Curriculum for Excellence?

27 Feb

Have your say on CfE below…

Update: February 2015

Latest SQA updates 

Update:  January 2015

Latest SQA updates 

Update: December 2014

Latest SQA updates

Update: November 2014

Latest SQA updates

Update: October 2014

Education Scotland: Curriculum for Excellence Implementation Plan 2014-15

Statement from Scottish Government

Latest SQA updates

Updates:  September 2014

Latest SQA updates

Updates: August 2014

Latest SQA updates

Curriculum for Excellence Management Board – Report of the working group on the first year of the new National Qualifications

Do let us know your views below…

Updates: July 2014

Latest SQA updates

Updates: June 2014

SQA update: specifications

Higher courses

Updates: May 2014

Latest SQA updates

Updates: April 2014

Latest SQA updates

Updates: March 2014

SQA New Qualifications:  March 2014 update

Updates: February 2014

SQA New Qualifications:  February 2014 update

Updates:  January 2014

SQA New Qualifications:  January 2014 update

Updates: December 2013

SQA: New National Qualifications: December 2013 update

Getting the most out of your subject pages (SQA)

Update: 29 November 2013

SQA: New National Qualifications: November 2013 update

Update: 21 November 2013

Voice Scotland welcomes Curriculum for Excellence Working Group on Tackling Bureaucracy’s report

Update:  October 2013

SQA: New National Qualifications: October 2013 update

Update:  September 2013

SQA: New National Qualifications: September 2013 update

Update: 30 August 2013

SQA: New National Qualifications: August 2013 update

SQA report on development work relating to National Qualifications – National Units, National Courses, and Group Awards made up of National Units (Awards, National Certificates, National Progression Awards and Professional Development Awards) (pdf)

Update: 9 August 2013:

SQA: New Qualifications, New Opportunities: August 2013

As the new session commences, the new National 1, National 2, National 3, National 4 and National 5 qualifications will be available in schools and colleges across Scotland.

SQA’s 9 August 2013 update

Update: 20 June 2013:

SQA: New National Qualifications: June 2013 update

Update: 31 May 2013:

SQA: New National Qualifications: May 2013 update

Update: 30 April 2013:

SQA: New National Qualifications: April 2013 update

Update: 28 March 2013:

SQA: New National Qualifications:  March 2013 update

Update: 28 February 2013

SQA: First Release of National 4 Added Value Unit assessments now available

Update: 31 January 2013

SQA: New National Qualifications: January 2013 update

Update: 14 December 2012

SQA: New National Qualifications: December 2012 update

Update: 30 November 2012

SQA: New National Qualifications: November 2012 update

Update: 31 October 2012

SQA: New Qualifications: October 2012 Update

Update: 28 September 2012

SQA: New Qualifications: September 2012 Update

Update: September 2012

Education Scotland: Essential skills in Scotland’s colleges (pdf). This report has been developed as part of the work carried out by Education Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council.

Update: September 2012

Education Scotland: Curriculum Impact series subject-by-subject picture of how children and young people are experiencing learning in different areas of the 3-18 curriculum across the country:

Update: 31 August 2012

SQA: New Qualifications: August 2012 Update

Update: 31 July 2012

SQA: New Qualifications: July 2012 Update (Assessment Support Materials)

Update: 25 June 2012

SQA: New Qualifications: June 2012 Update (Assessment Overviews)

Update: 31 May 2012

SQA: May 2012 Update

Update: 30 April 2012

SQA: April 2012 Update

Update: 30 March 2012

SQA: New Qualifications: March 2012 update

Update: 7 March 2012

Changing the Name of Access Qualifications: Access qualifications being developed to support Curriculum for Excellence will be called Nationals.

Update: 6 March 2012

The Scottish Parliament’s Education Committee takes evidence on the Curriculum for Excellence from Education Secretary Michael Russell.

Update: 29 February 2012

SQA: New Qualifications: February 2012 update

Update: 23 February 2012

What do you think of Curriculum for Excellence?

Is it ready?

Is it in the best interests of children to delay or go ahead?

Do let us know your thoughts…

Update: 1 February 2012:

SQA: New Qualifications: January 2012 update

Update: 19 December 2011:

SQA: New Qualifications: December update

Update: 29 November 2011:

SQA: New Qualifications November update

Update: 31 October 2011:

New National Qualifications: Have your say on the latest draft documents for the new qualifications

Update: 30 September 2011:

New National Qualifications Information and support for teachers and practitioners:
Update from the Scottish Qualifications Authority

The Scottish Qualifications Authority has a number of resources to support teachers and practitioners to help them understand the changes to Scotland’s national qualifications.

Your Feedback

There’s still time to give feedback on the documents SQA published in August – Unit Specifications for National 4 and National 5, Course Rationales and Summaries for Access 2, Course Rationales and Summaries for Access 3 and Course Specifications for Higher.

Comments can be left on these documents by 31 October 2011 on the Have Your Say page. A summary of all the feedback SQA has received to date is available here.

CfE Events

In December, SQA and Education Scotland will hold a series of curriculum area update events to discuss several aspects of the qualifications with teachers and hear their views. SAQ will be writing to all local authorities and independent schools about these over the next month.


