Science class time cut in half at school

PARENTS of pupils at Arbroath Academy have spoken of their concern after claiming the teaching of science for third year pupils has been reduced to just three hours a week.

All schools across Scotland must stick to the new Curriculum for Excellence framework which means pupils are taught a wide range of subjects.

However one worried parent has told the Arbroath Herald that Arbroath Academy is now only offering S3 pupils three hours of science a week, a reduction from six and in some cases nine periods per week.

And now they are worried this could affect the future career paths of pupils, especially those wanting to follow the medicine or veterinary sciences professions.

One parent, who did not want to be named, said: “In the new Curriculum for Excellence, Arbroath Academy, like all other schools in Scotland is committed to the allocation of pupil time in the classroom across a broad spectrum of subjects.

“Arbroath Academy has decided to allocate a maximum of only three periods a week in science for each pupil in third year.

“This reduction from six and for some nine periods per week will have drastic implications relating to their future careers.

“As a consequence of this it could be impossible for pupils studying at Arbroath Academy to follow a career in particular areas such as medicine or science.

“This is an extremely alarming situation which is far reaching and life altering and cannot be underestimated or ignored.”

However, Angus Council has moved quickly to reassure parents that pupils will be developing the skills needed for further learning, life and work.

A spokeswoman for the local authority said: “In previous years, pupils chose their courses at the end of S2.

“However, under the development of a Curriculum for Excellence, pupils continue to follow a broad, general education in S3, before making specific subject choices before moving into S4.

“In order to offer this broad education, and to develop breadth and depth of learning, subjects will continue to be taught in all curriculum areas in S3.

“Those subjects chosen for study in S4 will be taught in more depth and will have more periods in S4.

“This approach is in line with the council’s Curriculum for Excellence guidelines, and with the aims of the new curriculum to improve how rather than what pupils learn and to develop skills for learning, life and work.”

The local authority also explained that the new system will help pupils succeed more in Highers and invited any parents with concerns to contact support teachers.

The spokeswoman added: “The purpose of the new curriculum is to prepare pupils more effectively for Highers and it is hoped that even more pupils will be able to succeed at five Highers once the new curriculum works its way into the senior phase.

“The system is being designed to enhance the skills and attributes that pupils need to succeed at all levels.

“The school will be holding a meeting with parents at the end of this month to give more details on the delivery of the curriculum.

“Parents can also contact their child’s pupil care and support teacher about any matters relating to their child’s education.”

The Curriculum for Excellence first started to be introduced into schools two years ago and covers all children in education from the age of three to 18.

The Scottish Government believes that the framework aims to enable all students to become successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors.

The curriculum tries to give pupils the chance to cover a varied range of subjects from the beginning of pre-school until they reach S3.

It is then thought by the end of S3, pupils will have a strong base for more in depth learning at S4 level.

Twitter: @JenniferNewton1