Category Archives: Section 3 – School Curriculum

Curriculum for Excellence

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 begins at birth and continues throughout our lives. The Scottish Government education strategy  recognises that learning is lifelong, and aims to help learners develop the skills they need for learning, life and work. 

The curriculum aims to help every learner develop knowledge, skills and attributes for learning, life and work, which are 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 school aims to provide a broad and balanced curriculum in line with Curriculum for Excellence.  Teaching staff deliver learning and teaching experiences in line with the experiences and outcomes of Curriculum for   Excellence which has been implemented across all curricular areas since August 2010. 

Further information on Curriculum for Excellence can be found at :

Planning and Delivery

Every child and young person in Scotland is entitled to experience a broad general education. This broad general education takes place from the early years to the end of S3, and is represented by learning across a wide range of experiences and outcomes. 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 outcome represents what is to be achieved.

The experiences and outcomes are set out in lines of development which describe progress in learning. They are organised into the eight curricular areas which ensure that children’s learning takes place across a broad range of contexts and at different levels.

One important aspect of Curriculum for Excellence is that learners should be able to make connections in their learning beyond subject boundaries. This is called Interdisciplinary Learning and teaching staff ensure that all pupils have at least one experience of Interdisciplinary Learning in each school session. Interdisciplinary Learning provides relevant, challenging and enjoyable learning experiences and stimulating contexts to meet the varied needs of children and young people.

Schools are also required to deliver learning and teaching experiences related to the development of “Skills for Life.” Within the Primary sector, this is most commonly delivered through the Enterprise in Education and again within Bernera School each child should have experienced being a part of at least one enterprise project in each school session.

Further information relating to Curriculum for Excellence can be found at:

Further information relating to the Enterprise in Education programme can be found at:

All members of teaching staff are responsible for promoting Literacy, Numeracy and Health and Wellbeing Across Learning and there is an emphasis on these areas at all times, regardless of what particular curricular areas are being covered at a given point in time.

All learning and teaching activities are delivered through one of the following curricular areas – Language and Literacy, Mathematics and Numeracy, Health and Wellbeing, Science, Social Studies, Religious and Moral Education, Expressive Arts and Technologies.

Visiting specialist teachers currently visit the school to assist class teachers in the delivery of their specific subjects. The Music teacher attends the school on a fortnightly basis, whilst the Art teacher attends the school on a weekly basis and the PE teacher visits the school once every three weeks.

 In line with Council Policy all pupils in P4-7 are entitled to receive teaching in P.E. Music, and Art from specialist teachers. Where numbers are small and where specialist staff are in agreement, pupils within P1-3 may also receive teaching in P.E. Music and Art from specialist teachers. All P5-7 pupils have the opportunity to learn the chanter from the Piping Instructor or the guitar from the Guitar Instructor, both of whom attend the school on a weekly basis.

 The Support for Learning Teacher visits Bernera School once a week and works along classroom teachers and staff to make appropriate provision for those children who have additional support needs.

 Class teachers routinely discuss topics for study with pupils and involve them in choosing aspects of study. This process also ensures teaching covers new material and children are provided with sufficient pace and  challenge in their work.

 Should parents wish to find out any more information relating to Curriculum for Excellence, they can find it on Education Scotland’s website at:

 Further information relating to aspects of learning and teaching and assessment can also be found at:

Homework Policy

POLICY LEADER: Miss Kirsteen J. Maclean – Head Teacher 


Learning happens wherever children are and for the largest part of their developing years they are within their homes and communities.  It is therefore imperative that we inform and involve parents in their children’s   learning. 


Homework should:

 ¨ Consolidate and extend the work carried out in class

¨ Encourage good study habits in children and promote positive attitudes

¨ Inform parents as to what their children are learning within class

¨ Involve parents in encouraging, supervising and checking homework

¨ To help pupils develop the skills of an independent learner

¨ To help children develop good work habits for the future

 In addition we feel that homework will provide opportunities for:

¨ Making use of a wider range of resources (e.g. interviewing family)

¨ Building pupil confidence by discussing work with parents.

¨ Providing for parents a specific learning activity in which they can closely participate with their children.

 Homework should be:

 Planned in advance

¨ Given, only when it is purposeful and useful in relation to class work It will not necessarily be the case that homework will be given every night.

