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Curriculum 4 Excellence Explained!

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TommyAtkins:
The following documentation is not of my work and that from the CFE sources.

Curriculum for Excellence (often shortened to CfE) is the
curriculum in Scotland which applies to all children and young
people age 3-18, wherever they are learning. It aims to raise
achievement for all, enabling young people to develop the
skills, knowledge and understanding they need to succeed in
learning, life and work.
This factfile explains some of the terms that are used in CfE. You
can contact your own school or nursery for more information
or go to www.LTScotland.org.uk/Parentzone. 
The Four Capacities – the curriculum aims for all
children to become:
• Successful Learners
• Confident Individuals
• Responsible Citizens
• Effective Contributors
The Seven Principles of Curriculum Design – all learning
must take account of these principles:
• Challenge and enjoyment
• Breadth
• Progression
• Depth
• Personalisation and choice
• Coherence
• Relevance
The Eight Curriculum Areas – containing a range of 
subjects:
•  Expressive Arts – including art and design, dance, drama
and music
•  Health and Wellbeing – mental, emotional, social and
physical wellbeing, PE, food and health, substance misuse
and relationships, sexual health and parenthood
•  Languages – listening and talking, reading and writing in
literacy and English and modern languages, plus classical
languages and literacy and Gàidhlig/Gaelic learners (where
available)
•  Mathematics – including analysing information, solving
problems and assessing risk
•  Religious and Moral Education (denominational and
non-denominational) – learning about Christianity, other
world religions, and developing values and beliefs
•  Sciences – understanding important scientific concepts
across planet Earth, forces, electricity and waves, biological
systems, materials and topical science
• Social Studies – understanding people, place and society
in the past and present including history, geography,
modern studies and business education
• Technologies – including computing science, food,
textiles, craft, design, engineering, graphics and applied
technologies
www.lTScotland.org.uk/commstoolkit
In addition there are three key areas which are covered by all
teachers/practitioners:
•  Literacy across learning – talking, listening, reading and
writing (including using digital communications)
• Numeracy across learning – including money, time, and
measurement
• Health and Wellbeing across learning – including making
informed choices for a healthy lifestyle
Important themes across the curriculum are creativity,
enterprise and global citizenship, which includes sustainable
development, international education and citizenship.
Experiences and Outcomes – each curriculum area is
broken down to a set of experiences and outcomes (often
referred to as the ‘Es and Os’):
• Experience – describes the learning
•  Outcome – what the learning will achieve. This is often
explained, from the pupil’s perspective, as an ‘I can’
statement.
Curriculum levels – there are national levels to describe
different stages of learning and progress. For most* children,
the expectation is:
• Early Level – pre-school to the end of P1
• First Level – to the end of P4
• Second Level – to the end of P7
•  Third and Fourth Levels – S1 to S3, with the fourth level
broadly equivalent to SCQF (see abbreviations section) 
level 4
•  Senior Phase (see Entitlements) – S4 to S6, and
equivalents in other settings, where they can continue to
develop the four capacities and achieve qualifications
*but can be earlier/later for some as applicable, depending
upon individual needs and aptitudes
Entitlements – all young people are entitled to:
•  A coherent curriculum – smooth progression through the
experiences and outcomes
•  A broad general education – the period from age 3 to the
end of S3, covering all of the experiences and outcomes
across all curriculum areas up to and including the third level,
and further experiences and outcomes at the fourth level,
chosen to provide greater specialisation and depth
•  Support – assistance to help learners access the
curriculum, for example because of short- or longer-term
needs or circumstances, and help to build resilience
•  Skills for learning, life and work – to develop
pre-vocational, enterprising and employability skills,
personal skills, high levels of cognitive skills and the
opportunity to put learning into a practical context
•  A senior phase – to prepare for qualifications and develop
skills for future learning, life and work
•  Positive destinations – to support young people to move
successfully on to work or further study
learning Differently – CfE represents a different approach
to learning in schools intended to help learners develop
skills, knowledge and understanding in more depth.
Examples of how they will learn differently are:
•  Using technologies in learning –  to find material,
communicate, create and present
•  Active learning – being actively engaged, whether mentally
or physically, using real life and imaginary situations
•  Cooperative learning – encouraging thinking and talking
together, to discuss ideas and solve problems
• Interdisciplinary learning – using links between different
areas of learning to develop, reinforce and deepen
understanding
•  Outdoor learning – making use of the outdoor
environment for learning
•  Personalisation and choice – being given choices and
being involved in planning how and what they learn. Not
‘one size fits all’ 
