Banchory Academy Parent Council supports the overall aims of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE), but is concerned about its implementation in practice, specifically around the number of subjects a pupil can study in S4, the start of the Senior Phase.
BAPC has raised these concerns over a number of years, latterly amid conflicting guidelines from Education Scotland and our local authority, Aberdeenshire Council. On the one hand, the national guidelines suggest that, as long as they comply with the CfE framework, individual schools can decide upon an appropriate number of subjects, to best fit the needs of their local communities; on the other hand, the Aberdeenshire guidelines imply that there should be consistency across its schools. BAPC continues to press for an implementation that will best suit students at Banchory Academy, which has long been one of the most academically successful state schools in the country.
Our concerns were first raised in 2010. An article (Parents revolt over CfE) was published in the Times Educational Supplement (Scotland) in October 2010 but in March 2011 Mike Russell (Education Secretary) was quoted as saying that our concerns were the result of communication problems and had now been ‘put to bed’(Russell: ‘No limitation’ on subjects pupils take).
Fast forward to June 2012 when, in response to a central audit encouraging local authorities to accelerate their CfE implementations, Aberdeenshire Council Education, Learning and Leisure (EL&L) updated its Senior Phase recommendations (see also the associated appendix), which appeared to restrict local flexibility in subject numbers. We felt that the implications of this Senior Phase plan on S4 subject choice were not fully discussed or understood by the EL&L Committee when the plan was presented for approval at the 7th June meeting.