As an educator in an elementary school, I agree with your assessment.
Mark Sonnemann
12

The education minister has been on TV tonight to address the poor results of Scotland in the latest PISA merry go-round. Just like Brexit there would appear to be no plan, nor experts to come up with one. As the below shows they have been looking in the wrong place.

If I was you John I would do the following:

  1. This Christmas, instead of allowing School of Education Lecturers to wind down at some conference, stick the Professor Lindsay Paterson into Northfield Academy and get his fans to watch/assist; from the back of the class or front as shown on BBC TV News tonight. By coffee time he would understand that the problem at schools is not esoteric and its solution is nothing to do with data/digital/…
  2. Pivot from focus on the (numeric) abstract to what works south of the border. Despite the new Teach First competitor, which I give 6 months, the problems in Scotland would not be solved by importing the equivalent; it is not a good cultural fit. I would go to the best (?)academic in each of the Scots Universities and give them a million pounds and say “on you go”. Then any entrepreneur could ring up and pitch for the money with his after school/xyz ideas. Hopefully such an approach would spike the “Privatisation by the back door” naysayers.
  3. Publish & review experiments in Local Authorities that have gone well. In Aberdeen there has been the City Campus experiment. The problem with Scotland is that there are often monopolies (eg SQA) that inhibit competition and worse lead to complacency (eg Aberdeen College).
  4. Decide on a target. State the problem. Propose & implement a solution. PS Make it realistic — no amount of effort will solve the “attainment gap” issue. But it is the landscape of widening of gaps that represents the way forward since where there is (particular) space the issues will become clearer.

I was lucky enough to have taught cross institution in computer labs galore. The issues of layout/curriculum/.. etc were dwarfed by that of simple literacy. As the great Bill Rodgers said post 16 is too late, the damage is done by the weakest link in the chain.

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