•  Skills – CfE emphasises the development of skills for
learning, life and work. These include higher order skills –
thinking about complex issues, problem solving, analysis
and evaluation; creativity; and critical thinking skills –
making judgements and decisions, developing arguments
and solving complex problems
Assessment is crucial to tracking progress, planning next steps,
reporting and involving parents and learners in learning. Evidence
of progress can be gathered by learners themselves, and by fellow
pupils (peers), parents, teachers and other professionals, e.g. staff
who provide youth development opportunities such as the John
Muir Award and the Duke of Edinburgh Award.
•  Self assessment – learners will be encouraged and
supported to look at and revisit their own work, to develop
a better understanding of what they have learned, and what
they need to work on
•  Peer assessment – learners will be encouraged and
supported to work together to help others assess what is
good about their work and what needs to be worked on
•  Personal learning planning – pupils, teachers and parents
will work together to develop planning for next steps in
learning
•  Profiles – a record or statement of learning and
achievements both within and outwith school, to be
introduced at P7 (2011/12) and S3 (2012/13), and possibly
at other stages at a later date. A range of formats can be
used, including ePortfolios.
Reporting informs parents of progress. This could be through
a range of approaches, such as at meetings, at parents’
evenings, in written form, ‘Learning Wall’ displays and ‘I can’
folders. Key phrases that could be used in reporting are:
o  Developing – where the learner is working to acquire
skills or knowledge
o  Consolidating – where the learner is building
competence and confidence in using the skills or
knowledge
o  Secure – where the learner is able to apply the skills
or knowledge confidently in more complex or new
situations
Qualifications – the new approaches to learning that CfE
brings requires new assessment methods and qualifications,
which are being developed by the Scottish Qualifications
Authority (SQA). SQA is working with parents, teachers,
colleges, universities, employers and the Scottish Government
to make sure national standards are maintained.
The new qualifications:
•  National 4 and National 5 – will replace General and
Credit Standard Grades and Intermediate 1 & 2 and will be
introduced in 2013/14
•  literacy and Numeracy – will be recognised as units
within English and Mathematics courses
•  Access (available in 2013/14), Higher (available in
2014/15) and Advanced Higher (available in 2015/16) –
will be revised to reflect CfE principles
For more information on development of the new National
Qualifications see www.sqa.org.uk/curriculumforexcellence.
A leaflet for parents, Qualifications are changing – A guide for
parents and carers, has been distributed to schools and can
be downloaded from the SQA website at 
http://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/46161.html.
Factfiles – you can get more detailed information in a series
of user-friendly information sheets that can be found on the
Parentzone website at www.LTScotland.org.uk/Parentzone.
Partners – CfE is not just about schools and nurseries. 
Different people can be involved and are often described
as partners, e.g. local businesses, national and community
organisations, employers, colleges, universities, training
providers, parents, Parent Councils etc.
Education Scotland – the new national organisation
responsible for leading and supporting implementation of
Curriculum for Excellence and providing guidance and support
to teachers, other learning practitioners, schools and local
authorities.
Abbreviations that you may also see or hear:
ASN – Additional Support Needs
ASL – Additional Support for Learning – 
See www.enquire.org.uk
GIRFEC – Getting it right for every child –  the Government’s
plan to improve the lives of children
MCMC – More Choices, More Chances – the Government’s
action plan to prevent young people leaving school without a
positive and sustained destination
SCQF – Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework   
www.scqf.org.uk
SQA – Scottish Qualifications Authority – www.sqa.org.uk
Further information online: 
www.enquire.org.uk Enquire – the national advice service
in Scotland for additional support for learning
www.lTScotland.org.uk/Parentzone Parentzone –
information for parents on all aspects of children’s learning
www.lTScotland.org.uk/understandingthecurriculum –
more detailed information on Curriculum for Excellence
www.sqa.org.uk/curriculumforexcellence – latest
information on the new qualifications
www.hmie.gov.uk – information on inspection and evaluation
of education provision
www.employersandyoungpeople.org – making
connections with employers to support learning
http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Education/
edandtrainingforyoungple and www.lTScotland.org.uk/
supportinglearners/choicesandchanges/16pluslearnchoi
ces/index.asp – 16+ Learning Choices programme
(learning opportunities for young people from age 16)
www.playtalkread.org – ideas to help parents of young children
www.parentingacrossscotland.org/publications/
top-ten-tips.aspx – top ten tips for parents series, including
starting primary and secondary school
Homework/learning at home
www.homeworkelephant.co.uk/teachers
www.bbc.co.uk/schools/homework
www.gridclub.com
www.channel4learning.net/apps/homeworkhigh
Have your say – if you would like to contact Education
Ministers to have your say on any aspect of Scottish education
you can do so at www.engageforeducation.org