¨ Kept manageable with regards to time for pupils, teachers and parents

¨ Varied

¨ Appropriate to the needs and abilities of pupils

¨ Explained clearly so that pupils know exactly what is required and when it is to be completed

¨ Received and acknowledged in a meaningful way when it has been completed by providing feedback on  content and presentation. 


 ¨ Homework given to Primary 1, 2 and 3 classes will be on a next day basis. The only exceptions to this will be where teachers who are not present every day set homework for pupils for the next lesson they have with that teacher.

¨ Homework given to Primary 4 & 5 may be given on a next day basis and in some cases on an assignment basis e.g. to be completed over 2 days or on a Monday for completion by Friday. The length of time given t o complete homework tasks will be at the discretion of the class teacher.

¨ Homework given to Primary 6 & 7will usually be on an assignment basis e.g. to be completed over 2 days or on a Monday for completion by Friday. The length of time given t o complete homework tasks will be at the discretion of the class teacher.

¨ Primary 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7 will be expected to enter homework in their homework diaries

¨ In the event of any child persistently not completing set homework tasks parents will be notified in writing, be informed of the problem and given the opportunity to resolve the problem.

¨ If non completion of homework persists the Head Teacher will invite parents in to discuss the problem, identify  possible solutions to rectify the problem and also possible sanctions should the problem persist.


A variety of homework activities and tasks may be set.  The content of set tasks may vary from stage to stage and at different times throughout a session but should always be: 

¨ Clearly understood by the pupil and closely related to ongoing class work.

¨ At an appropriate level of ability for the child.

¨ Able to be completed without specialised resources.

¨ Reflect a variety of activities although generally concentrating on basic skills.

¨ Marked promptly with some feedback given. 

Parents are encouraged to discuss homework tasks with class teachers should any problems arise. 


¨ By ensuring homework is done while your child is alert.

¨ By trying to provide a calm atmosphere with as few distractions as possible.

¨ By discussing the work with our child and working along with him/her, especially at the early stages.

¨ By checking that the quality and presentation is of an acceptable standard and signing the work.  Doing this personally and not delegating to older brothers and sisters.

¨ By discussing any problems arising from homework with the teacher.  (by appointment please).

¨ By extending the work when appropriate perhaps by supplying a relevant book, visiting the library or a place of interest connected with the work.

 Above all, by showing interest and praising good efforts.


Primary 1 – 3

Children in the infant stages will be given small amounts of homework on a regular basis.  They should spend approximately 10-15 minutes per evening Monday to Thursday completing homework activities.

Reading, Phonics and number consolidation will form the core activities 

Parents should assist pupils with their homework by: 

¨ Consolidating the use of core vocabulary for reading books with their children

¨ Encouraging their children to read aloud to them in a variety of contexts.

¨ Reinforcing simple number bonds (0-10 for Primary 1 and 0-20 for Primary 2-3)

¨ Reinforce specific curricular areas such as money and time. 

Primary 4 – 7

Children in P4 & P5 should spend no more than 20 minutes on any given night on homework.  Children in P6 & P7 should spend no more than 30 minutes on any given night on homework. 

Parents should assist pupils with their homework by: 

¨ Encouraging them to read aloud and also silently at home with a variety of reading material.

¨ Helping them to practise, develop and reinforce aspects of language course work

¨ Helping them to practise, develop and reinforce spelling course work

¨ Helping them to practise, develop and reinforce aspects of mathematics course work

¨ Talking to them about topic work and enhancing the work they have done in school to gain deeper understanding about their course work.

¨ Encouraging them to work on personal topic studies

¨ Encouraging them to be independent in their learning 

TO BE REVIEWED: January 2014

Sensitive Aspects of Learning

As part of the Health & Wellbeing curriculum, the school follows Health Education Guidelines issued by the Scottish Executive and the local authority.  P.E., Planning for Choices and Changes, Food and Health, Substance Misuse, Relationships, Sexual Health & Parenthood are all part of the new Health and Wellbeing  curriculum. Parents will be contacted by letter if any lessons/teaching materials are of a sensitive nature.  Parents will also be given the opportunity to view any materials being used, prior to the work taking place. Please contact the school if you would like further details on the content of the above or visit the Education  Scotland website at:

Active Schools

Active Schools work with schools and communities to help make sure children start active and stay active.  The fundamental aim is to offer children and young people the opportunities and motivation to adopt active, healthy lifestyles, now and into adulthood.  Our Active Schools Co-ordinator is Jenna Stewart and she works with the school to develop an action plan of work they can support through the school year.  Here are some examples of the activities which took place in the last year:

¨ Bikeability 2 Training

¨ Sport Relief Mile

¨ Walk to School Week

¨ Young Leadership Awards

¨ Club Golf Sessions

¨ Sportshall Athletics Sessions

¨ Wii Fitness Sessions


Assessment is the means of obtaining information, which allows teachers, pupils and parents to determine what a pupil is actually achieving in relation to expectations of achievement and drawing conclusions from that comparison. 

