EDUCATION SCOTLAND AND GTCS
The national agency, Education Scotland, faces a fundamental conflict of interest. It inspects and evaluates policies and practices it has itself largely developed. Currently, schools have to enthusiastically embrace the latest Education Scotland diktat and proclaim its wisdom and effectiveness, on pain of a bad inspection report. This has to be remedied. The policy development aspect should be minimised, as the people who know best about what will work in a certain school are the leaders, staff and parents of that school. Expensive centrally imposed programmes, laden with jargon and driven by the latest educational fashion, seldom bear fruit.
Inspections should be carried out by teams of teachers and parents, led by a professional inspector from a new independent inspectorate. Their role should be to assess the effectiveness of the school, not its adherence to current fads. They could also provide unbiased feedback to Education Scotland on the efficacy of their directives to schools.
The General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) places unnecessary obstacles in the path of teachers wanting to teach in Scotland, restricts freedom of speech, administers an unnecessarily bureaucratic Professional Update scheme, and publishes a magazine that is more government propaganda than professional journal. Also, GTCS is highly politicised, imposing a distinct political philosophy onto all teachers. It should be wound up, and its critical functions, such as teachers’ registration, dealt with by the Education Department directly.