Message Received: Mar 24 2014, 02:18 PM From: "Iain Houston"
To: SPUTNIK@NETWORKS.IOP.ORG Cc: Subject: [SPUTNIK] Search for new curriculum continues Still no news... Teachers are still searching for the new Scottish curriculum which was due to arrive some time ago. The search is now in its umpteenth year, and the search area has been widened to include two vast swathes of office space in Glasgow. Teachers gathered around Scotland waiting for news are becoming increasingly impatient about the lack of information regarding the new curriculum. "Many of my colleagues got on board many years ago. Since they entered the Olympia building I haven't heard anything from them. I'm sitting here thinking that it could so easily have been me. If I had just been a little bit more interested in my career above all else and a little bit less interested in the students I could have been in that building talking about learning journeys." Teachers have reported that on phoning their ex-colleagues their phones still ring but go unanswered. This has given some hope that they may still be in a meeting somewhere or talking to someone more important. Initial reports that sections of the curriculum had been sighted scattered around some websites have turned out to be mistaken. One teacher said, "It now appears what was sighted was some fragments of some guidance. After further investigation it appears the pieces do not fit together and so are unlikely to have come from a complete curricular structure. Also, the spelling mistakes and duff diagrams would suggest that this wreckage may have come from someone who neither knew nor cared how to construct a meaningful curriculum and so this material has been largely discounted." Despite this the teacher said, "This curriculum must be out there somewhere. Tens of millions of pounds can't just disappear into thin air. The concern at the moment is that the curriculum may be being held hostage somewhere by a fanatical group who are out to do serious damage to Scottish Education." Although it was thought that the curriculum had disappeared some time ago it has now emerged, following detailed analysis of bank records, that large sums of money were being received by employee's bank accounts at the SQA and Education Scotland up until very recently. This has led some to speculate that the curriculum may still exist somewhere or may have until very recently. However, experts caution that just because people were being paid this does not necessarily indicate that work was being done or decisions were being made. The curriculum may have crashed some time ago and money may have continued to be transmitted automatically. This has all brought back memories of an incident some years ago when Learning Teaching Scotland, after drifting out of control for several years, collided with HMI, resulting in many highly paid survivors. As a result of this many involved were told that they would never have to work again. A teacher said of this, "We received a few garbled attempts at communication from LTS a few years ago, then nothing. We later found out what had happened. It was very difficult for us, as taxpayers, to deal with." The wreckage from this collision has never been brought under control and, although rarely encountered, currently still poses a danger to Scottish Education. Some of the survivors have, tragically, struggled to come to terms with these events and still insist that they work for HMI, an organisation that was completely destroyed some years ago. One teacher searching for the curriculum said, "People have to appreciate the extreme difficulties we are facing searching in this environment. This is an area of extremely low interest and very high wages which makes this a slow process. In addition conditions are very difficult. We have found that the necks of many of the people we are dealing with are composed almost entirely of brass. In addition, the area we will be searching contains many, many plush offices so this will take some time. It is possible that some of the curriculum may be in Glow. This is a barren, almost unexplored area seldom visited by anyone." Many teachers have pointed out that the search will be complicated by the relatively primitive IT systems used in education, "Although it seems incredible to the average man in the street it is true that in the 21st century Scottish education relies upon relatively primitive forms of communication. We use an intranet which looks like Windows 3.1 but apparently this is all they could get for £60 million and the next one will be slightly better so that's alright then." Teachers caution that the search could take some time, "We would like to point out that this is not like searching a school containing a few dozen highly stressed and hard working teachers. Education Scotland alone appears to employ over 470,000 people. It will take some time even to determine what on Earth these people do all day. The scale of the search will be vast. For example, in modern Scotland S1 alone is thought to contain over 85,000 powerpoints on solar power." One teacher commented, "The scale of this is just unbelievable, every time we open a door we find another conference room full of people in suits who insist they are a vital part of the curriculum but can't answer any questions about it. We are currently trying to determine exactly what the aims of the secretive and shadowy organisation known as the SQA is. Our best guess at the moment is that it evolved from an organisation which once produced high quality exams into some form of charitable institution set up to prevent people having to enter classrooms and teach children. Instead the SQA provides them with a safe, welcoming environment where they can mix with other people just like themselves. The organisation also appears to run day trips where their service users are taken out into the community to insult teachers." Members of the search team refused to comment on rumours that car parks full of expensive German cars had been found near to the last known position of the curriculum. A representative would only say, "These are very early days and obviously there are a lot of rumours around. I must stress that we have not yet found anything at all that we can link to a coherent curriculum." Unnamed sources within the