TommyAtkins:
Why are assessment and qualifications
changing?
Now that Curriculum for Excellence is coming into
place, we need a new framework for assessment 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.   
What does assessment cover?
• The ways 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.
 
What is new?
• 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 – eg end of P7 and S3.
 
What and how will teachers assess?   
Teachers carry out ongoing assessment to see what
children know, understand and are able to do.  They
assess in a number of ways – watching pupils carry out
tasks like practical investigations; performances,
presentations and discussions; learners’ assessment of
their own work and comparisons with others; written
responses like tests; and evaluation of a final product eg
a piece of artwork, report or a project.
When will teachers assess a child’s learning?
Assessment will take place throughout the school year.
Parents are key partners in learning, and assessment
gives them a chance to be involved in understanding,
reviewing and planning next steps. Parents can discuss
any concerns or questions about their child’s learning
with the school.   
How will reporting change?
Reporting can already take the form of written reports,
children presenting their learning to parents, parents
evenings and on-going discussions.  This will continue
and parents will receive at least annual reports on their
child’s progress.  Reports will provide clear, positive and
constructive feedback about children’s learning and their
progress against national standards and expectations. 
As at present, there are no set formats for written
reports, with each Local Authority (Council) having
flexibility to develop their own, in line with national
guidance.
Assessment + Qualifications
Autumn 2010
FACT1_Layout 1  18/08/2010  12:32  Page 1
This factfile is one of a series, designed to answer questions from parents, employers, learners and others 
we consulted.  We hope it helps provide useful information about current changes in Scottish education.   These are the expected levels of progression:
Curriculum level   Stage
Early Pre-school to P1
First  P2 to end P4
Second  P5 to end P7
Third and Fourth S1-S3 (Fourth level aligns to
 National 4 qualifications)
Senior phase S4 to S6 in school, college,     
                                      workplace or community
What are profiles?
All children and young people will have their
achievements and progress formally recorded in a
‘profile’ at key points of change – eg moving from
primary to secondary.  The profile confirms how they
are doing, records their achievements and progress
against national standards and expectations, noting
any awards.  It covers all curriculum areas studied and
records achievement in literacy and numeracy.  It also
contains a learner statement – their thoughts on their
own achievements.  Profiles will be phased in over the
next three years.
How are qualifications changing?
• National 4 replaces Standard Grade General and
Intermediate 1.  It will be assessed by teachers.
• National 5 replaces Standard Grade Credit and
Intermediate 2. It will involve a final external
assessment; usually an exam plus other types of
assessment like coursework or performance.
• Access 3 replaces Standard Grade Foundation.   
• Access, Higher and Advanced Higher
qualifications all remain and will be refreshed.
All the new and refreshed qualifications will be quality
assured by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA)
to ensure standards and credibility are maintained.
What will be different?
• Young people will have access to a wider range of
qualifications and learning experiences that reflect
their abilities and aspirations.   
• There will be more flexibility, with qualifications
being taken over 1 or 2 years.   
• There will be more partnership arrangements
between schools, colleges, training providers and
local employers.
• Young people will be able to take National 4 and 5
qualifications in S4, S5 and S6 or by-pass these
and go straight to Highers if they are ready for it.
This gives more flexibility to meet the needs of
learners.
When will subject choice take place?
Children will study and be assessed for qualifications
from S4 onwards.  In S3, they will choose which
qualifications to take in the senior phase.  That doesn’t
mean that there will be no choice before then.  S1-S3
will be designed to provide a broad, general education. 
There will be scope for choices including increasing
specialisation during that time, ensuring that young
people have the right level of challenge and support.
This will provide a strong basis for moving on to study
for qualifications from S4. The subject options are
determined by the school and Local Authority.
How many qualifications can learners take?
The new qualifications will build upon learning in S3. 
That means young people could study up to eight
qualifications from S4, depending on the level of
qualification and whether they are taken over 1 or 2
years.  The precise number and range of qualifications
offered, as well as when they are undertaken, will be a
decision for schools and Local Authorities to take, in
consultation with parents and learners.
When will there be more information about new
qualifications?
The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) is
responsible for developing the new qualifications.  It is
already working on this with teachers, colleges,
universities, parents and employers.  The timeline is:
2010 – 2012   development of new qualifications
2012 – 2013   last Standard Grades
2013 – 2014   first new and revised qualifications at 
                       Access and National 4 and 5
2014 – 2015   first revised Higher qualifications
2015 – 2016   first revised Advanced Higher 
                       qualifications
Assessment + Qualifications
FACT1_Layout 1  18/08/2010  12:32  Page 2
Where can I get information or ask a question?

