Category Archives: Curraicealam/Curriculum

Our curriculum model is based on the underlying philosophy of Curriculum for Excellence, local strategy and national guidance. It also takes into consideration the local context and particular needs of pupils at Sir E Scott School.
We believe that each pupil is entitled to

• A curriculum which is coherent from 3-18
• A Broad General Education, including well planned experiences and outcomes across all the curricular areas from early years to the end of S3
• A Senior Phase of education after S3 which provides opportunities to obtain qualifications as well as to continue to develop the four capacities
• A curriculum which provides opportunities for skills for learning, skills for life and skills for work with a continuous focus on literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing.
• Personal support to enable them to gain as much as possible from the opportunities which Curriculum for Excellence can provide
• Support in moving into positive and sustained destinations beyond school
In addition to the above, the Curriculum at Sir E Scott School specifically takes cognisance of the unique position of the Gaelic language in the local community, the needs of the local economy and opportunities provided by the local community.

curric-1In 2016-17, Curriculum for Excellence will form the basis of learning, teaching and assessment from Nursery to S3 (and thereafter for pupils in these year groups), while
S4-6 will continue to follow the current SQA courses.

Pupils from Nursery to S3 will experience a Broad General Education derived from the ‘experiences and outcomes’ of Curriculum of Excellence. The purpose of Curriculum for Excellence is to ensure that all children in our school develop the attributes, knowledge and skills they will need to flourish in life, learning and work, now and in the future. The aims of Curriculum for Excellence are that every child should know they are valued and will be supported to become a successful learner, an effective contributor, confident individual and a responsible citizen.

In order to achieve this for every pupil we aim to provide a wide range of challenging and enjoyable learning experiences that ensure active involvement of the learner through learning and teaching which:
•Engages and is activecurric-2
• Sets challenging goals
• Shares expectations and standards
• Provides timely and accurate feedback
• Involves sharing learning intentions and success criteria
• Is cooperative and collaborative
• Reflects the ways different learners progress

During this time of developing new learning experiences within the curriculum, a focus for our school has been to further enhance learning and teaching throughout the school through:
Assessment is for learning
• Cooperative learning
• Play and learning (early years)
• Learning within a context

Nursery to Secondary 3 (Broad General Education)

The curriculum encompasses all the planned learning experiences both within and out with the School. This includes opportunities to contribute to the ethos and life of the school, interdisciplinary learning and the recognition of achievements in the broadest sense. In addition, the curriculum encompasses eight curriculum areas, detailed below

Expressive Arts
All children in our school experience a wide range of experiences in:

  • Art and Designcurric-3
  • Dance
  • Drama
  • Music

These are provided by class teachers and at times by visiting specialists and organisations.

Languages and Literacy (English & Gàidhlig)

This includes English Language: listening, talking, reading and writing. It also includes French for the pupils from P6 – S2. Curriculum for Excellence also ensures that Literacy skills are promoted across all other areas of the curriculum and is the responsibility of all teachers.

The development of literacy is of great importance in the school with activities leading to reading and writing beginning during curric-4nursery and primary one. The children are encouraged to have a love of reading from the earliest stage. We use core reading and writing schemes, which extend through the primary school allowing children to progress from year to year. These are supplemented by a wide range of planned language activities that contribute to a child’s continuing development.
Early reading is taught by building up sounds and this leads to an emphasis on reading for understanding as children become proficient
Children are also given many opportunities to produce writing of all kinds and most children are able to have become proficient writers as they reach upper primary and secondary classes.

Health and Wellbeing

Learning in health and wellbeing ensures that children develop the knowledge and understanding, skills, capabilities and attributes, curric-5which they need for mental, emotional, social and physical wellbeing now and in the future. Curriculum for
Excellence also ensures that health and wellbeing is developed across all other areas of the curriculum with all teachers sharing the responsibility to ensure that pupils have the best start to life and are ready to succeed. We aim to ensure that pupils are achieving, responsible, included, nurtured, safe, respected, active and healthy. In the secondary, we aim to develop tutor time to ensure that every young person is well known.

