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Empowering teachers

Published: 20 Sep 2017 13:58

DFM: we will not return to era of prescription

Empowering schools and freeing teachers to teach is at the heart of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) and of the next phase of school reform, Deputy First Minister and Education Secretary John Swinney has said.

In a keynote address to teachers and school leaders at the Scottish Learning Festival in Glasgow, the Deputy First Minister said he recognised the challenge this poses to the teaching profession but committed to no return to the era of prescription and top-down diktat.

Mr Swinney laid out the government’s commitment to CfE as a teacher-led approach to learning.

And, he said that the next stage of teacher empowerment – the reforms to school governance – will build on the freedom CfE provides.

The DFM said:

“When Scotland set out to reform our school curriculum, a critical question was how we break free of the top-down diktats that dominated Scottish school education. Teachers were teaching to the test and children were not receiving the broad knowledge and skills they needed.

“We chose to free our teachers to teach, to be free to educate our young people and prepare them for a world that is ever-changing.

“It was a decision that asked a lot of our teachers. CfE is founded on teacher-led learning. That liberated teachers from the prescription of the past but it also asked them to take on the challenge of shaping the curriculum as best fits the individual children in their classrooms.

“It was a decision based on our faith in teachers’ professionalism, dedication and expertise.

“That’s why I have no doubt that it was the right decision.

“We will not go back to an approach that was designed for a previous era and that, bluntly, would leave our young people ill-prepared for the modern world.

“Instead, we will go further. We will give schools and teachers more freedom.

“Through our new reforms, we will put more powers in the hands of headteachers and give teachers even greater freedom to teach. And we will back that up with more professional development and more professional support.

“We will press on with reform. We will keep faith in our teachers. And, together, we will build a school education system designed to equip our children for the future.”