TommyAtkins:
What is Curriculum for Excellence?
Curriculum for Excellence is bringing learning to life in
the way education is delivered for all 3-18 year olds –
in nursery, primary, secondary, at college, workplace 
or community learning. It takes a fresh approach to
what, how and where young people learn.  It aims to
raise standards, improve knowledge and develop
skills, closing the gap between the lowest and highest
performers.  Ultimately it aims to nurture young people
as successful learners, confident individuals, effective
contributors and responsible citizens.
 
Why is change needed?
The world is changing fast. Today’s young person may
have 10-14 jobs by the time they are 38. We need to
prepare learners for jobs that don’t exist, using
technology that hasn’t been invented to solve
problems we can’t yet imagine. We aim to equip
young people with knowledge, confidence and skills,
giving them a competitive edge in a global job market.
When is it happening?
It’s already happening.  From Autumn 2010 pre-school
to S1 will be working to Curriculum for Excellence
guidance and standards. S2 and above will continue
to work primarily within the existing curriculum and
qualifications system, and will benefit from changes in
learning and teaching. The current S1s will be first to
take the new qualifications from 2013-14.
 
What will be different/better?
• Learners will experience a broad, deep, general
education to S3, with options in the senior phase to
specialise, go on to further study, improve skills and
get work experience.
• The ‘learner journey’ will be joined up from 3-18 to
avoid gaps and overlaps in learning and to make the
most of achievements outside school. 
• Learners will work at a pace that suits, with enough
challenge and support to stretch them.
• Lessons will be more engaging, inspiring and
relevant to everyday life.   
• Teachers will make connections between subjects,
helping children make sense of the world.   
• Children will learn how to learn and how to use their
learning, not just memorise information to pass tests.
This will help them adapt in an uncertain future with
the ability to think for themselves, make sound
judgements, challenge, enquire and find solutions.
• There’s more focus on knowledge and skills –
including vital skills: literacy and numeracy, which
underpin all learning and are critical in life.   
• There are changes to assessment and how progress
is reported to give learners, parents and employers
better information on potential and achievement. 
• There are new qualifications from 2013 and more
flexibility in how young people take qualifications. 
(See other factfiles: the Secondary experience and
Qualifications+Assessment.)
Background and benefits
Autumn 2010
This factfile is one of a series, designed to answer questions from parents, employers, learners and others 
we consulted.  We hope it helps provide useful information about current changes in Scottish education.   
FACT2_Layout 1  18/08/2010  12:34  Page 1What stays the same?
Curriculum for Excellence builds on the great teaching
practice that exists already.  Other things remain
constant too… the laws of physics; the rules of English
or French grammar.  Subjects will be broadly similar. 
Is there more or less choice for learners?
The whole thrust of Curriculum for Excellence is to
focus on learners’ needs, including offering
personalisation and choice.  National guidance
