Analysis of the media coverage of our CfE research is a fascinating (and at times frustrating) exercise. When releasing research into a controversial area like this, I am always nervous about the potential for it to be misrepresented, or used to pursue some pre-existing political agenda. In today’s media, some reports are fairly balanced, and have sought to report what was actually in the research . For example, The Herald has stuck to facts, and refreshingly acknowledged that CfE was a policy set up by the previous Labour administration – see By implication, this is therefore not the SNP’s curriculum.

It is worth noting here that CfE does has all party support, and therefore criticisms by Labour and the Conservatives reported in the Scotsman – see – lack some credibility. It is also difficult to see what these parties might do differently. Mike Russell has  done what they presumably would also have done, in terms of additional support and guidance. And let’s not forget that the SNP was responsible for rewriting the Building the Curriculum series so that they became more intelligible.

The Scotsman article is especially interesting. The article itself reports much of the substance of our research, and deserves some congratulations for getting complex detail right. In particular, I would endorse the article on its coverage of the very mixed picture of implementation – while some schools are entering into the spirit of CfE, many are following the letter of the law, and reform is less extensive than might have been envisaged. However, the headline – Failure at the heart of school reform – largely misrepresents what we had to say. At no stage did we talk about failure, and I reiterate here that reform such as CfE is a long game, requiring a substantial shift in the culture of schooling. Such reform does not take place over night.

But why take the media’s word for this? Read the report yourself – And make up your own mind. And especially focus on the latter part of the report, something which has been largely missed by the media. This comprises some suggestions as to how CfE might be implemented more effectively.


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