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Curriculum for Excellence

What is Curriculum for excellence?

Curriculum for Excellence is about bringing learning to life and life to learning for all 3-18 year olds.

It recognises that learning takes place both in and outside school. It aims to raise standards, improve knowledge and develop skills, closing the gap between the lowest and highest performers.

It aims to nurture children and young people to become successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors.

Subjects and Knowledge

Curriculum for Excellence brings real life into the classroom whilst keeping a strong focus on the subjects and knowledge involved.

There are eight areas to the curriculum.

Expressive arts

The inspiration and power of the arts play a vital role in enabling children and young people to enhance their creative talents and develop their artistic skills.

Religious and moral education

Religious and moral education includes learning about Christianity, Islam and other world religions, and supports the development of beliefs and values.

Health and wellbeing

Learning in health and wellbeing ensures that children and young people develop the knowledge, understanding and skills which they need now and in the future.


Science and its practical application in healthcare and industry is central to our economic future, for our health and well being as individuals and as a society.


The development of literacy skills plays an important part in all learning.

In addition, knowing other languages and understanding other cultures is a 21st Century skills set for children and young people as they prepare to live and work in a global society.

Social Studies

Through social studies, children and young people develop their understanding of the world by learning about other people, societies, their beliefs and values.


Mathematics equips us with the skills we need to interpret and analyse information, simplify and solve problems, assess risk and make informed decisions.


The range of subjects in technical education has changed significantly over the last two decades and now includes craft, design, engineering and graphics.

Curriculum levels

Within a National Assessment Framework five curriculum levels allow children and young people to progress towards qualifications.

The points below provide a general guide to the five curriculum levels with the progression to qualifications.

The framework is designed to be flexible to permit careful planning for those with additional support needs, including those who have a learning difficulty and those who are particularly able or talented.

  • Early: The pre-school years and P1, or later for some.
  • First: To the end of P4, but earlier or later for some.
  • Second: To the end of P7, but earlier or later for some.
  • Third and Fourth: S1 to S3, but earlier for some.
    • The fourth level broadly equates to Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework level 4.
    • The fourth level experiences and outcomes are intended to provide possibilities for choice and young people's programmes will not include all of the fourth level outcomes.
  • Senior phase: S4 to S6, and college or other means of study.

Senior Phase

Parents know that children and young people's skills, abilities and interests vary widely and they progress at their own pace.

Curriculum for Excellence is designed to cope with all these different needs and help young people develop skills and knowledge that will help them, whatever their course in later life.

What is the Senior Phase?

The senior phase is for young people aged 15 - 18.

All young people can continue to expect to gain knowledge and skills, whatever their individual needs and wherever they are learning.

Clackmannanshire schools are following national guidance and designing a senior phase that best meets learners needs, whether that's continuing in school, learning full or part time in college, community learning or work-based learning or a combination of these. For example it may be possible to pick up specialist subjects and work placements that can help young people get real experience of the industry or sector that interests them.

Each young person will, in practice, have discussions with teachers and parents and carers to discuss and decide the subject choices that best suit them for the Senior Phase.

Learners' journeys are varied. These journeys can be enhanced and skills, knowledge, experience and confidence can be improved by getting involved in school events - concerts, fundraising, enterprising projects, volunteering, buddying schemes and clubs.

There are many possibilities of how a Senior Phase might look in a school. Clackmannanshire secondary schools have produced curriculum models for S1-S3 and are making preparations for the Senior Phase.

All young people receive a broad general education to S3 and the chance to specialise and take qualifications from S4 - The Senior Phase.

Young people approaching the senior phase will have a range of options, including staying on at school, going to college or university, entering work-based learning or community-based learning, volunteering or a combination of these.

These options all offer the chance to study for qualifications and work on the skills they need to get on in life, whatever they choose to do.

Assessment and qualifications

Assessment is about monitoring, reviewing and measuring progress.

As Curriculum for Excellence comes into place, a new framework for assessment is needed as well as new qualifications that best support and reflect children's learning. This will raise standards of achievement, improve learning experiences and develop skills for learning, life and work.


Assessment is ongoing and takes place throughout the school year allowing teachers to see what children and young people know, understand and are able to do.

Assessment covers:

  • The way teachers support and assess children's learning and monitor progress.
  • Reporting to parents - in writing and discussions to help them understand their child's progress and what parents can do to help their child's learning.
  • Formal recognition of learners' achievements through profiles and qualifications.

Curriculum for Excellence has improved Assessment in the following ways:

  • A more effective and consistent system of assessment and updated qualifications.
  • A better connected assessment system with smoother links through pre -school, primary, secondary school and college.
  • More ways of assessing progress to support learning and more flexibility to meet learners' individual needs.

Schools will provide profiles of learner achievement at key points for example P7 and S3.

More information

Contact information

Education & Schools
Kilncraigs, Greenside Street, Alloa, FK10 1EB
Tel: 01259 450000