provides more choice in how learning is delivered. 
Management of the curriculum to provide choices is for
schools to determine.
What guides what teachers teach?
Teachers and other practitioners work to national
guidance called Experiences and Outcomes – a
rigorous framework for progression. See it online at
www.ltscotland.org.uk. (This information is aimed at
professionals.)  It’s then up to professionals to deliver
in a way that works best for their local context.
How are schools preparing for change? 
 
Schools have been preparing for change for a number
of years with support from their local authorities,
government and national agencies.  HMIE – inspectors
of education – are also working with schools over the
Autumn providing further training, information and
support to help to ensure consistently higher
standards, building on existing best practice.
Does active learning mean more school trips?
Active learning doesn’t mean running around, being
outdoors or school trips.  It means encouraging young
people to think, question, research and work together
rather than being fed information. 
What if children don’t like group work?
Teachers are expected to use a range of approaches
and to help children so that they can learn to work in
different ways, including in groups – an essential skill
for life.
Will the new exams be harder?   
No.  Nor will they be easier.  They’ll just be different, to
reflect learning.  Some qualifications, like the new
National 4, are assessed by the teacher, not an exam.
Who is responsible for standards during change?
As before, teachers/lecturers are responsible for their
teaching.  Head Teachers/College Principals are
responsible for teaching standards and performance
and should seek the views of their ‘customers’ – pupils
and their parents, students, learners.  Local Authorities
(Councils) are responsible for schools and community
learning services.  HMIE – inspectors of education –
are responsible for overall monitoring and reporting.
How will we know if the change is working well?
Schools and local authorities will be monitoring the
impact of any changes on learners and making any
necessary adjustments as they go.  HMIE will know
from inspections if outcomes are generally better (or
worse) and will be monitoring progress closely. They
report to the Curriculum for Excellence Management
Board – comprising of all the main stakeholders in
education, including teacher unions, parents, Scottish
Government, national agencies, local authorities, and
others.  Management Board will report back to
government, parents, learners and other interested
parties on progress. 
What about reports on progress?
Schools are already skilled at describing how children
are progressing and they will continue to monitor and
report on each child's performance – from marks and
comments in jotters to end of term reports and parents
evening discussions.  Individual schools can provide
information on how they will report on progress. 
How will employers or universities know what to
look for?
The Scottish Qualifications Authority is producing
information and guidance on the new qualifications
and will keep teachers, colleges, universities, parents
and employers updated with progress. Young people
will also have records of what they have achieved.
Background and benefits
FACT2_Layout 1  18/08/2010  12:34  Page 2
Where can I get information or ask a question?