One of the core elements in our promotion of healthy lifestyles and the development of active, confident individuals who can engage curric-6positively with life and learning has been the delivery of outdoor education in formal and informal settings. The school’s location within a rugged landscape of outstanding natural beauty provides the perfect platform for activities such as kayaking, rock climbing and mountain biking, which are the core activities in our Adventure Sport and Recreation course, while our Activities Week initiative offers these and many more to all pupils in June each year. The importance of outdoor education in developing a deeper understanding and appreciation of the local environment and environmental issues is also reflected in the John Muir Award and the Crofting Connections programme, both of which are delivered by an inter-departmental team as part of our implementation strategy for Curriculum for Excellence.

Mathematics and Numeracy

Mathematics and numeracy are important in our every day life, allowing us to make sense of the world around us and to manage our lives. Using mathematics and numeracy enable us to model real life situations and make connections and informed predictions. The skills equip us to interpret and analyse information, simplify and solve problems, assess risk and make informed decisions. Mathematics and numeracy are key skills, which help us to develop other necessary skills required for life, learning and work. Curriculum for Excellence also ensures that Numeracy is developed across all other areas of the curriculum with all teachers sharing the responsibility to ensure that pupils are aware of and developing skills in different contexts. Understanding the part that mathematics and numeracy plays in all aspects of life is crucial.


Religious & Moral Education (RME)

Religious & Moral education is provided for all children throughout all stages for the school, from Nursery to S4. Our programme of RME focuses on Christianity and on other world religions, providing children and young people with opportunities to compare and contrast these, and to gain an understanding of the different beliefs in the contemporary world.
We also aim to develop the spiritual, moral, social, moral and cultural values of our children, having regard to the values of the community, and guided by the recommendations contained in national and regional guidelines.
All children and young people throughout the school will participate in Religious Observance and Religious & Moral Education, but parents who wish to exercise their right to withdraw their child from either or both of these should put their request in writing to the Head teacher.curric-8

Senior Pupils undertaking RMPS through E-Learning.


Through learning in the sciences, children develop their interest in, and understanding of, the living, material and physical world. Teaching approaches allow children to collaborate, investigate and develop skills to become more creative, inventive and enterprising.

The main areas of Sciences are:
• Planet Earth
• Forces, electricity and waves
• Biological systems
• Materials
• Topical science

Social Studies

In this area children develop their understanding of the world by learning about other people and their values, in different times, places and circumstances; they also develop their understanding of their environment and how it has been shaped.

The main areas of Social Studies are:
• People, past events and societies
• People, place and environment
• People in society, economy and business


Pictured with Mr John Swinney, Depute First Minister are pupils from the Secondary Science and Engineering Club.

curric-9This area of the curriculum offers a rich context for developing life skills that are
recognised as being important for success in the world of work. This includes activities involving research, problem solving, and exploration of new concepts, skills and materials. The learning experiences provide pupils with opportunities to create products which have real applications allowing for creativity and entrepreneurial skills.
Technologies are organised under the following headings:
• Technological developments in society
• ICT to enhance learning
• Business
• Computing science
• Food and textiles
• Craft, design, engineering and graphics

Gaelic Medium Education

We offer Gaelic Medium Education in the Pre-school, Primary and Secondary sectors.curric-10
In the Sgoil Àraich, pupils are immersed in the language through their day-to-day play activities.
In the primary department the Gaelic Medium class caters for those children whose parents wish them to be literate and numerate in Gaelic as well as in English.
In the first three years Gaelic is used as the only teaching and learning medium through which pupils develop their listening, talking, reading, writing and mathematical skills. There is also a visiting Gaelic singing instructor, but in classes such as Art, PE and Music the teacher delivers the lesson in English. The classroom assistant attends these lessons with the younger pupils in order to help keep an awareness of Gaelic in all situations.
In primary 4, pupils begin reading and writing in English.curric-11
In the upper primary years, usage of the two languages is developed so that pupils have an equal facility in both languages by the end of P7.

An Clas Gàidhlig

Tha foghlam tro mheadhan na Gàidhlig a’ toirt cothrom do phàrantan an cuid chloinne a bhith air an teagasg ann an Gàidhlig cuide ri Beurla.

Anns a’ chiad trì bliadhna ‘s ann tromh ’n Ghàidhlig a-mhàin a thathar a’ teagasg gach cuspair. Tha neach-teagaisg seinn Gàidhlig a’ tadhal air an sgoil gach seachdainn.

