Curriculum for Excellence

Curriculum for ExcellenceCurriculum for Excellence is the new name for the education system in Scotland, covering nurseries, schools, colleges and community learning. It covers the whole 'learning journey' from 3 to 18, and in some cases, beyond. Curriculum for Excellence is about raising standards, improving knowledge and developing skills. It has been developed over time with the input of teachers, employers, academics, the Scottish Government, Education Scotland (formerly LTS), Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) and Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education (HMIe). It’s already being implemented in schools across Scotland.

The structure of the Curriculum
The curriculum is structured around all the experiences that are planned as part of learning and teaching. This includes the curriculum areas and subjects, the school community and interdisciplinary projects. By recognising and planning learning around different contexts and experiences, the curriculum aims to make better connections across learning.

What are experiences and outcomes?
The title ‘experiences and outcomes’ recognises the importance of the quality and nature of the learning experience in developing attributes and capabilities and in achieving active engagement, motivation and depth of learning. An outcome represents what is to be achieved.The experiences and outcomes are set out in lines of development which describe progress in learning. They are organised into the eight curriculum areas:
• Expressive arts
• Health and wellbeing
• Languages
• Mathematics
• Religious education
• Sciences
• Social studies
• Technologies

Curriculum Levels
Level          Stage
           The pre-school years and P1 or later for some
First            To the end ofP4, but earlier or later for some
Second      To the end of P7, but earlier or later for some
Third and   S1 to S3, but earlier for some
Fourth         The fourth level broadly equates to SCQF Level 4
Senior         S4 – S6 and college or other means
Phase         of study

Changes to Qualifications
Scotland’s qualifications system is changing to meet the needs of learners in the 21st century and to reflect Curriculum for Excellence where children will be learning across different subject areas from the age of 3 to 18.
The idea behind the new qualifications is not to sweep away everything from the old system, but to build on the strengths of the existing system. These changes will help all children gain both knowledge and skills for learning, life and work by the time they leave school.

What is changing?
National 4 and 5 qualifications – to replace Standard Grade and Intermediate qualifications in the current system from 2013/14

Formal recognition of Literacy and Numeracy through the new qualifications system – as Units within English and Mathematics courses and as a stand-alone option.

The current qualifications at Access, Higher and Advanced Higher level will remain but they will be reviewed to ensure that they reflect the ideas behind Curriculum for Excellence.

When will these changes happen?
The National 4 & 5 qualifications and Literacy and Numeracy Units will be introduced in 2013/2014. This means that children who were in Primary 7 in the 2009/10 school year will be the first ones to take the new national qualifications.

Developing the new qualifications
The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) is developing the new national qualifications. Work on the new qualifications is still at a high-level stage. As the detail about what the new qualifications will mean for candidates develops, SQA will speak directly to parents and employers to give them the information they need.

More information on a Curriculum for Excellence can be viewed on the Learning and Teaching Scotland website:

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