Education Reform must Focus on Improving Support for Scotland's Schools

Created on: 01 Oct 2021 | Last modified: 01 Oct 2021

The EIS has called on the process to reform Scottish education bodies to focus its aim on improving support for the country’s schools.

A consultation on the Ken Muir review, commissioned by the Scottish Government, launched yesterday will play in important part on issues such as the replacement of the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) and the reform of Education Scotland. While these are welcome steps, the EIS believes the key focus must remain how best to provide enhanced support for schools, teachers and young people.

Commenting, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said, "The EIS welcomes the launch of the consultation on the review led by Professor Ken Muir, which follows on from two recent reports by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) on Scotland’s education system.

"Those reports were largely positive in relation to Scottish education and the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) but made a number of recommendations around the wider support for Scottish education offered by governmental agencies. It is essential that this emphasis on improving support to schools remains the focus of the review process."

Mr Flanagan added, "Amongst the key issues that must be addressed is the incompatibility between Scotland’s outdated qualifications system and the key aspirations of CfE. The OECD’s recommendation that we should steer away from ‘traditional’ exams is something that the EIS fully supports, with a move to exit qualifications rather than a yearly cycle of high-stakes assessments as one possible solution.

"The OECD also identified a misalignment between the Broad General Education phase of secondary education (S1-S3) and the Senior Phase (S4-S6), and the associated impact on depth of learning for young people. All of these issues require to be addressed in the current review process."

The EIS is encouraging teachers to engage with the consultation process, and has begun to hold focus groups of members on key topics including: the extent to which teachers have found Education Scotland to be supportive of education delivery; the alignment of assessment approaches with the curriculum; the use of exit qualifications as a means of realising the aspirations of breadth and depth of learning; identifying the types of supports needed by all sectors involved in delivery of the 3-18 curriculum; and how to ensure that the ambitions of CfE become an intrinsic feature of young people’s educational experience.