What is The Curriculum for Excellence?

The Curriculum For Excellence has been developed in Scotland to help young people and children to obtain the attributes, skills and knowledge necessary to equip them for life today. These include the essential skills for work, life and learning. The purpose of the Curriculum for Excellence is to help young people to become confident as individuals, successful as learners, responsible citizens and also effective contributors to society as a whole.

What Does The Curriculum Include?

The Curriculum for Excellence has been designed to improve and transform Scotland’s education system by supplying the nation’s children with a more enriched, flexible and coherent curriculum from the age of 3 right up to the age of 18. When the term “curriculum” is used in this context it means everything which is planned for young people and children through the entirety of their education and not solely what they are taught inside the classroom.

There are four “contexts for learning” which are included in the Curriculum for Excellence. These include:

  • Curriculum subjects and areas
  • The life and ethos of the school
  • Interdisciplinary learning opportunities
  • Opportunities for personal achievement

The Stages And Levels Of The Curriculum

There are two stages of the Curriculum for Excellence:

  • Broad General Education – this is from the age of 3 up to the end of S3
  • Senior Phase – this is from S4 up to S6

The broad general education phase encompasses five levels which are:

  • Early
  • 1st
  • 2nd
  • 3rd
  • 4th

Meanwhile, the Senior phase is designed to build further on the outcomes and experiences obtained during the child’s broad general education phase, and to enable young people to take courses and qualifications which best suit their interests and abilities.

Areas Of The Curriculum

There are currently 8 areas covered under the Curriculum for Excellence:

  • Well-being and health
  • Languages (English, modern languages, Gaidhlig and Gaelic learners)
  • Expressive arts
  • Mathematics
  • Sciences
  • Technologies
  • Social Studies
  • Moral and religious education

Numeracy, health and well-being and literacy are all recognised to be especially important and are the responsibility of every member of staff, regardless of their specialist subject.

The Principles Of The Curriculum’s Design

When practitioners are planning the children’s learning, they must take into account these 7 broad principles:

  • Enjoyment and challenge
  • Progression
  • Breadth
  • Depth
  • Coherence
  • Choice and personalisation
  • Relevance

What Does The Curriculum For Excellence Involve?

The CfE has been developed over the course of several years by working with parents, teachers, the business community and the wider education community. With extra emphasis being placed on skill development, the encouragement of personal achievement and inter-disciplinary learning, the new National Qualifications which are now available in Scottish schools have been designed to offer young people greater flexibility with a renewed focus on skill development and the application of their learning in real-life situations.

The previous Access, Standard Grade and Intermediate qualifications have been replaced by National Qualifications 1-5 and the Advanced Higher and Higher qualifications have also seen revision in order to guarantee that the Curriculum for Excellence has been fully reflected.

Schools have also been given greater flexibility to design the curriculum for their Senior Phase pupils, and a variety of approaches are now being adopted in schools across Scotland which are aimed at accommodating the specific requirements of learners in their own distinct area. All of Scotland’s higher education institutions gave now published statements which set out the way in which their admission policy responds to the Curriculum for Excellence.

Carers and parents are now recognised as key partners in children’s education, and their vital role is now being acknowledged in supporting the choices and learning of their child as well as their chances in life. The government in Scotland has also recognised that parents require access to high quality and easily obtaining information about the education of their child, and they are now encouraged to become involved in school bodies such as the parent council or PTA, and also to familiarise themselves with the school handbook.

The Current Areas On Which Scottish Educational Policies Are Focusing On

Scottish Ministers have defined the specific areas of children’s learning journeys which represent additional scope for further development. Current topics in the curriculum where development programmes and policy initiatives are being put in place include:

  • Foreign languages
  • Scots and Gaelic languages
  • Instrument music
  • Numeracy and literacy
  • Learning for Sustainability
  • STEM subjects (Science, technology, engineering and mathematics)
  • Religious observance

The Curriculum for Excellence is designed to take Scotland’s education system into the 21st century and to help raise future generations of skilled and independent learners who can take responsibility for their own education and maximise their potential.