Tha an neach-taic a’ frithealadh na clasaichean seo còmhla ris a’ chloinn airson cuideachadh le bhith a’ cumail Gàidhlig riutha anns gach suidheachadh.

Aig clas 4 tha a’ chlann a’ tòiseachadh air leughadh Beurla, leis an àireamh mhionaidean a thathar a’ teagasg Beurla a’ meudachadh beag air bheag gach bliadhna an dèidh seo, gus mu dheireadh aig ìre clas 7 gu bheil a’ chlann gan oideachadh aig leth den ùine anns gach cànan.

S1 Gaelic RME Course

The S1 Gaelic medium RME Course was developed and implemented in 2014/15. The course ran smoothly with all pupils engaging well with the subject. We began the course by considering Religion in a local context and have considered recently religions of the world. This session we have studies: Crìosdaidheachd anns Na Hearadh, Colmcille, Na h-eaglaisean clèireach , Am Bìoball, An t-Seann Tiomnadh, an Tiomnadh Nuadh, Ceistean mòra. Samhlan ann an diofar chreideamhan, Sàcramaid suipeir an Tighearna, Islam, Budachd, Siddarta Gotama.

Pupils have improved their literacy skills in Gaelic through reading, writing, speaking and listening in the RE Class. They have learned a great deal of vocabulary that they would likely not have encountered without RME Gaelic Medium Provision. The class have engaged enthusiastically with each aspect of the course and their Gaelic skills have been enhanced as a result. Pupils have produced posters on areas of interest to themselves from each unit. All pupils have been prepared to discuss aspects of religion, ask questions and give their own opinions and viewpoints in class.

Tha na sgoilearan air mòran ionnsachadh mu dheidhinn cho cudromach ‘s a tha creideamh anns a’ choimhearsnachd aca fhèin, eachdraidh a’ bhiobaill agus tha iad air ionnsachadh mu chreideamhan eile leithid Islam agus Budachd. Tha sinn air postairean a dhèanamh mu dheidhinn na diofar cuspairean a tha sinn a’ dèanmah sa chlas. Tha na sgoilearan air a bhith glè mhath cuideachd air ceistean fhaighneachd mu dheidhinn creideamh, tha iad deònach na beachdan aca fhèin a thoirt seachad agus conaltradh a dhèanamh sa Ghàidhlig.

curric-12Pictured here are a group of S2 pupils who participated in an overnight stay in the Scaladale Centre with pupils from the Nicolson Institute.

S1 History Gaelic Course

Nine S1 pupils undertook the new Eachdraidh course in session 2015-16. Throughout the year, they studied Stone Age times and the similarities and differences between the lifestyles and attitudes of people in the past by comparing the ancient civilisations of Skara Brae and Ancient Egypt.

The pupils were well motivated and displayed a good understanding of the topics covered. Their language skills are very good and they made many valuable contributions to class discussion. It was a highly rewarding experience for both pupils and teacher.
In session 2015-16, there will be two classes – S1 with a larger intake, and S2. S2 will study Life in the Middle Ages, Mary, Queen of Scots, and Scotland until 1707.

SECONDARY 1-3 IN 2016-17

In S1-3 pupils follow a common course covering all the curricular areas. Each subject will have the following number of periods per week

S1 S2
English 4 periods 4 periods
Mathematics 4 periods 4 periods
Social Subjects/td 3 periods 3 periods
PE 2 periods 2 periods
Gaelic/Gaidhlig 3 periods 2 periods
French 2 periods 3 periods
PSE/RME 2 periods 2 periods
Art 2 periods 2 periods
Music 2 periods 2 periods
Technical 2 periods 2 periods
Home Economics 2 periods 2 periods
ICT 2 periods 2 periods
Personal Achievement 1 periods 1 periods


In S3 pupils begin to make some personal choices – freedom within the curricular Framework while still ensuring that they continue to experience outcomes in the eight curricular areas.
S3 also marks the end of the broad general education. During S3 pupils will continue to follow a curriculum based on the experiences cuttic-12and outcomes of curriculum for excellence, with a certain element of personalization and choice. At the end of S3 choices will be made for the senior phase when pupils begin to study for national 3, 4 and 5 exams. Pupils will choose English, Maths and 5 other subjects.