TommyAtkins:
What can young people expect at secondary?
From age 3-18, Curriculum for Excellence aims to
develop all young people as successful learners,
confident individuals, effective contributors and
responsible citizens.  At secondary, this means
offering inspiring learning opportunities to explore new
subjects and ways of learning, kindle ambition, extend
talents and interests. 
How are secondaries preparing for change?
Schools have been preparing for change over a
number of years, supported by their local authorities
and national bodies.  HMIE – the inspectors of
education – have been monitoring progress.  They are
now working with councils, schools and teaching staff
from August-December 2010 to offer additional
support for implementing change.
What will children learn from S1-S3?
All learners are offered a broad, deep, general
education from S1-S3, building on previous learning.
They will experience a wide range of subjects across
eight curriculum areas – expressive arts, languages
and literacy, health and wellbeing, mathematics and
numeracy, religious and moral education, sciences,
social studies, and technologies. This provides a good
foundation for moving on to study for qualifications, at
the right level for the pupil, in the later stages of
secondary. 
 
 
When and how do learners choose subjects?
Learners and teachers, in partnership with parents,
decide if and when learners should begin to specialise in
a subject during S1-S3. This increasing specialisation
allows for learning across and within subjects at a more
advanced level, depending on ability and interest.
How do children choose their subjects?
Teachers offer support and guidance on choices.
Sometimes a young person wants to drop a subject
early. We encourage pupils – and teachers – not to close
down options too soon.  Adults too should ensure that
children are supported to learn things they find
challenging – especially when it can help them in later
life. Conquering a tricky subject can be particularly
rewarding and may develop confidence for tackling other
challenges. There is potential too not to drop entire
subjects – creative combinations can extend learning
across the curriculum.   
Who decides what subject options are available?
There have never been fixed rules on option choices
(subject columns). This is up to the school, college or
community learning service.   Nationally, schools are
sharing creative ideas on timetabling options that could
offer greater variety and choices. Subjects don’t have to
follow the same pattern.  Timetables could include short
courses, integrated projects or concentrated, shorter
periods of learning in specific subjects.
the Secondary experience
Autumn 2010
This factfile is one of a series, designed to answer questions from parents, employers, learners and others 
we consulted.  We hope it helps provide useful information about current changes in Scottish education.   
FACT3_Layout 1  18/08/2010  12:38  Page 1What happens from S4 onwards?
The senior phase – from around age 15-18 – aims to
enhance knowledge, understanding and skills
through qualifications and other learning. Staying in
learning after 16 offers young people the best chance
of long term employability and Curriculum for
Excellence will offer all young people appropriate,
relevant and attractive choices to continue their
learning when they reach 16. This individualised
approach to learning will enable all young people,
including those in need of support, to achieve
qualifications, skills and experiences to prepare them
for learning, life and work.  National agencies are
developing models which will show a number of
different learner pathways and we will share these on
websites listed below. 
What’s changing around qualifications?
There will be new and updated qualifications under
Curriculum for Excellence, building upon pupils’ 
learning in S1-S3 and ensuring smooth progression
from one level to another. These will be available at a
range of levels on the Scottish Credit & Qualifications
Framework (SCQF), linking with other qualifications
at college and university:
  SCQF level
Advanced Higher  7   
Higher   6   
National 4 & 5  4 & 5 
Access 1-3  1 -3
The ability and aspirations of the learner – rather
than year group – should determine the qualifications
they take from S4 (eg the most able learners could
bypass Nationals and begin Highers over 1 or 2
years).   Schools and colleges will decide the number
and range of qualifications they offer, in consultation
with learners, parents and councils.  (See factfile on
Assessment and Qualifications for more information).
How and where can young people learn?
Young people will have a range of options around
how and where they learn, including staying on at
school, going to college or university, work-based
learning, community-based learning, volunteering or
a combination of these. Working with partners can
offer a broader range of experience, eg Skills for
Work courses. There is no single model, though
guidance sets out expectations about learners’
entitlements.
 
Curriculum for Excellence in action
Watch films and hear teachers and young people talk about 
their experience of Curriculum for Excellence in secondary.
www.parentzonescotland.gov.uk
Curriculum for Excellence is intended to encourage
teaching staff to be ambitious for learners, challenge
them to learn and achieve, and support them where
needed. 
What’s the timing of change?
Young people starting S1 in 2010 will experience
changes in learning and teaching throughout their
secondary education and will be first to experience the
senior phase and take the new qualifications in 2013. 
Young people currently in S2 and above will still benefit
from changes to learning and teaching coming into
place as part of Curriculum for Excellence.
Do teachers have to teach new subjects?
 
