director Glenn Rodger has said he and his counterparts across Scotland would be “very disappointed” if there was any deviation from the implementation of a new secondary school curriculum, writes Andrew Keddie.

The intention of the so-called Curriculum for Excellence (CfE), which is backed by the Scottish Government, is to introduce learning that is not overly dominated by exams in the early years and allows pupils to follow their interests.

As a result, rather than choosing exam subjects of the end of S2 and studying them in S3 and S4, students are supposed to have a broad general education until the end of S3, making subject choices a year later.

Mr Rodger’s comments came in his capacity as president of the Association of Directors of Education Scotland (ADES), following the decision of East Renfrewshire Council, renowned for high levels of educational attainment, to ignore official advice on the introduction of the new system which, it claims, does not suit its pupils.

As a result, that council will continue to allow pupils to make subject choices at the end of S2.

The decision drew a warning from Scottish education minister Mike Russell who said that Education Scotland, the quango responsible for school standards, would monitor the situation.

He claimed the East Renfrewshire move was “transitional” and insisted it should not be replicated elswhere.

“The situation in East Renfrewshire is unique and I don’t see other councils as being in that situation,” Mr Russell told a national newspaper.

“Education Scotland [which is responsible for school standards] will be watching very closely... to make sure the core principles of CfE are observed.”

Mr Rodger said: “ADES has been fully involved in, and remains committed to, the full implementation of CfE, including the broad general phase through to S3.

“There has been a strong consensus about this approach and directors would be very disappointed if there was to be any departure from it or any dilution of its broad principles and structure.

“The new curriculum framework is designed to meet the needs of all learners, allowing the highest-attaining pupils to specialise in a broader range of subjects at the highest levels whilst keeping options open.

“Properly designed, it can encourage more able learners to secure an even more attractive set of qualifications than at present.”