Fed up of fighting…

  • Chris Aitken

    I don’t know if there’s much you can do to help, but as it stands I’m fed up of fighting with my Senior Management regarding the whole ICT/Computing Science battle.

    Our school will be running a “broad general education” course for S1-S2 with choices at S3. They want our S1-3 course to be labelled “ICT” (it just so happens our Rector has come up from England in the last year), and for me to be running a course that comprises of Computing Science, ICT and and Business (my order, not theirs).
    I have been fighting with them for over a year now for something as simple as a name change, and as yet, it still sits as ICT. I have highlighted the recent Royal Society report, the speech from Michael Gove, the Guardian articles which all state that we should be moving away from general ICT to the much more specific Computing Science.

    This year, “ICT” has been taught by the technical department for S1 and S2 due to the fact that I have all certificate classes. Isn’t it ironic that it’s because the subject is so popular!

    Finally I have told them that if we pursue “ICT” as a subject that we will be falling behind other more “forward-looking” authorities.

    Is there ANYTHING else I can do to persuade them otherwise?
    Apologies for the rant – any help appreciated.

    Carl Roderick

    I have 1 period a week In S1 to deliver the Computer science side of Technolgies.  I suppose if you cannot change the name, you can only emphasie our name Computer Science when you are delivering your lessons.  Put a big sign up saying Computer Science Department; posters wiht the difference between Comptuer Science and ICT, …!?

    Chris Aitken

    Good news..after much ranting I have persuaded senior management to introduce computing science as a dedicated subject in S1-3

    Carl Roderick

    Hooray for ranting!  As you said, mention the news, Michael Gove, Michael Russell and  more “forward-looking” authorities…

    I have I period a week in S1 to teach the Computing Science context of Technologies.  NO classes in S2 and in S3 pupils have a choice to do Computer Science (and other subjects) @ 2 periods a week to cover as much of the level 4 Es & O’s.  I can blend in National 4 topics so that they can choose to do C & IS National 4 /5 in S4 (@ 3 periods a week)

    Chris Aitken

    Teachers in Highland today received a letter from Dr Bill Maxwell stating the legal obligation that pupils MUST be able to experience ALL E’s and O’s.  Are you able to cover all the Computing Science outcomes in one year?

    Lorraine Muir

    Did the letter from Dr Bill Maxwell only go out to Highland or was it sent to all LAs. Is there anyway that we could see what the letter contains?

    Having a similar problem in that we have 1 period in S1 to cover computing science and bus ed outcomes, our pupils then select 2from 4 technologies to study in S2 for 2 periods per week. Our argument is that we cannot cover all outcomes in S1 and the pupil might not select our subject in S2.



    Chris Aitken

    Will post it on in the morning when I’m at work. I thought it was sent it to all local authorities?

    To update my situation, I’ve now persuaded the boss to give me 1 period in s1/2 computing science and ICT. I’m also now doing NPA games development in upper stages.

    Mark J Tennant

    Hi all,


    Below is the content of the letter from Bill Maxwell.





    As you may be aware, I have now convened a new Implementation Group for Curriculum for Excellence at the request of the Cabinet Secretary. The group has senior representatives from Education Scotland, ADES, SQA, Scottish Government and Scotland’s Colleges.  We had our first meeting on the 13th January.


    I am writing, as Chair of the Group, to provide guidance on some key issues highlighted in the first annual report on the progress being made in establishing the entitlements of Curriculum for Excellence. The Implementation Group and the Curriculum for Excellence Management Board both recently considered the report and agreed that I should write to you to provide clarification in some key areas which may have an important bearing on curriculum planning in your schools.


    As you know, one fundamental change being introduced through Curriculum for Excellence is a shift away from what has essentially been a three phase model for delivering the 12 to 18 curriculum (S1/2, S3/4 and S5/6), towards a two phase model. This two phase model comprises a three year period of ‘broad general education’ in the early years of secondary school, characterised by flexible provision designed by the school and focused on the experiences and outcomes identified in national guidance, followed by a ‘senior phase’ beginning in S4 in which the learner will build up a portfolio of qualifications, building directly on their previous achievements within the broad general education.