No.  Teachers will teach their specialist subjects as
before.  Curriculum for Excellence encourages
‘interdisciplinary working’, including making connections
between subjects as in real life – like geography and
languages.  There’s a stronger focus on literacy and
numeracy and every teacher will be expected to support
pupils with these skills, just as they’ll be expected to
support learners’ health and wellbeing.
   
the Secondary experience
FACT3_Layout 1  18/08/2010  12:38  Page 2
Where can I get information or ask a que

TommyAtkins:
I want to be more involved in my child’s education.
Is that OK?
You have a right as a parent to be involved and evidence
shows that children and young people do better when parents
and educators work closely together. Your relationship with
the place and people involved in your child’s learning is
important. Your interest and involvement will show your child
that you value their education. Getting involved can also be
a useful way of making contacts and friends with people who
have children of the same age.
How can I be involved in my child’s education?
You already make a huge contribution to your child’s learning
at home and your unrivalled knowledge of your child is
invaluable to teaching staff. Support your child’s learning
at home. Support what is asked of your child in lessons
and through homework. Talk to staff if you have concerns.
Read notes and progress reports sent home and offer your
comments. Attend open afternoons/evenings, Parents Night,
fetes, shows and displays of work. Attend meetings with
teaching staff to discuss your child’s progress and plan future
learning targets. Join the Parent Council and help influence
plans for your child and others.
What can I usefully offer?
Time, a pair of hands, ideas, energy, skills, support.
Depending on the age/stage of your child and how involved
you want to be, this could be helping in class, with outdoor
projects, going on trips, sharing your own experience and
skills, helping out at exam time, joining the Parent Council,
fundraising. Ask about the options and you can work out
what suits your availability and interest.
What can parents do to help their children?
Spending quality time together is important at any age.
The ‘play talk read’ campaign gives great tips for parents of
young children: www.infoscotland.com/playtalkread.
Encourage good habits and routines from the start – diet, sleep,
exercise, balancing work and play. That way young people will
be able to make good life choices for themselves when they’re
older. Curriculum for Excellence puts a new focus on Health
and Wellbeing supporting a child’s ability to learn and it’s woven
through the curriculum. (There’s a separate factfile on that topic.)
What specific things can I do to help?
Showing interest, asking questions, giving praise, listening –
these all help. Encourage children to make choices, take
responsibility for their decisions and solve their own problems –
with your support. Encourage them to take on challenges they
enjoy in and out of school. This will help develop knowledge,
skills, confidence, self-esteem... all at the heart of Curriculum
for Excellence.
How can parents support children at exam time?
The best support comes from your supportive relationship
with your child, together with regular attendance, keeping
up with homework and coursework throughout the term,
promoting sleep, diet and exercise. Reports will let you know
how your child is doing. If you’re worried, ask for help.
There is more flexibility under Curriculum for Excellence for
secondary pupils to take qualifications when they are ready.
Some are are assessed by classwork rather than exam.
For info on the new National 4 and 5 qualifications starting
in 2013 see the factfile on ‘Assessment and Qualifications’
or visit www.sqa.org.uk. To understand the qualifications
your child is studying, how these compare and plan future
learning with your child see www.scqf.org.uk
Curriculum for Excellence
factfile ––   Parents as partnersSpeaking to parents and carers with confidence
www.curriculumforexcellencescotland.gov.uk
Curriculum for Excellence is a major change to the education system that aims to raise standards of learning and teaching for all 3-18 year olds,
wherever they learn. This factfile was prepared with the help of the National Parent Forum Scotland and answers questions parents and learners
have about the changes and parents’ role. In the factfile we sometimes use the term ‘parents’ for short – we mean all parents and carers.
When we talk about ‘learners’ we mean all young people in nursery, school, college, community learning and training, special schools, extended
