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Wesleyan With Profits ISA 2% off initial charge until 28 April 2011

Eileen Prior, executive director of the Scottish

Parent Teacher Council, which also submitted evidence to the report, said most parents would feel that Mr Donaldson’s findings were positive. But she echoed reservations about hub schools. “Some of the changes that he’s recommending are

not going to be short-term, they are generational. They will take considerable time, particularly in the current economic climate. “If we look at OECD (Organisation for Economic

Co-operation and Development) and all the other research, a substantial minority of pupils leave school unable to read or write to an acceptable level,” she said. “If we are going to achieve equality in our education system then clearly we have to have changes, and part of that has to be in the professionalism of teaching staff.” She welcomed the call for broader education and

experience for aspiring teachers. “It will make them more employable. We’ve seen the effects of having teachers solely at university then going straight into the job. It’s better for the profession to have teachers moving in and out of teaching and getting experience in other areas of work,” she said. The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS),

the country’s biggest teaching union, praised the commitment to CPD and other points but insisted on adequate funding. It also sharply criticised the lack of commitment to

the Chartered Teacher programme, which has run to a mixed reception for the last 10 years.

SecEd • March 24 2011

Ronnie Smith, EIS general secretary, said: “This

world renowned initiative has helped to enhance professionalism by offering highly experienced teachers the chance to continue applying their skills in the classroom setting rather than move into management posts where their skills might not be used to the full. The government and local authorities cannot put cost- cutting ahead of the needs of schools and the pupils.” As for the proposed extra literacy and numeracy

testing for would-be teachers, this has been one of the most contentious points in the report. One headteacher said: “I suppose Mr Donaldson was upping the ante a bit and trying to ensure a level of understanding of English beyond Higher English. But you could read it as saying that even with Higher English you might be illiterate. And of course I hope that’s not the case.” Mr Cunningham concluded that the fact the

Donaldson report was commissioned in the first place did not signify serious flaws in the present set-up but a more forward-thinking approach that is meant to tie in with Curriculum for Excellence. “It was not a review to counteract a major problem in the system – it was a review to build on the good that was already happening and to encourage better in a new system,” he said. Whether that happens in the years ahead will depend to a large extent on willpower and resources.

SecEd • Sam Phipps is a freelance education journalist.

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