Each child’s progress is assessed by his/her class teacher  throughout the year. Pupils are given the opportunity to discuss their progress and assess their performance. Teachers choose a variety of methods to capture what pupils say, write, make and do, but teachers use their professional judgement on a day to day  basis as they observe pupils engaging in activities to assess progress.

The National Assessment Resource  (NAR)

The National Assessment Resource is an online resource which is available to teachers and has been designed to support assessment approaches within the Curriculum for Excellence framework. It can be used by teachers to assist them in making decisions about a child’s progress and achievement.

 Assessment is for Learning

Within class, teachers use a number of strategies within the Assessment is for Learning model to provide  better feedback for pupils, which in turn leads to improved performance  and achievement. Assessment is for Learning recognises that children learn best when:

¨ They understand what they are trying to learn and what is expected of them.

¨ They are given feedback about the quality of their work and what they can do to make it better.

¨ They are given advice about how to go about making improvements.

¨ They are fully involved in deciding what needs to be done next and who can give them help if they need it.

Teachers report on pupils’ progress and attainment across the whole curriculum, using their professional  judgement and the evidence available to them from continuous formative assessments undertaken throughout the year in relation to nationally agreed and understood standards.

Cognitive Abilty Tests (CATs)

Cognitive Abilty Tests assess a pupil’s ability to reason with and manipulate different types of symbols. These symbols are in the form of words, quantities, and special, geometric or figural patterns.

 It is the policy of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to offer CAT’s to pupils in P5, and S1. The three tests give an  overall educational profile of the pupil and help teachers to set realistic targets for pupils. All parents are  informed of their child’s CAT scores via Pupil Reports and the scores are explained to parents at parent-teacher appointments.

Standardised Assessments

It is the practice of the Local Education Authority to undertake a variety of standardised assessments with pupils across a range of stages. Such assessments provide teaching staff with useful information which can better inform the delivery of learning and teaching activities for our pupils.  Other assessments can be used to provide a baseline, in order to be able to assess progress over time and  can also allow comparisons to be made with other standardised materials. The results of any standardised assessments carried out with pupils by teaching staff will be discussed with parents at Parent-Teacher appointments.

Reporting to Parents

Teachers report on pupils’ progress and attainment across the whole curriculum, using their professional  judgement and the evidence available to them from continuous formative assessments undertaken throughout the year in relation to nationally agreed and understood standards. 

Reports on pupil’s progress are an important form of communication between home and school. Parents receive two written reports each year. The first of these around October/November is a brief update which focuses on Literacy, Numeracy, Health and Wellbeing and Support for Learning. This is followed up by a Parent-Teacher consultation in November.

 A more comprehensive report is issued at the end of March outlining their children’s successes and also areas for further development in each of the curricular areas. In addition to this, teaching staff comment on children’s attitude to learning, the results of cognitive ability tests, pupil’s wider achievements and offer advice to parents in terms of how they can best support their child’s learning. Both pupils and parents are also given the opportunity to comment on the report. Again this report is followed up with a Parent-Teacher consultation which is usually scheduled in early May. 

Parent-Teacher appointments allow class teachers to meet with parents to discuss their child’s progress and all parents are encouraged to attend at these times.  In addition to these scheduled evenings, parents are welcome to telephone the Head Teacher to arrange a suitable time to visit the school to discuss any matter which is causing them concern. 

Parents are encouraged to discuss their child’s report with them as children benefit from and are supported by the ongoing dialogue about their progress, both from school and from home.  Such dialogue encourages   children as they seek to take the next steps in their learning. 

Parents of pupils with additional support needs are also regularly invited in to the school to meet with teaching staff in order to review their child’s Action Plan or Individual Education Programme (IEP). Support for Learning and Teaching staff greatly value the contribution made by parents at these meetings and welcome the opportunity to work with parents in a positive way for the benefit of our pupils.