Pupils turning their back on Scottish Studies
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Daughter of Yorkshire


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Pupils turning their back on Scottish Studies
Quote:A FLAGSHIP qualification aimed at broadening the study of Scottish history, geography, culture and literature has failed to spark the interest of pupils, according to new figures.

Statistics show only 159 pupils sat Scottish Studies in its first year, despite the subject being promoted heavily by the Scottish Government.

The poor take-up has now sparked calls for the subject to be made mandatory by a leading member of the Association for Scottish Literary Studies.

John Hodgart, a member of the working group which developed Scottish Studies, said the initial take-up was "very disappointing".

"Even though it was the first year it was disappointing and there are areas and schools where its importance and relevance has not been identified," he said.

"Teachers have even asked me what is it because they haven't really come across it and we need to ask how important this is for the education of Scottish children.

"The perception seems to be that it is an optional extra, but this is not an add-on. Children have to learn about their own culture, but I don't see any signs of that immediately.

"I feel there should be a mandatory element of some kind to ensure that children naturally learn about their history and culture as they grow up."

Neil McLennan, another member of the working group, said: "There was always going to be a challenge for Scottish Studies, given the reduced number of subjects that many schools opt for in the new National qualifications."

However, James Robertson, a Scottish novelist and champion of the Scots language, said he expected take-up for Scottish Studies to "greatly increase" in 2014/15 as teachers gained confidence in the subject and more resources became available.

He said: "The opposition in some quarters of the education sector to any specific Scottish Studies has been quite strong, so it is essential that such courses and units win converts and are taken up by teachers and students on their merits, not because they are being pushed for ideological reasons."

In 2012, it was revealed all pupils would be expected to learn about their heritage through the new subject of Scottish Studies, with Michael Russell, the former Education Secretary, saying he wanted to create a new subject because teaching had become too "fragmented".

In a later interview, Dr Alasdair Allan, the SNP's Minister for Learning and Skills, said he was not interested in creating a subject to which only some pupils had access.
2014 Dec 27 10:47
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