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November 6, 2014

Scottish education: first class, or complacently second class?

KeirPeter.jpg

Keir was interviewed by Peter MacMahon yesterday on the Scottish Television programme Representing Border and for the next few days you should be able to follow the link above to view it. The item lasts from about minute 4 to 8, and Education Minister Alasdair Allan's response to Keir's views follows on, from minutes 8 to 11. A more persistent link may be the ITV News website.

Keir's critique, as recently published in the booklet First Class: Essays on improving Scotland's Education, is about complacency in the Scottish educational establishment, and about its failure to implement good policies. Scotland's relatively poor performance in the PISA studies, and the government's attempt to spin this as a success, was a particular focus. You can download it here.

Although Peter MacMahon put some pertinent questions to Alasdair Allan, judge for yourself whether he got any coherent answers. The Minister tried to slide off into environmental and social problems that need to be fixed first, and seemed to think that new exams and more Highers would fix inequality. But after seven years of this government, it cannot evade responsibility for our present position, sliding backwards by international standards. The Minister's reference to Curriculum for Excellence ignored the fact that it has been sidetracked and is still widely misinterpreted.

By contrast, Keir's comments were lucid, articulate and convincing. Obviously I am biased, but I also know that Keir was having to control Toby, our feisty but photogenic puppy, while being filmed in our back garden (I was in Perth yesterday). I think it's impressive that he delivered all this in a single take while Toby looked on, mercifully out of camera view: he would have stolen the show:)

About November 2014

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