At Fife Council I had become concerned about the need for further support for teachers working on the implementation of CfE and through discussion with the EIS had asked officials to carry out a review of where schools were at and as a result of this we had put a specific proposal in the budget to make £400,000 into schools this year to support that work.
When elected to the Scottish Parliament, I submitted a question to the Scottish Government asking if they consider that schools will be able to implement the new higher through curriculum for excellence as planned in the academic year 2014-15. The minster responded by saying that the Scottish Government, Education Scotland and the Scottish Qualifications Authority were delivering a wide range of support to help teachers introduce the new higher which the government considers to be the natural option next session.
Two days later the Scottish Government announced an additional £5 million to support teachers with the introduction of curriculum for excellence. I spoke in a debate on the subject a few days later and welcomed the fact that this new money was being put in which for Fife will be around £330,000 and this, on top of the £400,000 that the Labour administration announced in its Fife Council budget will provide much needed support to teachers but not enough in terms of the need for new books, course materials and printing, a point made by the EIS when they gave evidence to the Parliaments Education Committee.
The Cabinet Secretary for Education also spoke in the debate and put on record that he welcomed Fife Councils decision to put additional money into supporting the development of the new higher. He acknowledged that the Scottish Government did not know how many young people may not take the new higher as originally planned for 2014/15. This is the question I posed in the debate for I am of the view that a decision on which higher to be used must be taken at school level and taken in the best interest of the pupils.
Curriculum for excellence has been ten years in the planning. I think schools have been badly let down by a lack of clarity, preparedness and support from particularly the SQA and ultimately the Scottish Government meaning that teachers in all the confusion have been left to work under immense pressure and uncertainty. I have written to the Director of Education in Fife asking when he will give more specific information to parents and pupils for each school.