The 2016/17 S4 cohort will study the courses they have chosen at the end of S3. All pupils follow a balanced course, which provides them with depth of skills and knowledge in the curriculum areas:
• English
• Mathematics
• Social studies
• Sciences
• Technologies
• Creative and aesthetic studies/expressive arts
• Modern languages
• Religious education and social education
• Physical education

There is an expectation that all pupils will follow a course in the subjects:
• English
• Mathematics
• Religious education and social education
• Physical education
All courses will allow pupils to develop at an appropriate and challenging level.


We are pleased that the majority of our pupils return to school after S4. At this stage a substantial amount of personal choice is involved in the selection of individual courses. Members of the senior management team and PT Pupil Support monitor the courses chosen. We expect our pupils to build on the successes already achieved in S4 and we seek to ensure that the pupils link their course choices to their future plans.

It is customary for pupils at this stage to contribute to the voluntary work, which we encourage, either in school or in the local community. We emphasise the importance of developing study skills and independent learning.

All pupils in S5 and S6 follow courses in at least one of the following levels of
National Qualifications:

• National 4/5
• Skills for Work
• Higher
• Advanced Higher

More information on Curriculum for Excellence can be found on Education Scotland’s Parentzone website – or


There is strong evidence that home study raises the level of attainment of individual pupils. Home study encourages pupils to take responsibility for their own learning, helps them acquire and develop good study habits and learn how to plan and organise their work and time.

Homework should be seen as an integral part of the learning process offering pupils an opportunity to consolidate and develop work done in the classroom and to raise achievement. Homework is therefore used to encourage pupils to:
• develop a sense of personal responsibility for their own progress;
• develop skills in independent study.

The type of work and its frequency is a decision for the class teacher who knows the child best.

In Primary, the homework will be a mixture of written activities, reading and practical activities to reinforce knowledge and to develop a range of skills. Homework will be related to work that has been covered in class, so the child will be familiar with the work and serious difficulties should not arise. Homework should not be an arduous task and should usually take no longer than 20 minutes.

In Secondary, if a subject department sets no formal homework please encourage your child to use the time to do revision work or to complete further reading. This can also be recorded in the homework diary. Because of differences in the nature of individual subjects and the levels and times allocated to them it is difficult to lay down precise guidelines about the amount of homework and the time, which should be spent on it. In general however, it will increase as pupils move up through the school and around examination times will increase significantly.

At the beginning of each session, all pupils are issued with homework diaries, which enable them to keep a written record of homework assignments and spread their workload evenly throughout the week. Homework assignments can also be accessed on the school website.

Parental support is a key factor in the effective operation of a home study policy and there are a number of specific ways in which parents can help e.g.

• taking an interest generally in school work and homework
• establishing a home study routine
• checking that work is completed and well-presented
• providing the right conditions for home study
• advising the school of any difficulties in regard to home study.

The completion of homework assignments is closely monitored by staff and persistent problems in completing and submitting homework are always referred to senior management.
More detailed information on the school’s homework policy is available on the school website.

Sensitive Aspects of Learning

For sensitive aspects of learning, for example the PSE Sexual Health and Relationship programme, parents are welcome to view materials and have the right to remove their child(ren) from these classes and sessions.

School Assemblies

A programme of assemblies takes place throughout the school year. One cycle is in the form of whole school/department meetings led by pupils, a guest speaker, school chaplain, Head Teacher or the relevant Depute. In accordance with national and council guidelines, some assemblies take the form of Christian worship. We aim to encourage mutual understanding and to help all our pupils to respect the religious beliefs of others. We hope that on that basis, you will be happy for your son/daughter to attend worship assemblies. However, under the provisions of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980, it is your right to withdraw your child from any or all such assemblies.

Parents who wish to execute their right to withdraw their child from RME or Religious Observance should put their request in writing to the Head Teacher.


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:

  • curric-14Young Persons’ Leadership Award
  • Skipping Challenge
  • Transition Work
  • Bikeability


Young Musicians Initiative (YMI)

This forms part of a National Youth Music Strategy designed to ensure that young people in Scotland have the opportunity to enjoy and develop their musical talent
The YMI comprises two strands; the first in the ‘formal’ education sector, i.e. schools such as our own; the second is the ‘informal sector’, which refers to projects and activities which take place outside the school day.

