Primary and secondary schools have a huge amount in common but there appears to be a singular characteristic that continues to define and distinguish the two sectors.
It can be represented by a continuum, as follows:
The school is there………………………………………………The learner is there
to serve the learner to serve the school
Of course, as with any schemata the above sets out the two as polar opposites but I believe that in most cases a primary school tend, in the main, to err to the left, whilst secondary schools, in the main, err to the right (perhaps err isn’t the correct word here?)
I don’t seek to blame secondary schools for this but there is something about the bureaucracy of timetabling, student management systems, and deeply ingrained assumptions about the purpose of schooling that make it so difficult for secondary schools to escape from the magnetic pull towards “service to the school”.
I’m coming round to thinking that it is this single characteristic that is making it so difficult for secondary schools to fully address the challenge that is Curriculum for Excellence.
It will take a determined and sustained focus from secondary school leaders to make a dent in this characteristic – assuming that there exists a desire to change.