support and secure settings. ‘Teachers’ or ‘teaching staff’ means all staff, lecturers, nursery nurses, trainers, support workers.
Factfiles series 1: Background and Benefits; Assessment and Qualifications; The Secondary Experience
Factfiles series 2: Health & Wellbeing; Parents as Partners; Supporting Learners
What can I do if my child isn’t coping?
There’s a whole range of reasons why a young person might
struggle, whatever stage of life they are at: fall-outs with
friends, bullying, the stress of exams, struggling with lessons,
difficulties at home, managing independent living for the first
time. See www.infoscotland.com/justask for help with
spotting signs of stress to parents’ rights and info on the
range of help available. Some schools have home-school
partnership officers who can help. There’s also a factfile like
this called Supporting Learners.
How can I help my child at times of change?
Change or transitions can be exciting but can be stressful too.
Moving from home to nursery, nursery to primary, primary to
‘the big school’ and onto further learning, training or work can
be as stressful for the parent as for the child. Get your own
worries addressed early so that you can do your best to make
the change as smooth as possible. Focus on the excitement
and opportunity. Listen to concerns – they are real and being
heard is a big help. Don’t be afraid to raise your concerns
or ask questions at nursery, school, college or workplace.
Within the school system, Parent Councils can often provide
a good source of information and parents will share
experience and help each other.
How can I help with homework?
Help your child make time and space for homework and reading.
Sometimes homework will involve finding things out or doing
something practical and you can do this learning together as
part of family life – cooking, reading, playing. Help establish
good ‘study’ habits as they grow older and this will help as they
go through the system, helping them to become independent
and successful learners. Give praise for putting time and effort
into work, not just for getting the right answer.
I’m a bit out of my depth to help with homework.
Just showing that you are interested matters most. Often,
asking children to explain what they have learned helps a
great deal to reinforce their learning… even if you don’t fully
understand the detail. Teaching methods change over time,
so schools often run sessions to show parents what children
are being taught. If homework really is a problem for you
or your child, talk to school about it.
Online help is available too. There are lots of homework sites
(see opposite) and the Scottish schools intranet, Glow, offers
another way for teachers, pupils and parents to work together.
How can Parent Councils help?
Parent Councils have a key role to play in raising standards –
a key aim of Curriculum for Excellence. They can support
improvement planning at school and can get involved in
planning at local authority level too. They can raise issues
nationally through their local rep on the National Parent Forum
of Scotland. They make important links to families, the local
neighbourhood and businesses that help bring life to learning.
They offer a vital link to hear what young people think and want.
They can invite parents in to share skills, time, expertise and
knowledge. The Parent Council can link to local businesses
that might offer work experience opportunities or give young
people the chance to develop business skills. They can help
with fundraising, organise career fairs and be on hand at parent
events to talk to other parents.
Useful links and information
GENERAL: Parentline Scotland: 0800 800 2222
www.parentingacrossscotland.org
www.stepfamilyscotland.org.uk (advice for step parents)
EDUCATION: Big Plus 0808 100 1080 (reading/writing)
www.ltscotland.org.uk/parentzone (education changes)
www.parentforumscotland.org (National Parent Forum)
www.sptc.info (parent-teacher councils)
www.sqa.org.uk and www.scqf.org.uk (qualifications)
www.careers-scotland.org.uk (careers)
www.enquire.org.uk (additional support for learning)
www.hmie.gov.uk (monitor education standards)
www.engageforeducation.org
(access to education ministers)
HOMEWORK – ask your school for ideas too!
www.homeworkelephant.co.uk/teachers
www.bbc.co.uk/schools/homework
www.gridclub.com
www.channel4learning.net/apps/homeworkhigh
EMPLOYMENT – making connections with employers
www.employersandyoungpeople.org
Curriculum for Excellence in act

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