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Personal support and excellence : parallel lines?

McLaren, David J. (2010) Personal support and excellence : parallel lines? Scottish Educational Review, 42 (1). pp. 37-47. ISSN 0141-9072

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Despite the laudable aims and intentions of the Curriculum for Excellence, there is continuing uncertainty as to the role and function of Personal Support which has been effectively marginalised. Rather than emphasising its crucial role in underpinning and driving the four capacities, the Curriculum for Excellence currently seems ill at ease with Personal Support and its place in the new framework and there is a lack of any clear vision in terms of philosophy and structure. It is argued here that this policy vacuum and lack of direction is an inevitable result of three parallel and unconnected ‘approaches’ or ways of thinking which might be characterised thus: -the ‘Standards’ approach, based on the recent National Review of Guidance -the ‘Curriculum-building’ approach, based on a recent series of curricular policy documents produced by the Scottish Government -the ‘Excellence’ approach, based on documentation produced by HM Inspectorate of Education The paper will further argue that there is a pressing need for clarity of vision and of purpose.