Teachers 'Not Ready' for New Curriculum

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Byline: Alan Roden Scottish Political Reporter

SCOTLAND'S schools face a chaotic start to the new academic year after teachers warned they are unprepared for a controversial new curriculum.

A survey published today reveals more than half of secondary staff are unfamiliar with key guidance on the biggest education shake-up for a generation - only months before it is due to begin.

One in ten say they have not been involved in talks about the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) and a third are not confident it will improve literacy and numeracy skills.

The findings have sparked concern among teachers' unions and politicians, amid fears that pupils' attainment - already falling behind other countries - could suffer further.

A [pounds sterling]15million, five-year review of the school curriculum was finally released last month. Under its plans, pillars of factual be swept away to ensure children are 'happy' at school.

The new curriculum has four key aims for pupils - to be 'effective contributors', 'successful learners', 'confident individuals' and 'responsible citizens'.

Some schools will fully implement the CfE from this August and it is expected to be rolled out nationwide from August next year.

But the survey, for Scotland's largest teaching union, the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), found teachers are concerned.

General secretary Ronnie Smith said: 'The EIS, and most teachers, support the aims of CfE but have a number of concerns about how the process of implementation is progressing.

In particular, the survey highlights that the engagement of teachers with CfE is highly variable across the country.

'While this is improving, there remains a substantial minority of teachers who do not feel fully engaged with CfE. Given the timetable for implementation, this is an issue of real concern and urgency for local authorities and the Scottish government to address.'

More than 400 randomly-selected teachers responded to the survey, which found 11 per cent had not taken part in discussions relating to the new curriculum.

The EIS described this as a 'major concern', adding: 'Given the importance of literacy, numeracy and well-being, it is worrying that 31 per cent are "barely confident" or "not confident at all" that proposals will be in place for their development across all aspects of the curriculum in the next academic year.'

Tory schools spokesman Liz Smith said: 'I am not in the least surprised to hear that the EIS is reporting significant concerns among teachers about the implementation of the CfE. …