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The Big Debate: Education

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Alistair Mooney Alistair Mooney | 16:13 UK time, Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Here's a chance to hear what the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning and counterparts are thinking about the current state and future of Scottish education in The Big Debate: Education.


Isabel Fraser is joined by Michael Russell, Elizabeth Smith, Des McNulty and Margaret Smith, for the debate in front of invited guests and a live audience - tackling everything from children's education to learning in later life.

I'm looking forward to watching the programme after attending the big university funding debate in December and catching up with Ken Macdonald's The Graduation Game programme, looking at the future funding and role of Scottish universities and the golden age that never was.

Showing tonight at 22:40 on BBC One Scotland, the debate will be available on BBC iPlayer soon after, for the usual seven days. If you have any comments about the debate or programmes, do let us know your thoughts...


  • Comment number 1.

    I will be completing my teacher training in May and will begin my probationary year after the summer, however I am very worried that I will not be able to gain employment in a Scottish school once probation is finished. Have I just wasted 4 years at university on a music teaching degree?

  • Comment number 2.

    I listened with some amazement to Labour's spokesman claim that Labour would provide 1000 extra teachers. Why am I amazed? Well firstly it is councils who employ teachers, not the Scottish Government. And guess the political control of councils which have been to the fore in reducing teacher numbers? Got it in one! Labour.

  • Comment number 3.

    Why were they allowed to get away with the slur on older teachers. ! Those in their 50s are the ones who have expertise in the methodology of curriculum for excellence ( The methodology used in the 70's ) AND most of them can use correct grammar and spelling! There are many excellent young teachers AND excellent older teachers> Surely a balance is needed. Teachers....DON'T LET THEM DIVIDE US!

  • Comment number 4.

    I watched the debate and for once it appeared to be a proper debate with knowledgeable people asking very penetrating questions of the panel. To my mind there were two distinct areas, University funding and teachers/schools. I personally believe that access to Universities should always be based on the ability to learn and not the ability to pay, therefore was pleased to hear. One question that was not raised was why should we even be considering charging the case for it has not been made. Across Europe most major countries do not charge including France and most of Germany, so I ask where has this idea come from? Why do we seem to having a head long gallop into a system that is more in tune with the model in the USA? There is a fundamental principle at stake here, that of encouraging and supporting everyone to be the best they can be. Our parents and grandparents did it for us, why should we not do the same for our children and grandchildren.
    As regards schools, I got the distinct impression that there was the attempt to trot out some of the usual scare stories, at least one panel member gave the impression that there were droves of illiterate children and teachers. One and only one attempted to put some context on this, by acknowledging that there were some children that had difficulties but the number was not as big as some would lead us to believe.
    The truth seemed to be that progress is being made as regards teacher pupil ratios, the direction of travel is positive. We still have the thorny issue of teachers being unemployed, I am sorry to say but I think the heart of this matter is that we are producing more teachers than we require.

  • Comment number 5.

    With no real free market of trade in the UK i.e. socialism and companies not hiring teaching sounds like a great career. Start at 8 finish at 3 or 4 get every public holiday off, pensions, and many other perks. It is not rocket science to work for the government in the UK where you have job security for life even if you are incompetent.

  • Comment number 6.

    As a teacher currently aiming for Chartered teacher status I feel
    let down by the anti -educational stance taken by the Councils.
    This scheme was introduced to reward teachers like myself who choose to stay in the classroom instead of going for a promotion which although
    would reward me in terms of salary would take me away from what I
    am good at. As for post 5 you are ignorant beyond belief if teachers
    did work 8 to 3 or 4 nothing would get done. Most of us are working
    50 or 60 hours WITH NO OVERTIME

  • Comment number 7.

    Hi Rob123,
    If you did'nt got job there then try another place. The world is so big and everyone is bigger then the previous.employee performance appraisals


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