What is the Curriculum for Excellence?

What is the Curriculum for Excellence?

Also known as the 3-18 curriculum, it aims to ensure that all children and young people will develop the attributes, knowledge and skills needed to flourish in life, learning and work. The Curriculum for Excellence intends to foster four capacities, helping children to become successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors.

Compared to previous curriculums, the framework for the Curriculum for Excellence is less detailed and prescriptive, offering professional space for teachers to use in order to meet the varied needs of children. Instead of traditional objectives and activities, learning and teaching encompasses levels of ‘experiences and outcomes’.

Experiences and outcomes

‘Experiences and outcomes’ recognises the importance in developing attributes and capabilities and in achieving active engagement, motivation and depth of learning for children. These experiences and outcomes are set out in lines of development which describe progress in learning. Progression is indicated through the following curriculum levels:

  1. Early level: Nursery and Primary 1 (P1)
  2. 1st level: Primary 2-4 (P2, P3, P4)
  3. 2nd level: Primary 5-7 (P5, P6, P7)
  4. 3rd/4th level: First year – Third year (S1, S2, S3)
  5. Senior phase: Fourth year – Sixth year (S4, S5, S6)

This broad general education takes place from the early years to the end of S3. None of the stages have ceilings, enabling staff to extend the development of skills, attributes, knowledge and understanding.Once pupils have met the experiences and outcomes at one level they are considered ready to move on to more challenging areas and higher levels of performance. Progress is communicated to parents in the familiar way of report cards and parents’ evenings.

Curriculum areas

The curriculum is structured into the follow areas, each with their own experiences and outcomes, and appropriate development at each stage. Teachers will look at a mix of written tests, artworks, projects, performances and presentations and check these against the experiences and outcomes.

Expressive arts – Enables children and young people to enhance their creative talent and develop social skills.

Religious and moral education – Enables children and young people to explore the world’s major religions and views, independent of the religious beliefs of teachers and the children themselves. To build connections between themes and learning in religious and moral education and other areas of the curriculum.

Health and wellbeing – Ensures that children and young people develop the knowledge and understanding they need for mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.

Sciences – Enables children and young people to develop their interest in and understanding of the living, material and physical world.

Languages – The part of the curriculum has several sub sections: classical languages, Gaelic (learners), literacy and English, literacy and Gaelic and modern languages. It should enable children and young people to develop an awareness of classical culture and heritage, develop a deeper understanding of the Gaelic language, to understand the personal, social and economic importance of language and literacy and to use modern languages to connect with different people and their cultures.

Social studies – To enable children and young people to develop their understanding of the world by learning about other people and their values. To learn about human achievement and changes in society, of conflicts and of environmental issues.

Mathematics – To enable children and young people to model real-life situations and make connections and informed opinions. To develop logical reasoning, analysis and problem-solving skills and think in abstract ways.

Technologies – To develop technological skills, knowledge, understanding and attributes through creative, practical and work-relative activities, as applied to business, computer science, food, textiles, craft, design, engineering, graphics and applied technologies.

Take a look at our education books page to find workbooks and revision guides to provide further support for you and your child through the Curriculum for Excellence, so it couldn’t be easier to find the approach that works best for you.

Look out for further blog posts in our series to help get ready for back to school, and join in on our discussions on facebook and twitter to swap tips and tricks and advice on keeping up with your little ones.

Will your child be learning as part of the Curriculum for Excellence next year? Tell us how you’re preparing for back to school in the comments box below.