Keyboard, guitar, and chanter tuition are offered to P4-7 pupils in curric-16this school through lessons built into the timetable. Strings tuition is offered to P5-7 pupils. In addition to having access to instruments in the school, most of the participants have their own instruments.

Mr. Iain MacIver, Gaelic Music Instructor is responsible for delivering keyboard and guitar tuition. Mr. Nick Gordon is our visiting chanter instructor while Mr. Neil Johnstone provides string tuition.


Assessment of children and young people’s progress is central to the day-to-day learning and teaching which takes place in lessons and extended curriculum activities.

The purposes of assessment include:

  • supporting learning
  • recognising strengths and helping to plan next steps
  • informing learners and their parents of their progress
  • summarising achievements (sometimes through qualifications)
  • monitoring the education system and influencing future developments.

Assessment within Sir E Scott School has an emphasis on literacy and numeracy.

The Education Department introduced a programme of standardised testing for all schools across the authority in session 2012-13. The programme serves to rationalize the various programmes of testing that currently exists in schools alongside the Cognitive Ability Tests (CATs). The purpose of the programme is to provide screening and baseline information for Primary 1 pupils and, subsequently, to provide data at key stages for quality assurance and to enable targeted support to pupils.

The standardised assessments include the following:

  • Reasoning (5) – Primary 1
  • Baseline Literacy (EM) – Primary 1
  • Gaelic Phonological test – Primary 2 and Primary 3
  • Performance through Maths (PtM) and Performance through English (PtE) – Primary 3, Primary 7 and Secondary 2
  • CAT – Primary 5 and Secondary 1

Assessment should support children and young people in developing the four capacities of Curriculum for Excellence and the characteristics associated with them.

These include a range of personal qualities and skills that in the past may not always have been formally assessed, such as thinking creatively and independently, working in partnership and in teams, making informed decisions and evaluating environmental, scientific and technological issues. These skills and attributes are embedded in the experiences and outcomes, which form the basis of the new curriculum.


Assessment focuses on these, as well as on measuring factual recall and routine procedures. Teachers in Sir E Scott School are encouraged to use the key features of the Assessment is for Learning programme, which encourage diagnostic, and formative approaches to assessment that directly support learning.

As it is important that assessments should be reliable with shared standards and expectations being applied across the country, arrangements need to be put in place for moderation of learning at Sir E Scott School and in working closely with our feeder primaries and colleagues across Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar. One key way we aim to do this is through discussing evidence of learning from the children and young people.

We aim to capture what they say, write, make and do and discuss this in relation to the experiences and outcomes, ensuring that the planned learning experiences provide valid evidence. The School is supported by the National Assessment Resource, which allows us to share assessment materials, and helps teachers develop a shared understanding of standards. We try to keep parents well informed about school life, of changes in policy, of curriculum matters and of any factors related to the progress or development of their own children.

Our school website is also a useful source for school related information.

Mr Simon Erlanger, Managing Director, Isle of Harris Distillery pictured curric-17with Clare Mulhern recipient of the Alex John Macleod Memorial Dux Prize and Rebecca Finnegan recipient of the Tarbert Tenants’ Association Proxime Accessit prize.

Reporting to Parents

We try to ensure that parents receive information at times which are useful to their children and that they have every opportunity to discuss progress with us. Our school reporting system also allows parents an opportunity to make their own comments on the progress of their children.

At Sir E Scott School, we believe that reporting is extremely important. We continue to refine our practice and an electronic report is issued annually.

Reports will be issued at the appropriate times during the year. Dates will be given at the start of the session and are in the School’s Year Planner.

While pupil reports are very important, providing scope for an informed discussion between parents and the school, you need not wait until these are issued to get in touch with us. Simply contact any member of the Senior Management team or PT Pupil Support for primary and secondary pupils; the Play leader and play assistants for nursery children and you will be given an update on your child’s progress. A meeting can be arranged or, if appropriate, a member of staff may report back by telephone. The Head Teacher and other members of the Senior Management Team will review the work of a sample of pupils throughout the year.

Parents’ Meetings

Throughout the year, we will have a series of parents’ meetings. The main function of these meetings will be to allow you time with your child’s play leader & assistant/teachers. However, other meetings will also be held on topics such as the curriculum, course choices, Health & Wellbeing.