Worries over Curriculum (John and Jeanette Clayton)

We wish to state our grave fears with regards Curriculum for Excellence (CfE). The name of this new qualification sounds aspiring, but everything we are learning about CfE suggests the exact opposite.

There is very little external examination – none at all until National 5 level. Instead schools teach, measure and award the level of attainment according to criteria that are poorly documented and poorly understood.

How can this benefit the learner? How do they use such “qualifications” to persuade employers or further educators of their base knowledge? When this will be a variable feast depending on the school attended?

We feel they will be subject to prejudice because of this new “qualification” and they will in fact at the end of schooling have to attend some other educational facility to sit for a more recognised qualification.

We are concerned that the number of subjects a learner can pursue at senior school is being set by the council, and not the school, or teachers, and certainly not by the learner.  CfE is a flexible system, allowing learners to study up to eight subjects at N4-5 level.   We deplore that only seven subjects are deemed “sufficient”.

We are dismayed at the policy of deliberate vagueness as to how many of these “choices” are not any such thing but compulsory – like English, maths and second language.

RMPS, social studies, and health & wellbeing may be important to offer for study but we strongly believe it is a mistake to make any of these compulsory over the offering of three science or technology subjects.

A system that is giving learners only a small number of subjects to truly choose at so early a stage cannot produce the focused individuals Shetland and Scotland needs in order to prosper within science and engineering in the future. There can be no excellence if everyone is the same.

We are also concerned that a large number of parents of learners on whom this system is being imposed are prevented from speaking out in opposition to it.

Parents who are teachers, and parents who are council employees, have been “reminded of their obligation to their employers”. Gagged, in other words. Given that a large proportion of parents in Shetland work for the council, this is a large proportion denied their voice.

Teachers are concerned that they have not received sample examination papers, teaching materials, guidance on assessment for the courses they are to be delivering. They have not been given the tools they need to do right by the learners in their charge.

John and Jeanette Clayton
Lower Hillside,


Add Your Comment
  • Charles Tait

    • May 26th, 2013 13:03

    Everyone who works for any state organisation, central government, local government, any agency whatever, is a public employee. They are employed by the public. They have a duty of care not to whatever cooncil, but to the public, all 60+ million of us.

    The NHS gagging has been shown up in all its nastiness and results in huge inefficiency. The same applies to cooncils. Staff have a duty to speak out, and those in cooncils who seek to gag should be found out – and sacked forthwith.

    It is quite clear that the new Scottish curriculum is a Curriculum for Mediocrity. Education in this country is a very bad joke. Fancy new schools will not fix this. Why do children go to school? What is the purpose? To create good little conmumers, with dumbed down brains?

  • David Spence

    • May 31st, 2013 16:04

    ‘ To create good little conmumers, with dumbed down brains? ‘ I take it you mean ‘ Consumer ‘, Charles ? lol

    It is the ideal situation, give the majority population a very basic education, spoon-feed them the bile of political and commercial necessities and hope they all end up supporting local businesses and buying local products for the ‘ minority business people ‘ to prosper and ‘ control ‘ what the population can buy and control.

    Remember, in a capitalist system, the people who work are not people but slaves, servants to those who perpetually force feed them to a level that they know no better in terms of any form of aspiration and positive outlook. Call it, in many way, economic exploitation to those who are ultimately in control and dictate how we, the majority, should behave and conduct our lives in accordance to their wishes…….whether it be through religion, political brainwashing or, in many ways can be worse, nationalistic xenophobia where patriotism is morally more important than any thing else. When our political system takes the foundations of its structure from the business world, then this in itself is the road to ultimate destruction as the principles of business are based, primarily, on the negative aspects of human behaviour…….otherwise known as ‘ jungle law ‘…survival of the richest shall prevail.

  • JohnTulloch, Arrochar

    • June 1st, 2013 9:29

    Welcome to the “Planet Zog” where the people of Britain are enslaved and those of the Soviet Union, China and Cuba are free.

  • David Spence

    • June 1st, 2013 15:19

    Whether Socialism or Capitalism John, we are all slaves to the minority in power and control on how we are to govern our lives. The days of the ‘ cold war ‘ are, as we are led to believe, over and commercial and economic principles have replaced such ideologies………but in saying this, for certain countries to justify their foreign policy, they still like to get our support for their actions in other parts of the world by perpetually brainwashing us with the us and the evil communism still prevailing…..or is it changed to ‘ the evil, oil rich arab countries and their agenda of wanting to wipe out the west???? It does not surprise me how once close friends are now deemed foes……..all in the name of the arms industry (the west) wanting to make the odd economic killing…..by hook or crook.

  • JohnTulloch, Arrochar

    • June 2nd, 2013 10:43


    You may consider youself a slave however it’s non-compulsory, certainly, I don’t consider myself to be one.

    Our democratic system is far from perfect however and it’s importantt that people with strong views speak out – a privilege which, as far as I am aware, is denied to slaves – so assuming you are right about this “slavery” what would you do to correct the situation and bring about a state of affairs which you would regard as “free” and “just”?

  • Johan Adamson

    • June 3rd, 2013 10:00

    I personally think the C for E is a good enough idea to start with. It is like a leaving cert which shows you have a good basic grounding in education and then you go on to specialise with highers etc. I think quite a few countries have this kind of thing.

    The only problem is then you maybe cant specialise in eg German if you didnt do German in the leaving cert (or it will be more difficult?)? However, sometimes it may be good to start at highers with something new as all of it is fresh and you dont forget to study thinking you know it all already. And it will be good to have fewer exams. I learnt from copious o grades and highers and further education how to pass exams in the first place and sometimes about the subjects in the second place.

  • Sam Thomson

    • June 4th, 2013 11:03

    CfEi s the most terrible idea for an education reform . Shows they know absolutely nothing about education. Rather than an overhaul of the system to the CfE. Perhaps try making a few minor changes to the current to try make it better. This is going to make the education system in Scotland a joke.


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