What is Curriculum for Excellence?
Visitors to this page should now refer to the refreshed narrative on Scotland’s Curriculum published on 9 September 2019. Education Scotland will review and update the contents of this page to align with the refreshed narrative.
Curriculum for Excellence is intended to help children and young people gain the knowledge, skills and attributes needed for life in the 21st century, including skills for learning, life and work.
Its purpose is often summed up as helping children and young people to become:
- Successful learners
- Confident individuals
- Responsible citizens
- Effective contributors.
These are referred to as the four capacities.
What is the curriculum and what does it include?
Curriculum for Excellence is designed to achieve a transformation in education in Scotland by providing a coherent, more flexible and enriched curriculum from 3 to 18. The term curriculum is understood to mean - everything that is planned for children and young people throughout their education, not just what happens in the classroom.
Curriculum for Excellence includes four contexts for learning:
- Curriculum areas and subjects
- Interdisciplinary learning
- Ethos and life of the school
- Opportunities for personal achievement.
Curriculum levels and stages
The broad general education has five levels (early, first, second, third and fourth). The senior phase is designed to build on the experiences and outcomes of the broad general education, and to allow young people to take qualifications and courses that suit their abilities and interests.
There are eight curriculum areas:
- Expressive arts
- Health and wellbeing
- Languages (including English, Gaidhlig, Gaelic learners and modern languages)
- Religious and moral education
- Social studies
Literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing are recognised as being particularly important – these areas are seen as being the ‘responsibility of all’ staff.
Principles of curriculum design
There are seven broad principles that practitioners should take into consideration when planning children’s learning:
- Challenge and enjoyment
- Personalisation and choice
Benchmarks – The Curriculum for Excellence Benchmarks set out clear statements about what learners need to know and be able to do to achieve a level across all curriculum areas.
Experiences and outcomes (often called Es+Os) are a set of clear and concise statements about children's learning and progression in each curriculum area. They are used to help plan learning and to assess progress.
Principles and practice - The principles and practice documents are essential reading for practitioners as they begin, and then develop, their work with the statements of experiences and outcomes.
Building the Curriculum - The 'Building the Curriculum' document series provides advice, guidance and policy for different aspects of Curriculum for Excellence including: the curriculum areas assessment; and developing skills for learning, life and work.
CfE Briefings - A series of briefings designed to provide practitioners with information and advice to support their implementation of Curriculum for Excellence.
Curriculum for Excellence: A Statement for Practitioners from HM Chief Inspector of Education (Aug 2016) - This Statement is part of the streamlined guidance and support produced as a result of the 2015 OECD report.