What is a school curriculum?
A school curriculum describes what children and young people do in school. In pre-school classes the curriculum promotes children’s emotional, personal and social development as well as encouraging intellectual, physical and creative skills through play activities and learning by example. The primary school curriculum includes the areas which develop children’s basic skills such as mathematics, language, expressive arts, environmental studies, religious/moral education and personal and social development. Then, in secondary schools, the curriculum involves the subject areas, such as geography, history, languages, etc, and the courses which lead to assessment and qualifications.
This is the way education has been defined for many years, with little variation. As times change education needs to change too, to prepare children and young people for future life and work.
A Curriculum for Excellence takes a new and different approach …
- Through A Curriculum for Excellence, young people will be given the best possible chance to realise their potential for a successful future.
- Excellence in education means putting the child first and equipping every young person with the knowledge and skills most suited to their particular talents and aspirations.
- A strong emphasis will be placed on literacy, numeracy, citizenship, health and well-being and the essential skills for life and work.
A Curriculum for Excellence asks: ‘What is education for?’
The Scottish Executive set up a group to review the curriculum in 2003, its task was to identify the purposes of education for children from the age of 3 to 18, and some general principles which would help to create a curriculum to achieve those purposes.
The purposes of education are to enable all young people to become:
successful learners confident individuals
responsible citizens effective contributors
For full details on the four purposes of education, please visit:
What will this mean for schools and other educational establishments?
They will need to consider all that they do and how it enables children and young people to become successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors. This includes looking at learning and teaching activities, day-to-day experiences, events and celebrations.
What is happening now?
- The present curriculum is being reviewed to make sure that is it up-to-date, challenging, enjoyable and relevant. Opportunities for choice are being considered to allow a range of choices from play activities, through to programmes which allow greater depth of study
- Educators and schools are looking at what they are doing now and how that fits in with the four purposes.
- New ‘Skills for work’ courses are being developed and introduced.
When will the changes take place?
Next year (2006-07) will be when implementation begins and there will be training and support for teachers as they work on making changes.
How can I get involved as a parent?
Ø You might like to discuss the information in this leaflet with your child’s school or pre-school centre.
Ø If you want to find out more about A Curriculum for Excellence there is a website with more detail and up to date information on developments. It can be found at www.acurriculumforexcellencescotland.gov.uk or visit parentzone at www.parentzonescotland.gov.uk