SQA’s new mythbuster videos are available now and give more information about the new qualifications and answer some of the most common questions. SQA also has several videos explaining its development process and the groups working with it to develop the new qualifications.

Support Materials

Following the Cabinet Secretary’s announcement at the Scottish Learning Festival, SQA will be sending a pack to every school and college by the end of October containing copies of the draft Unit Specifications for National 4 and National 5 and copies of its new teacher handbook and parent leaflet.

CfE Website Sections

SQA has sections of the CfE website for teachers, parents and employers. It is designing a new homepage which will direct people to the appropriate area.

Visit or or

Controlled Assessment

SQA is introducing controlled assessment to ensure rigour in assessment methods. This should mean consistent approaches to setting, conducting and marking assessments. “Controlled assessment will make sure that assessment methods are secure, valid and reliable. Assessments will be manageable, fair and consistently applied for all learners”. Find out more about controlled assessment here.

Appointee Vacancies

SAQ is still welcoming applications for the 3 appointee roles – Principal Assessors, Item Writers and Item Checkers – for the new qualifications. The closing date is 26 October 2011. Additional information on other CfE related vacancies can be found here.

Latest information

Continue to visit for the latest news and resources. Use the subject drop-down on each page to find the latest information for your subject. Sign up for MyAlerts to receive e-mail updates.

13 September 2010:

It’s been on the way for years. Pupils have started, moved through and left schools while it has been developed. It’s been talked about and consulted on. Strikes have been threatened. It’s being implemented but it’s still not finished. It is, of course, Curriculum for Excellence.
The Scottish Government has produced a number of ‘support packages’ for Curriculum for Excellence, including a Ten point delivery plan and even a roadshow.
Voice, however, still has reservations about how CfE impacts on schools and the breadth of education offered to all young people and gave its response on the Next Generation of National Qualifications in Scotland.

While primary school staff see CfE as an opportunity to do more cross-curricular work and adopt a more creative approach to teaching, concerns have been voiced:

  • that time and guidance are needed to ensure progression through the identified levels;
  • that a national standard is required so that moderation is realistic and parents are assured that progression is taking place in their children’s learning journey; and
  • about the existing mindset/expectations of HMIE.

The picture in secondary schools is more mixed. While the cross-curricular approach has been welcomed by some and many innovative approaches have been introduced, there are well-founded concerns about implementation and lack of clarity about the existing guidance.

Were you looking forward to the new curriculum or do you have serious concerns about how it will work or how it is being introduced?

You would have thought, given the time it has been in the making, it would be ready by now and everything would be prepared and all the concerns about implementing it would have been addressed, but still the debate rumbles on. Current probationers will probably have retired before the debate ends on whether CfE really is excellent and takes Scottish education forward or is vague and woolly and sets it back.

Famous names from across the worlds of entertainment, literature, sport and science” have even been “lined up to help develop the new Curriculum for Excellence“. You mean it’s still not finished?!

“Famous” might be stretching it for some of these people but that’s not a criticism of them but of government hype. Distinguished and relevant some might be, but have others been selected for the relevance of their input or for their fame or media pulling power?

Do we really want Curriculum by Celebrity? Surely classroom practitioners and educationalists are the best people to develop a curriculum.

Mike Russell has assured Voice that if schools need particular help they will be given it. In addition he had asked former Directors of Education David Cameron and Keir Bloomer to produce simplified versions of Building the Curriculum. This seems a somewhat incongruous solution but we will see what emerges.

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12 Responses to “Curriculum for Excellence?”

  1. Andy 25. Oct, 2010 at 3:47 pm #

    Curriculum for Excellence is such a wide umbrella of policies it annoys me when it is criticised in its whole. Are we talking about the new NQs which of course, we still have not yet seen detail on or are we talking about GIRFEC, MCMC, 16+ Learning Choices, the Senior Phase, The Es and Os, the new ASN / ASL legislation all off which contribute to better outcomes for our young people. There is sufficient evidence to suggest that these are working well.

    CfE is not a thing to be implemented. It is transformational change which brings with it better partnership between education, social work, The Police, Health Care and Employers. It brings together all those who plan and deliver education regardless of the learning setting.

    The NQs, though important, are but a small part in this great machine.

    I think CfE is a long time coming and we are in a changing world were the teaching profession needs to adapt and become more flexible. We cannot deliver a 21st century education to 21st century learners using a 2oth century model.

    Let us be clear in what we criticise, please.

  2. Richard Fraser 29. Nov, 2012 at 10:45 am #

    Education Scotland has launched the first in a set of Professional Focus Papers for National Qualifications []

  3. Richard Fraser 14. Apr, 2014 at 9:36 am #

    NQ Notification of changes to Unit Specifications and Frameworks 2013/14

  4. Richard Fraser 06. Mar, 2015 at 10:04 am #

    From Twitter:
    “Kimberley barker ‏@siminstance
    @VoiceScotland son wont get into uni cant do Higher in chosen Nat 5 subject there’s an issue with #curriculumforexcellence if this the case!”

  5. Richard Fraser 20. Mar, 2015 at 10:32 am #

    Voice Scotland welcomes .@scotgov #bureaucracy follow-up report

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