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Education reform in Scotland: engagement, consultation and the politics of change.


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Presentation at ECER 2010, Helsinki as part of a symposium on UK curriculum development across the different nations. This focuses on Scotland. By Vivienne Baumfield, Louise Hayward, Moira Hulme, Kay Livingston and Ian Menter

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Education reform in Scotland: engagement, consultation and the politics of change.

  1. 1. Education reform in Scotland: engagement, consultation and the politics of change Vivienne Baumfield, Louise Hayward, Moira Hulme, Kay Livingston and Ian Menter
  2. 2. This paper <ul><li>First part reports a study undertaken in 2008: </li></ul><ul><li>Second part reviews the processes that have occurred since that consultation/engagement </li></ul><ul><li>Third part discusses what has been learned </li></ul>
  3. 3. Part 1 Study of engagement and consultation <ul><li>Background: </li></ul><ul><li>National Debate in Education (2002) </li></ul><ul><li>Curriculum Review Group (2004): Curriculum for Excellence </li></ul><ul><li>Single coherent curriculum (3-18 years) </li></ul><ul><li>Three year development programme (2004-07) </li></ul><ul><li>[2007 Change of government] </li></ul><ul><li>Draft Experience and Outcomes released in stages (November 2007- May 2008) </li></ul><ul><li>Year-long engagement strategy: teachers, parents, employers, Local Authorities, colleges and universities </li></ul><ul><li>University of Glasgow commissioned to collect, analyse and report data gathered through the engagement process </li></ul><ul><li>(January - December 2008). </li></ul>
  4. 4. Curriculum Review Group strategic priorities <ul><li>De-cluttering the curriculum to reduce overload </li></ul><ul><li>Improving transition between stages of schooling </li></ul><ul><li>Tackling disaffection and disengagement in the middle years (11-14 years) </li></ul><ul><li>Increased flexibility in age and stage progression routes (vertical and/or lateral) </li></ul><ul><li>Recognising achievement through accreditation of wider learning </li></ul><ul><li>Tackling the ‘opportunity gap’ (equity issues) and promoting inclusion </li></ul><ul><li>Improving opportunities for vocational education (14-16 age group) </li></ul>
  5. 5. The four capacities
  6. 6. Sources of data
  7. 7. Some findings <ul><li>cultural challenges at the early stages of implementation/ enactment: riskiness, ‘getting it wrong’ </li></ul><ul><li>concern over alignment with HMIE inspection regime </li></ul><ul><li>concern about the variability in interpretation between teachers, departments/faculties, schools and authorities </li></ul><ul><li>support for professional dialogue and collaboration, not ‘roll out’/cascade model </li></ul><ul><li>need for time and space to support school-level development opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>concern about continuity, progression and assessment </li></ul>
  8. 8. Enhancing professionalism? <ul><li>welcomed the emphasis on ‘methodologies’: active and cooperative learning, thinking skills, AifL </li></ul><ul><li>welcomed opportunities to exercise professional judgement but within a supportive framework of clear expectations </li></ul><ul><li>teachers in public examination years more risk averse </li></ul><ul><li>concern among some secondary teachers re. ‘dilution’ arising from inter-disciplinarity </li></ul><ul><li>cross-curricular/whole school work mediated through subject/stage identifications </li></ul><ul><li>moving from consultation to sustained engagement </li></ul>
  9. 9. Part 2 - Implementing the new curriculum <ul><li>And now what has happened? </li></ul><ul><li>The curriculum was launched on 16 August </li></ul><ul><li>Continuing tensions between local and central government </li></ul><ul><li>A major financial crisis </li></ul><ul><li>Change of Education Secretary (December 2009) </li></ul>
  10. 10. The new Curriculum <ul><li>Much more detail than originally envisaged </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Building the Curriculum’ - support and guidance, websites, podcasts, schools’ digital network – the politics of persuasion? </li></ul><ul><li>A one year delay was built in and at one time it seemed another year would be added </li></ul><ul><li>But why? </li></ul>
  11. 11. The CfE Management Board <ul><li>Scottish Government </li></ul><ul><li>Learning and Teaching Scotland </li></ul><ul><li>Scottish Qualifications Authority </li></ul><ul><li>HM Inspectorate of Education </li></ul><ul><li>Educational Institute of Scotland </li></ul><ul><li>Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association </li></ul><ul><li>Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers </li></ul><ul><li>Association of Scotland’s Colleges </li></ul><ul><li>Association of Headteachers and Deputes in Scotland </li></ul><ul><li>School Leaders Scotland </li></ul><ul><li>Association of Directors of Education in Scotland </li></ul><ul><li>General Teaching Council Scotland </li></ul><ul><li>Skills Development Scotland </li></ul><ul><li>Deans of Universities’ Faculties of Education </li></ul><ul><li>Scottish Council of Independent Schools </li></ul>
  12. 12. Opposition and resistance <ul><li>EIS 58% of secondary teachers did not understand the new curriculum (May 2009) </li></ul><ul><li>SSTA 89% of respondents needed more subject resources; 84% felt training was inadequate; 70% felt consultation inadequate (April 2009) </li></ul><ul><li>CfE Management Board survey - 78% primary 37% secondary felt confident about progress (March 2010) </li></ul><ul><li>HMIE - half of 150 sec schools were at an early stage (HMIE suspended its inspection programme) </li></ul>
  13. 13. … and more <ul><li>Cabinet Secretary wrote letter to parents of all new secondary students </li></ul><ul><li>Two unions balloting on industrial action – possible work to rule (35 hour week) </li></ul><ul><li>EIS considering a one day strike next March (first ballot for strike action since 1989) </li></ul><ul><li>Call for delay in new assessment arrangements (due 2014) </li></ul>
  14. 14. Part 3 - Discussion <ul><li>Is there a fundamental shift in the nature of the policy community in Scotland? (Changing nature of the state?) </li></ul><ul><li>The central paradox – all support enhanced professionalism but there is resistance to this version of it. Why? </li></ul><ul><li>Would it have played out differently if the balance between local and national had not (been) shifted – or if it had not coincided with a financial crisis? </li></ul>
  15. 15. More questions <ul><li>Or is it ‘simply’ because the curriculum model is confused (as Priestley and Humes (2010) suggest: ‘the operational end of CfE is… arguably inimical to the underlying purposes of the curriculum as expressed in the four capacities’) </li></ul><ul><li>Or that this is not so much a curriculum reform as a pedagogical reform…. (ie confusion over ‘message systems’) </li></ul>
  16. 16. Conclusions <ul><li>From Part 1: It may be important to distinguish between ‘consultation’ and ‘engagement’ </li></ul><ul><li>From Part 2: The importance of a ‘situated (and dynamic) perspective’ on curriculum (or any education policy) reform </li></ul>
  17. 17. Further information <ul><li>Curriculum for Excellence website: </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>University of Glasgow Interim and Final Report: </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Contact: </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>