Local MSP Jackie Baillie has demanded that serious concerns expressed by teachers at Hermitage Academy over the implementation of the Curriculum for Excellence are taken seriously by Argyll and Bute Council and the Scottish Government.
The EIS and SSTA teachers’ unions have issued a joint statement criticising the new model for how senior pupils are taught at the school as “seriously flawed”.
The unions, which represent the majority of teaching staff at the school, say that the Senior Phase Model has placed added pressure on teachers and pupils. They also say that many pupils have paid the price with poor quality exam results. Seventeen out of the 25 subject areas taught at the Helensburgh school achieved A-C passes below the national average in this year’s SQA exam results.
Key among the teachers’ concerns is a shortage of teaching time which has reduced the amount of class time available for revision work ahead of exams. Figures provided by the unions show that the introduction of the new model last year has meant that pupils studying science subjects will have 74 fewer periods between S3 and S5.
Teachers also say that staff morale is low due to a clamp down on constructive criticism, with many saying that they cannot freely express their views on the new model without fear of repercussions.
Jackie wrote to the SNP Education Secretary Angela Constance after meeting one of the teachers at Hermitage Academy who shared serious concerns about the implementation of the Senior Phase Model.
“This is a very serious matter and I hope that Argyll and Bute Council and the Scottish Government will take immediate steps to address the concerns raised by teachers at Hermitage Academy. Our local teachers do a difficult job and it is only right that they should feel able to speak out when pupils are not getting the high standard of education they deserve. Our schools should provide young people with the best possible start in life so it is deeply concerning when teachers say that the new system has already had a negative impact on exam results for many pupils.
“The teachers’ lack of confidence in the new system should be a wake-up call for the Scottish Government and Argyll and Bute Council to take action. We need an urgent review, involving the teaching staff and unions, to ensure that no more young people are let down in future