Council’s teacher changes could ‘harm exams’

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EDINBURGH’S school pupils could miss out on “critical” exam preparation because senior teachers are still waiting for training promised 18 months ago, unions claimed today.

The NASUWT union warning follows Edinburgh’s move to axe around 120 principal teacher (PT) posts in secondaries and replace them with ­“curricular leaders” – a new class of senior staff in charge of a range of subjects.

It said that the lack of ­training for leaders managing subjects in which they are not specialists threatens to damage pupils’ education as well as resulting in greater pressure on other staff.

The council today said targeted training for curricular leaders had now started and was ongoing in a number of schools.But NASUWT leaders said the whole approach had raised serious concerns.

Linda Gray, NASUWT national executive member, said: “They’ve developed a reduced management structure without any consideration for the impact – either on education provision for the pupils or on the staff who are subject specialists and working under a curricular leader who is not a subject specialist and lacks the knowledge required. In a worst-case scenario, something critical could be missed from what’s ­delivered to pupils.”

Among at-risk activities highlighted were exam preparation and effective purchasing of class materials.

The range of subjects on ­offer at schools could also reduce, they added.

Ms Gray added: “Curricular leaders took on the posts in good faith – training was promised. They should be supported and given the appropriate training as a matter of some urgency by their employer.

“Where you had PTs, those people would fight for their subjects. Now you run the risk of lack of consistency – you cannot guarantee there will be equality of access to particular subjects.”

Education bosses insisted that Edinburgh’s curricular leaders were well supported. A council spokesman said: “Work is ongoing with a large number of schools receiving targeted leadership training for Curriculum Leaders and there is continual ongoing support through subject leader and curriculum leader networks, and SQA meetings which are open to all curriculum leaders.”