Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence

Into the Future

image of Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence

Students in Scotland (United Kingdom) engage in learning through Curriculum for Excellence (CfE), which aims to provide them with a holistic, coherent, and future-oriented approach to learning between the ages of 3 and 18. CfE offers an inspiring and widely supported philosophy of education. Schools design their own curriculum based on a common framework which allows for effective curricular practices. In 2020, Scotland invited the OECD to assess the implementation of CfE in primary and secondary schools to understand how school curricula have been designed and implemented in recent years. This report analyses the progress made with CfE since 2015, building upon several months of observations in Scotland, the existing literature and experiences from other OECD countries. The OECD analysis and recommendations aim to support Scotland as it further enhances CfE to achieve its potential for the present and future of its learners. Just as Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence was among the pioneers of 21st century learning, its most recent developments hold valuable lessons for other education systems and their own curriculum policies.


Considerations for the future of Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence

This chapter reviews the implementation of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) and provides concrete recommendations for Scotland (United Kingdom) to consider taking on board following ten years of experience with the implementation of CfE in schools. It suggests that the next steps for CfE need to focus on students and their learning progress. This implies reviewing how CfE is consistently providing learning opportunities through the Senior Phase; clarifying ownership of CfE and regularity in responsibilities and communication; defining a stable institutionalised curriculum review process and an aligned assessment system; and gathering consistent data to monitor progress.


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