Share |
The truths they don't want you to read....

Friday, January 29, 2010

Education policy

It is just me, or did your jaw drop when you read the latest news about Scottish education policy?

The education secretary has admitted he does not expect teacher numbers to return to the level the SNP government inherited from the last administration.

Mr Russell's predecessor Fiona Hyslop pledged three years ago that teacher numbers would remain at 53,000, but since then they have fallen by 2,000.

I find it utterly astonishing that we are promised that Councils will meet the policy objective of reducing numbers of pupils in each class whilst there are huge constraints also applying.

There is much less money to spend on every sector, and education as one of the biggest spenders must face those cuts too, meaning err... more pupils per class.

Rural school closures have been dramatically curtailed by the new legislation introduced by the Government, meaning that there are higher hurdles for Councils to jump to rationalise the school estate. This results in us spending money on half-empty schools, dilapidated buildings and composite classrooms, when the pupils and the education system would be better served by centralising educational provision in newer schools.

Not that every small school must close, but neither must every one stay open.

We face the situation in the islands where we have three primary pupils in a Gaelic medium school at an eye watering cost, whilst a perfectly good new school 30 minutes down the road runs grossly under capacity.

With falling school rolls seeming to be a perpetual feature of the Western Isles, and the change to the Curriculum for Excellence (sic) appearing to have caused more problems than it has solved; with trainee teachers unable to get jobs and with schools unable to afford sufficient teachers for the school cohort, then just where is the delivery of education going?

Education has been poorly served by successive Governments and by the failure of Councils to take difficult decisions (and the understandable refusal of communities to accept closures), and the crunch is now coming. Rationalisation of schools - and hence some teachers and support staff, and perhaps even some Council admin staff - is long overdue to ensure that the remaining school estate and the current and future school pupils are best served by the new structures.

Not that any of this is easy, not in the slightest, but without a coherent policy both nationally and locally then we all face the prospect of wasted money and a poorer legacy for our children and grandchildren.

1 comment:

disponded said...

Unfortunately, it's not the quantity but the quality. There's no point in having the extra 2000 teachers when many of the new teachers coming in cannot make the grade. I see this first hand working in the schools, the classroom assistants teach the kids more than the teachers do.