IN response to recent statements from the Parent Council of Our Lady and St Patrick's High School, the head teachers of West Dunbartonshire's other four secondary schools, with the council's support, would like to set the record straight regarding the Curriculum for Excellence Senior Phase. Preparations for the start of the Senior Phase have been ongoing in West Dunbartonshire schools for a number of years in readiness for the implementation of the new National Examinations in Session 2013/2014.

All secondary schools have regularly consulted staff, parents and pupils on possible future structures and models. West Dunbartonshire's planning process has been guided by national advice.

Since 2010 all the head teachers in West Dunbartonshire have been involved in discussions and planning, and schools were encouraged to develop models based on local need, but within authority parameters.

A number of conferences were organised by the council's education department, bringing speakers from organisations from across Scotland to provide advice to schools on how to proceed.

Within the schools, the key driver has been to improve the outcomes for all young people in relation to achievement and academic success.

With regard to the Higher examinations, which are the most important qualifications in terms of access to university, research has shown that many young people benefit from a longer period of study prior to the Higher examinations, rather than the 'two-term dash' of the present system. The selected model allows some young people to study up to six Highers in the one session as opposed to the old system where they could only study a maximum of five Highers.

Some pupils will be able, in time, to prepare for Higher examinations over two years, therefore removing the 'two term dash'. Young people studying at the National 4 level will be able to attain a larger number of qualifications including an enhanced vocational provision. We believe that West Dunbartonshire's plans reflect the direction advised by National Policy and the principles of Curriculum for Excellence. Many years of planning have gone into these developments, to ensure that all young people within West Dunbartonshire are provided with the best possible education.

We are very concerned that one Parent Council has chosen to misinform other parents about these developments.

Jacqui Lynam, head teacher of Dumbarton Academy Catriona Robertson, Head Teacher of Vale of Leven Academy Stewart Young, head teacher at Clydebank High School Michael Vassie, head teacher at St Peter the Apostle High School