Scottish Government are now suggesting that Scotland's teachers are likely responsible for the disappearance of the curriculum. Verifiers have raided several schools and discovered huge stockpiles of assessment material. One commented, "The teachers invariably claim it is for personal use and they need this amount of material to assess their students. However, when we are faced with several cupboards of paperwork for something as simple as a Nat 4 and Nat 5 qualification alarm bells start to ring. Let's remember that last month a teacher was injured when a box file stuffed overly full of UASP resits exploded in his face. This has led us to conduct detailed interviews with teachers who are known to have links to Education Scotland and the SQA but even following intense interrogation none of them appear to know anything about the new National or Higher courses. Despite this I would caution the public that these are extremely determined and committed individuals. Many of them repeatedly told interrogators of their fanatical belief that the new curriculum would be delivered in time by the SQA. Others with links to Education Scotland believe there is a 'National Agreement' which means they are guaranteed to be left in peace if they produce a few random worksheets. We try to explain to them that these would not constitute 'off the shelf courses' but they are convinced that they will get away with it. Teachers and the public should realise that we are dealing with a situation we have not encountered before. Many of these people have absolutely no fear of secondment and have even volunteered for missions which require them to become curriculum development officers. The threat posed by them should not be underestimated. As time goes on we are becoming increasingly concerned that this curriculum has been hijacked by some highly untrained individuals equipped with a variety of bad ideas." The authorities have made it clear that if ordinary teachers are responsible, in some undefined and incomprehensible way, they will be shouted at and publicly criticised. In fact, this will happen no matter what. Many questions may be answered if the curriculum's "black box" can be found. However, limited progress has been made. Repeated requests for information regarding this have been met with the cryptic response that teachers should have been teaching inside it for the past ten years. Some attention has been focussed on a Mr Gillespie. Reports suggest that Mr Gillespie changed course at some point this week. One teacher said, "We now suspect that Mr Gillespie turned off his moral compass some time ago. It now seems he may have taken Scottish Education off in an entirely new direction. Our concern is that it wasn't heading anywhere in particular and the worst may now have happened. We have received no communications regarding the new curriculum for some time. However we have received statements at development days from people claiming to be senior members of the SQA. These statements say things like, 'Teach what you want and the exams will follow' or 'The curriculum has already been delivered.' It isn't clear what these statements mean. They may be a form of code or even a veiled threat. It is also repeatedly stated that 'It can be done' but it is not clear what 'it' is, how it is to be done or who is supposed to be doing it. Despite all of this, I cannot stress enough at this time that no group has claimed responsibility for this curriculum and we don't anticipate that anyone ever will." Iain H. This message was sent via the IOP SPUTNIK mailing list.
________________________________________ From: A discussion forum and information exchange for teachers of physics in Scotland [SPUTNIK@NETWORKS.IOP.ORG] On Behalf Of Ronna Montgomery [ronnamontgomery@YAHOO.CO.UK] Sent: 27 March 2014 16:11 To: SPUTNIK@NETWORKS.IOP.ORG Subject: Re: [SPUTNIK] Freedom of Speech and Offense We are the IOP Teacher Network Coordinators who are paid by IOP to support Physics Teachers in Scotland. I am the Team Leader in Scotland. One of our first acts almost twelve years ago now was to set up Sputnik. It is fully funded by the Institute of Physics. The Education Board of the IOP set standards that we must comply with. We are accountable to that Board. This is my final word on this issue. Ronna Ronna Montgomery Institute of Physics Teacher Network in Scotland 07711389303 email@example.com On 27 Mar 2014, at 09:17, Mr Wood <gw08woodmartin01@GLOW.SCH.UK > wrote: Despite the high regard I have for you Ronna I must respectfully decline the request, on several points of principle. I would like to enquire who this "we" are? As you noted in your reply they cannot be fully representative of the membership of Sputnik, therefore if this thread is to be terminated at the request of "we", then I must ask "we" to explain publicly why their wishes not only trump the wishes of other members but lead to a member of this forum being placed under significant pressure. I have made no accusations, the significance of Malaysia flight MH370 was indicated by yourself. I am simply asking for calm, rational reasons for the actions following the initial posting. Is it criticism of the SQA and other relevant authorities that is the issue? This has happened before with no repercussions. Or is it the style of the initial posting that did not match the personal taste of "we"? If this is the case then "we" have some work to do, to explain why their personal taste should override all other concerns – and I would ask "we" to do me, and other members the courtesy of doing so in public, rather than remaining publicly silent and conducting their business in the background. This is either a forum where adult professionals can raise concerns openly, or a forum where individuals postings must pass scrutiny of the personal tastes of certain individuals? If the latter is true then these individuals are required to explain their tastes to the rest of us to avoid future repetitions. Martin Martin Wood Principal Teacher of Physics/Science Clydebank High School Janetta Street Clydebank G81 3EJ 0141 533 3000 firstname.lastname@example.org “This message may require to be disclosed by the Council under the provisions of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.” ________________________________ From: A discussion