Curriculum for Excellence

Curriculum 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

·         Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA)

Curriculum for Excellence is about the best learning and teaching, how progress is assessed, and new qualifications. It has already been implemented in schools and nurseries in Falkirk Council. For an animated guide to Curriculum for Excellence in Falkirk, please click the following link:

The following leaflet has been produced to help parents better understand how their children will benefit from changes under Curriculum for Excellence as the new qualifications are introduced.

This information has been closely developed with the National Parent Forum of Scotland (NPFS) and will be sent to all parents of school children across Scotland. It covers information on Curriculum for Excellence, the key benefits for young people and examples of the different routes pupils can take throughout their education from age 3-18.

Bringing learning to life and life to learning

Curriculum for Excellence has now been introduced across Scotland for all 3-18 year olds – wherever they learn. It aims to raise standards, prepare our children for a future they do not yet know and equip them for jobs of tomorrow in a fast changing world. Curriculum for Excellence will be fully implemented by 2016.

Glow, Scotland’s unique, world leading, online network supports learners and teachers and plans are already in place for parents across the country to have access to Glow. Parents should ask the school how to arrange access to Glow and a user name and password will be issued.

Teachers and practitioners will share information to plan a child’s ‘learning journey’ from 3-18, helping their progression from nursery to primary, primary to secondary and beyond, ensuring each transition is smooth. They’ll ensure children continue to work at a pace they can cope with and with challenge they can thrive on.

Curriculum for Excellence balances the importance of knowledge and skills.
Every child is entitled to a broad general education, whatever their level and ability. Every single teacher and practitioner will be responsible for the development of literacy and numeracy and health and wellbeing from Early Level through to Senior Phase.

It develops skills for learning, life and work, bringing real life into the classroom, making learning relevant and helping young people apply lessons to their life beyond the classroom. It links knowledge in one subject area to another helping make connections in their learning. It develops skills which can enable children to think for themselves, make sound judgements, challenge, enquire and find solutions.

There will be new ways of assessing progress and ensuring children achieve their potential. New qualifications at National 4 and 5 will be available from 2013/14. Our well regarded New Highers 2014-15 and New Highers 2015-16, Highers and Advanced Highers will be updated to take account of and support the new approaches to learning and teaching.

There is an entitlement to personal support to help young people fulfil their potential and make the most of their opportunities with additional support wherever that’s needed. There will be a new emphasis by all staff on looking after our children’s health and wellbeing – to ensure that the school is a place where children feel safe and secure.

Ultimately, Curriculum for Excellence aims to improve our children’s life chances, to nurture successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors, and responsible citizens, building on Scotland’s reputation for great education.

In Westquarter we know that literacy is the key to success in the future, therefore we allow more time for this area to be fully developed with active learning playing a very important part.
We know that if a child cannot talk about their experiences then they cannot write about them, therefore in the early years we put more emphasis on talking and listening. We applied for additional funding to support the development of the spoken language and were successful in getting money to support our work with speech and Language therapists. Through partnership working we believe that we can improve attainment and make a difference.
Numeracy and Mathematics is also important and our results in his area have been steadily improving. We are innovative in our approach ensuring that children have basic numeracy facts at their fingertips. We encourage numeracy to be developed in contexts thus showing children necessary skills for life and the importance of learning.

If you would like to help your child with literacy and numeracy skills please access your child’s class blog at
Each child from Nursery to Primary 7 takes part in an enterprise project at least once a year. We encourage an enterprising attitude in all areas and seek to make children as independent and responsible as possible.

Good Health and Wellbeing is crucial for development. Parents are encouraged to join in our healthy walks in the local area which take place regularly celebrating each season and the changing effect on the environment. We are very lucky to have Westquarter Glen to the rear of the school and we are increasing our use of this excellent resource on our doorstep as an outdoor classroom.
In addition we have created a home economics room to help support us teach food preparation and reinforce the message of how important it is to eat healthily.

We have revised Learning to Achieve – our core educational policy. Learning to Achieve describes in detail how Curriculum for Excellence will be delivered in our educational establishments. We will use Learning to Achieve to monitor, develop and improve outcomes for children and young people.

In delivering a Curriculum for Excellence we use interdisciplinary learning as the basis of curriculum design. We deliver the experiences and outcomes through this where possible. Children really like this approach and we have found that there is more opportunity for deeper learning. There are some areas of the curriculum where we study discreet subjects. Teachers will use their professional judgement when planning to ensure that there is time to study these topics in depth. In addition we recognise that outside agencies can support us in delivering the curriculum so we invite them into school, usually rotating their visits over a two to three year period eg planetarium visit, ecology workshops and zoolab sessions.

We have planned contexts which we feel are important for children to study however we also ensure that we consult with children and ask them what they want to learn. This is started in the Nursery and we continue through to Primary 7.

In Westquarter we emphasise the important of outdoor learning and all teachers take their child to our outdoor classroom each week.

We know that we need to ensure that all of our children have a wide variety of educational experiences. What do we mean by this? One example of this is if children have not visited a museum it is difficult for them to imagine this and use appropriate vocabulary. We value the support of our Parent Council in supporting this to keep the cost of such visits affordable for our families. If funding is given to pay for the buses for these outings this means that the cost to parent/carers is kept down.

Each year our Primary 7 children take part in a residential experience spending one week at Dalguise in Perthshire. This is part of a cluster initiative and is very successful part of the transition programme. Children have a great time. Over the week they are challenged in many different ways. For some children the challenge is climbing to the top of the highest tree whereas for others this is their first time away from home. Many life skills are developed on this trip and here the children make friends with children they will meet at secondary school.

For a fuller picture of life in a classroom please visit our website and access the class blogs section. You can read stories here, watch videos and get a fuller picture of life in Westquarter Primary.
You are also directed to sites where a parent can find out more about the school’s curriculum at local and national level.

Active Learning
Curriculum for Excellence emphasises the value of an active learning approach. Active learning is engagement of the brain whilst participating in learning opportunities. In the early years, children will have a range of learning experiences that include planned and purposeful play and stimulating learning which engages and challenges children’s thinking using real life and imaginary situations. As children progress through school they continue to be involved in active learning experiences which give them ownership of their own learning, encourage co-operative working and utilise skills required for learning, life and work.

Planning Children’s and Young People’s Learning
Teachers in nursery, primary and secondary schools share their learning intentions with pupils, parents and carers. This takes place on a day-to-day basis, by agreeing the aims of an individual piece of work.

Longer-term planning also takes place in a variety of forms. Pupils in primary schools negotiate with their teachers their aims for the next block of learning. At the end of the block progress against these aims is assessed by the teacher and pupil, and new targets are set for the following block of learning.

In secondary schools, pupils periodically review progress against targets and negotiate new ones with their pastoral teacher.

In order to encourage pupils to take responsibility for their learning, a growing number of primary schools use Learning Logs in which pupils plan their programme for completing homework assessments. In secondary schools, homework diaries serve a similar purpose. These diaries are also used for pupils to record their long-term targets.

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