If you’re interested in understanding Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence, take the time to read the recent OECD Review of Quality and Equity of Schooling in Scotland: it’s available on Google Books.
It’s not a quick read, at 167 pages, but reading it is time well spent. When I changed career to education over 3 years ago, I found it was relatively easy to find out about the individual parts of the Scottish education jigsaw, particularly from web sites, but hard to get the big picture. Even Moray House’s excellent Returning to Teaching Course, although it got me hooked on a new career, just made me realise how little I knew about the way the bigger picture had changed.
I can’t recommend this paper enough to anyone who wants to know the full story, and maybe gets a bit frustrated reading the kind of “bite-sized chunks” typical of web sites and marketing materials. It is an excellent help in making sense of Curriculum for Excellence, particularly by putting it into an international context. It doesn’t pull any punches about the urgency, either.
If you’ve not heard of it, there’s a one-page summary on the OECD site.
A number of challenges remain, however. Notwithstanding the overall success rate of the Scottish educational system, gaps in achievement have opened up, beginning in primary education and widening throughout junior secondary years. Another concern is the increasing number of young people leaving school with minimal qualifications, a tendency found amongst students from lower socio-economic backgrounds.
The OECD report, by an international team of examiners from Australia, Belgium, Finland and New Zealand, gives a series of recommendations on how such challenges can be met.
For this to be freely available to everyone working in Scottish education is wonderful, even if it’s not possible to copy text or print it. I hope as many people as possible take the time to read it.
Of course, it’s very unlikely to be read by students in schools. Yet there’s a lot in it that could be of huge value to many. But how do we bridge that gap?