forum and information exchange for teachers of physics in Scotland <SPUTNIK@NETWORKS.IOP.ORG > on behalf of Ronna Montgomery <ronnamontgomery@YAHOO.CO.UK > Sent: 26 March 2014 15:09 To: SPUTNIK@NETWORKS.IOP.ORG Subject: Re: [SPUTNIK] Freedom of Speech and Offense Martin I think we have had enough of this thread No one has made any accusations about anyone else. From my own personal emails, I am aware of a whole range of emotions and thoughts. It is not helpful to air these here and we will absolutely not get a full representation if we do. So can I ask that we stop this thread now and by all means continue any dialogue you wish elsewhere. Ronna Ronna Montgomery Institute of Physics Teacher Network in Scotland 07711389303 email@example.com On 26 Mar 2014, at 14:45, Mr Wood <gw08woodmartin01@GLOW.SCH.UK > wrote: Just recently I have had cause to wonder the century I live in. I tend to have this funny notion of how rational discourse is conducted .It’s an idea I picked up some time ago – its called “freedom of speech”. It’s a peculiar idea that entails many unforeseen side effects such as: a progressive society, freedom of religious and sexual identity, tolerance and diversity to name a few. It seems to be a driving force behind the evolution of a fair, open and eventually less confrontational civilisation – mainly because no one particular group is disenfranchised and feels the need to resort to more direct methods. It also breeds honesty as everyone is free to speak their mind and everyone knows where they stand – doesn’t particularly sound like a bad thing...but I may be wrong. Unfortunately it also has another side effect....every so often you hear something that makes you a little uncomfortable and maybe ....offended. This now appears to be a VERY BAD THING that you SHOULDN’T DO. I find this more than a little disappointing, uncomfortable even, possibly offensive? History is littered with people that caused offence and had they been censored and censured for expressing themselves we would be living in a very different society – not a particularly good one. It boils down to what has to be cherished more – freedom of speech or the avoidance of making people uncomfortable or offended. On the one hand if freedom of speech is paramount then we all benefit from the side effects, regardless of whether or not smaller subsections of society find it offends there particular world view. If avoidance of offence becomes paramount then we will have to limit actions and words that will cause a small subset of the group to be temporarily unsettled at any given time. As we all find different things unsettling, inevitably that will mean, eventually, all discourse will be circumscribed. Conversation will consist of groups exerting their right not to be offended over the smallest detail - “truth” will not matter. I don’t find this alternative in any way attractive. It may be just me but offering offence as a method to limit freedom of speech is wasteful and ultimately futile. Particularly when referenced to works of satire, where serious points can be made in a way that amuses, whilst engendering a level of discomfort. I realise it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but life would be one dimensional if we only took actions that caused no one to be disturbed. The question I really want to ask though is this. Does any member of sputnik think that a member of our group wrote what he did as a deliberate act to denigrate, mock or minimise the casualties of Malasia flight MH370? I invite anyone who does to discuss it freely and openly. Martin Martin Wood Principal Teacher of Physics/Science Clydebank High School Janetta Street Clydebank G81 3EJ 0141 533 3000 firstname.lastname@example.org This message was sent via the IOP SPUTNIK mailing list.From: A discussion forum and information exchange for teachers of physics in Scotland [SPUTNIK@NETWORKS.IOP.ORG] On Behalf Of Mr Wood [gw08woodmartin01@GLOW.SCH.UK] Sent: 28 March 2014 10:13 To: SPUTNIK@NETWORKS.IOP.ORG Subject: [SPUTNIK] Bye It's time to take my leave and bow out with as much grace as my ginger middle aged spread will allow. Its been a hoot and I've gained a lot from the generosity of the members of sputnik. I hope things I've given back on means I've paid my dues. To tell you the truth, for the past couple of years I've only been in it for the craic, and unsurprisingly it's been a bit thin on the ground recently. It's never really been the same since PDB was given his P45. To the ray of sunshine in the north – enjoy le shuttle. Ronna – this was never personal nor an attempt to make your job harder. I just needed the rules of engagement clarified. I hope we can still share a friendly conversation next time we meet. To the "plaintiffs" in the case of "offended vs Houston". Racism, homophobia, sexism etc are truly "offensive" as they are abusive behaviours, and worthy of getting collective undergarments in a twist. "The post that shall not be named" was neither of these. To cry offense at it is to minimise true "offensiveness" and does a fellow professional a grave disservice. One that I find I cannot be silent about, nor, in silence be complicit with. I would be ashamed of myself if I did. Which is surprising as I wasn't aware I had any principles left and my standards are set accordingly low. Anyway, the line in the sand has been drawn. I was always a kid who played football on the grass and touched wet paint and I find the rent here a little too high for my taste now. I am under no illusion that this will make the blindest bit of difference nor that I will be missed so I will avail myself of the treasures of Pixie Hollow (if the Pixies will have me) and retire to a quieter life with less inbox clutter. If anyone need to contact me my email is at the bottom and I hear a vague rumour Pixie hollow has a forum which I hope, with permission to avail myself of. Iain – should you produce another masterpiece – please send it my way – I could use a laugh. One last thing... (wet paint). If anyone has been offended by anything I have said – it was never intended..... If that's not enough....might I suggest you build a bridge All the best Martin Martin Wood Principal Teacher of Physics/Science Clydebank High School Janetta Street Clydebank G81 3EJ 0141 533 3000 email@example.com