    The provision of a broad general education phase, which flows smoothly and progressively from pre-school, through primary and to the end of S3, is a fundamental design feature of Curriculum for Excellence.  Experiencing a challenging and motivating broad general education up to the end of S3 is a core national entitlement for all young people and will provide a stronger and broader foundation of learning and attainment for the senior phase and beyond. It is therefore essential that all schools and local authorities ensure that the new curricular models they are developing firmly embed this key characteristic.


    We are aware that schools and local authorities have been developing a variety of specific approaches to re-designing the curriculum which young people at S1 to S3 experience, intimately connected, of course, with their planning for delivery of the new senior phase.


    To aid this process, the Implementation Group will shortly begin to produce a number of succinct briefings on the purposes and features of the broad general education, including examples of emerging practice. We hope these will assist you and your staff in the next stages of local implementation, evaluation of progress, and communication with parents. This local approach is one of the key characteristics of Curriculum for Excellence and I expect it to feature increasingly as a core strength of Scotland’s education system.


    In the meantime there are two particular points which I wish to bring to your attention now, as they may require short-term action in some cases.


    1. A few examples of curriculum design propose early presentation of whole cohorts for qualifications during S3. This is incompatible with the purposes of the broad general education. Qualifications should not be taken by young people during S1-S3 unless there are very specific circumstances for individual children.  The Curriculum for Excellence Management Board issued a statement on the Senior Phase in May 2011.


    1. Choice is an important feature of the broad general education but some emerging patterns of course/subject choice in S1 to S3 are unlikely to allow young people to experience the broad general education as intended. The design of the curriculum during S1-S3 must enable all young people to experience all of the Es and Os up to and including the third curriculum level. Through choices, opportunities should also be provided to enable learners to specialise and to experience greater challenge and depth through selected fourth level Es and Os where they are ready to do so. This should enable young people to progress to a suitably broad range of qualifications when they move on to the senior phase. However, the design of the S3 curriculum should avoid closing off options for the choice of qualifications which pupils may want to have open to them when they enter the senior phase at the start of S4.


    I am conscious that plans are already in place, or well advanced for the pathways which current S2 pupils will be following in S3, the final year of the broad general education phase. It will be important that you evaluate these rigorously in line with the national expectations of the broad general education, and plan to change them where necessary. We expect to see new and more creative patterns of choice as teachers’ understanding of the full potential of the Es and Os and the nature of progression from the broad general education to the senior phase becomes more firmly established. These matters will be considered in more detail in the briefings we are planning to issue.


    The Implementation Group will prepare a detailed response to all the main findings of the progress report. That response will be considered by the CfE Management Board in March and then published. It will specify actions needed by all partners and the support which will be in place in 2012-2013.


    With regard to the role of Education Scotland in particular, I can assure you that during 2012, achieving the intentions of the broad general education from pre-school to S3 consistently across the country will be of the highest priority.  The

    agency’s support and development programmes will reflect this.  District Inspectors and Area Advisers will be working with you and your teams to identify schools where improvement may be required, the support available and how it could be tailored to your requirements.


    During secondary school inspections, inspectors will evaluate the quality of the broad general education as learners experience it. Key evidence will include the extent to which learners’ experiences across the curriculum during S1 to S3 are richer, more challenging and more connected than previously, and evidence that learners are achieving improved outcomes. Inspectors will recognise that this can be achieved in different ways: their focus will be upon the entitlement to the broad general education, and improved outcomes for all learners.


    Education Scotland will also be providing further guidance and support in a number of other important areas, including preparing for the S3 profile; P7 profiling and reporting; achieving a coherent curriculum across the later stages of primary and into secondary school; and the replacement for STACs.


    We have evidence that many schools are now planning and delivering rich and ambitious teaching which will significantly improve standards and the quality of young people’s learning.  We are seeing practical examples of that happening in action.  I look forward to working with you to ensure that every young person experiences the rewarding broad general education which will provide a solid foundation for the senior phase and their future success.


    Yours sincerely


    Dr Bill Maxwell

    Chair of CfE Implementation Group 

    Chris Aitken

    Thanks Mark

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