Rector calls for holistic curriculum

A SCHOOL curriculum promoting a holistic approach to education for pupils and teachers was advocated by Montrose Academy rector George Stachura at this year's school prize-giving.

In his address Mr Stachura said a curriculum must be established which addresses the educational needs of the whole child, and teachers have to become teachers of children rather than subjects.

He said: "We have to ensure that we deliver formative experiences which will make the difference. There has to be a more informed, finer balance struck between the current emphasis on subjects and the provision of thematic, conceptually based integrated learning experiences and programmes.

"By that I mean drama and music performances, practical art displays, enterprise activities, community involvement projects, vocational learning opportunities, trips and excursions out of school. These enrichment activities are very often the most important and the most formative learning experiences for children."

While pointing out the school already engages in these, Mr Stachura said they should not be extra activities but considered "the norm".

He said: "It is critically important that the potential for improvement made possible through the development and pursuit of a Curriculum for Excellence is neither diluted nor compromised. One important prerequisite of achieving that essential curriculum is that the teaching profession has to change and change quite radically.

"There can be organisational change such as a reformatting of the school day or week and there can be structural innovation such as new management structures, but each of these in themselves will not bring about the necessary changes in culture, mindset and practice within the profession."

He also said a revised defition of "teacher" is needed, as is professional practice which is "genuinely" collegiate and collaborative and schools require to be communities of learning rather than "a collection of subjects often competing and vying with one another."

As far as restructuring the school weed, Mr Stachura imagined five mornings - 8.30am-12.30pm - on a restricted subject curriculum; three afternoons of two and a half hours of enrichment activities and a further three afternoons of voluntary community activities. A dedicated afternoon of professional development opportunities for staff was also suggested.

A full list of this year's senior prizewinners can be found in this week's Review.