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Curriculum for Excellence aims to achieve a transformation in education in Scotland by providing a coherent, more flexible and enriched curriculum from 3 to 18.

The curriculum includes the totality of experiences which are planned for children and young people through their education, wherever they are being educated.

Learning Thouhout Life

Supporting Learning throughout our lives

Learning begins at birth and continues throughout our lives. Scottish Government education strategy, and the curriculum frameworks that deliver it, recognise that learning is lifelong, and are designed to help learners develop the skills they need for learning, life and work.

Here, we introduce the pre-birth to three framework, 3-18 curriculum, and the national guidance and frameworks which support adult learning and community learning and development, which together form the curriculum in Scotland.

Understanding the curriculum as a whole

The 3-18 curriculum aims to ensure that all children and young people in Scotland develop the attributes, knowledge and skills they will need to flourish in life, learning and work.

The knowledge, skills and attributes learners will develop will allow them to demonstrate four key capacities – to be successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors

Developing skills and attributes

It aims to develop four capacities, helping children to become:

  • Successful learners
  • Confident individuals
  • Responsible citizens
  • Effective contributors

Find out more about the four capacities.

The totality of experiences

The curriculum includes all of the experiences which are planned for children and young people through their education, wherever they are being educated. These experiences are grouped into four categories.

  • Curriculum areas and subjects 
    The curriculum areas are the organisers for setting out the experiences and outcomes. Each area contributes to the four capacities.
  • Interdisciplinary learning 
    How the curriculum should include space for learning beyond subject boundaries.
  • Ethos and life of the school 
    The starting point for learning is a positive ethos and climate of respect and trust based upon shared values across the school community.
  • Opportunities for personal achievement 
    Pupils need opportunities for achievements both in the classroom and beyond, giving them a sense of satisfaction and building motivation, resilience and confidence.

Added to this, because children learn through all of their experiences - in the family and community, pre-school centre, nursery and school - the curriculum aims to recognise and complement the contributions that these experiences can make. Find out more about the structure of the curriculum.

Planning learning experiences and positive outcomes

The experiences and outcomes are an essential component of Scotland’s new curriculum and apply wherever learning is planned. They signpost progression in learning and set challenging standards that will equip young people to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

The title 'experiences and outcomes' recognises the importance of the quality and nature of the learning experience in developing attributes and capabilities and in achieving active engagement, motivation and depth of learning. An outcomerepresents what is to be achieved.

The experiences and outcomes are used both to assess progress in learning and to plan next steps.

The purpose of the curriculum

The four capacities

The purpose of the curriculum is encapsulated in the four capacities - to enable each child or young person to be a successful learner, a confident individual, a responsible citizen and an effective contributor.

The curriculum aims to ensure that all children and young people in Scotland develop the knowledge, skills and attributes they will need if they are to flourish in life, learning and work, now and in the future. The attributes and capabilities of the four capacities are outlined below:

The attributes and capabilities can be used by establishments as a guide to check whether the curriculum for any individual child or young person sufficiently reflects the purposes of the curriculum.

Developing the four capacities

The experiences and outcomes are a set of statements which describe the expectations for learning and progression for each of the eight curriculum areas.

The title ‘experiences and outcomes’ recognises the importance of the quality and nature of the learning experience in developing attributes and capabilities and in achieving active engagement, motivation and depth of learning. An outcomerepresents what is to be achieved.

The experiences and outcomes for each curriculum area build in all the attributes and capabilities and so develop the four capacities.

Progression from the Broad General Education to the Senior Phase

This briefing provides advice for practitioners and can also be used to inform partners, learners and their parents in taking forward Curriculum for Excellence. This latest addition to the series explores the pivotal role of the S3 experience. It builds on the information in CfE Briefing 1: Broad General Education in the secondary school.

Broad General Education in secondary schools

Curriculum for Excellence Briefing 1 aims to provide practitioners with information and advice to support their implementation of Curriculum for Excellence.

This Briefing raises some key issues which secondary schools should be considering as they plan to develop their provision for the broad general education at the S1 to S3 stages.

Assessing progress and achievement in the 3-15 broad general education

This briefing aims to provide practitioners with information and advice to support their implementation of Curriculum for Excellence.

The briefing looks at assessing progress and achievement in the 3-15 broad general education.

Profiling and the S3 Profile

The latest Curriculum for Excellence Briefing takes an in depth look at profiling.

Interdisciplinary learning

Interdisciplinary learning is a planned approach to learning which uses links across different subjects or disciplines to enhance learning.

This Curriculum for Excellence briefing explores interdisciplinary learning, how it can be planned and how you can take it forward.

Personalised Learning

This briefing explores the practical implications for staff, learners and parents of personalised learning which resumes a degree of choice and a stronger role for the learner in making decisions.