(c) Seamus Searson
Today, in the Scotsman, Stephen Emerson, claimed that:
‘Unions call for Scottish Government to abandon Education Bill’
‘The Bill would see sweeping reforms to the school system, including the introduction of a new Headteachers’ Charter, giving heads more power over the curriculum, recruitment and budgets. However, the move has been strongly opposed by teaching unions.’
but then bases his whole case on the forthcoming speech of one Union leader, of the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association (SSTA).
I guess he had hoped to offer a stronger critique of the Scottish Government policy, then was unable to find another union chief to support the SSTA view and, finally, forgot to delete the letter ‘s’, twice. I know journos are working faster these days with fewer resources and so have little time for proof-reading but people (a few) are paying for this.
So, was it bad grammar or faked evidence?
The SSTA chief is Seamus Searson, is a man who has only taught in London, who then worked as a union rep in England and in Northern Ireland, and has only been in Scotland since 2015, but seems, nevertheless, to feel has his finger on the pulse of the situation.
He claims the legislation is not welcomed by the majority of the population. I’d love to read the research report showing this but can’t seem to find it.
He also insists the Head Teachers’ charter is unwanted by ‘many head teachers’. What does ‘many’ mean? If it’s 100 that would be ‘many’, but would it be enough to worry about? Once more, I can’t find any published research on this.
Returning to grammar and basic literacy, what does his claim that the national qualification for head teachers should be ‘without the workload heavy, bureaucratic and administrative nonsense’.
I taught on an earlier head teacher qualification course, many years ago. Does Mr Searson think training can be of any real worth if it is not demanding? Just what on earth does he mean by ‘administrative nonsense’? Does he think that a post-graduate programme can be delivered without detailed and accurate record-keeping? Should we get Blue Peter to run the programme?
Only in the last paragraph, does the Scotsman give a taste of the information that the reader would need to form an intelligent opinion on the debate, with this from the Scottish Government:
‘The majority of respondents to the consultation support the principles behind our education reforms and, as the International Council of Education Advisers said last month, the direction of travel in Scottish education is impressive. They also welcomed the recent establishment of Regional Improvement Collaboratives.’
This is a very disappointing piece of work. I can only award an E grade and allow one more submission before withdrawal from the programme is required.