What is Curriculum for Excellence?
Curriculum for Excellence is Scotland’s national curriculum. It provides a coherent and inclusive curriculum from 3-18 years wherever learning is taking place, including early learning childhood centres, schools, colleges and community learning. It places children and young people at the heart of Scottish Education.
The purpose of Curriculum for Excellence is encapsulated in the four capacities – to enable each child or young person to be:
- a successful learner,
- a confident individual,
- a responsible citizen and
- an effective contributor.
These four capacities govern the entire curriculum from age 3 to 18 and aim to raise the standards of achievement for all learners.
Curriculum for Excellence is underpinned by the values inscribed on the mace of the Scottish Parliament – wisdom, justice, compassion and integrity.
Throughout Curriculum for Excellence there is a strong focus on Literacy, Numeracy and Health and Wellbeing across all aspects of learning and every teacher will support learners with the development of these, including digital literacy skills.
Curriculum for Excellence is defined as:
‘The totality of all that is planned for children and young people throughout their education’.
The opportunities for learning and teaching are governed by the Four Contexts for Learning, which ensure that the education your child receives is informative, interesting, relevant and fun.
These contexts are:
- Ethos and life of the school as a community
- Curriculum areas and subjects
- Interdisciplinary learning
- Opportunities for personal achievement.
What are the Curriculum for Excellence levels?
There are five levels and these are flexible depending on pupils’ needs and abilities (some children and young people may achieve these levels earlier or later dependent on ability):
- Early level pre-school to P1
- First level to the end of P4
- Second level to the end of P7
- Third and fourth levels S1 to S3
- Senior phase S4 to S6 and other forms of study.
What is the Broad General Education?
The Broad General Education (BGE) is the first phase of two closely connected phases of education. The BGE phase stretches from age 3 until the end of S3 after which learners move into the Senior Phase which starts in S4.
Curriculum Areas and Subjects
The BGE is delivered via 8 curricular areas which, in secondary school cover years S1 to S3, and may be subdivided further into individual subjects.
The 8 curricular areas are:
- Expressive Arts
- Languages and Literacy
- Health and Well Being
- Mathematics and Numeracy
- Religious and Moral Education
- Social Studies
We provide children with opportunities to demonstrate and further develop their learning in a range of contexts, including, using active and co-operative learning, interdisciplinary approaches and outdoor learning. We work in partnership with visiting specialists and organisations who support and extend the rich experiences we provide through cross curricular approaches, ensuring that our children are able to develop skills for life.
CURRICULUM FOR EXCELLENCE IN ABRONHILL PRIMARY SCHOOL AND NURSERY CLASS
In Abronhill Primary School and Nursery Class, the curriculum takes account of school improvement priorities and local and national guidelines. We aim to make learning for our children challenging, engaging and motivating, and to encourage everyone to have ambition and high aspirations. At all stages, learners of all aptitudes and abilities experience an appropriate level of support and challenge, enabling every child to achieve his/her potential. Children are active in their learning and have opportunities to develop and demonstrate their creativity.
Teachers continually assess children’s work to obtain information that enables them to make professional judgements regarding pupils’ progress. This will inform the planning and next steps for learning and teaching in the classroom. We use a range of summative and formative assessment strategies and ensure that all children are involved in the assessment process.
Learners learn best when they:
- understand clearly what the intended learning is, what is expected of them and how they can demonstrate this learning
- are given quality feedback about their work, what they have done well and what they can do to improve it
- participate in self- and peer-assessments
- are fully involved in identifying and understanding next steps in learning
- know how to access support to assist their learning when they require it
Languages and Literacy
In line with national guidelines and through the use of North Lanarkshire Council’s active literacy approaches, Abronhill Primary School and Nursery Class places great emphasis on promoting the development of critical and creative thinking, as well as developing children’s abilities to listen and talk, read and write to the best of their abilities. Children are encouraged to explore language by engaging with a wide range of reading materials, both fiction and non-fiction. They create their own texts by writing for a variety of purposes, and develop their abilities to accurately use appropriate grammar, punctuation and spelling strategies. A high standard of presentation is encouraged and expected at all times. Consistent development of listening and talking skills enables the children to communicate information and opinions effectively and confidently. Children are provided with opportunities to use relevant, meaningful contexts across the curriculum to explore the skills they have developed and to deepen their knowledge and understanding of all aspects of literacy.
Parents/Carers continue to play a vital role in further developing children’s language skills by reading together, and by taking advantage of the daily opportunities they have to talk with their children about a wide range of experiences, interests and thoughts and feelings.
We have worked closely with Cumbernauld Academy and our cluster primaries to develop a progressive and coherent French programme for pupils throughout the school from primary 1 to 7. Pupils in primaries 5, 6 and 7 also have Spanish lessons.
Mathematics and Numeracy
In Abronhill Primary School and Nursery Class we take account of national and local guidelines to provide all children with a curriculum that will develop their skills, knowledge and understanding of number, money and measure; shape, position and movement; and information handling. Great emphasis is placed on providing all children with experiences that enable them to explore and apply mathematical concepts to understand and solve problems, ask questions, and to explain their thinking and present solutions in a variety of ways. At all stages, children have opportunities to learn actively and collaboratively, allowing them to reason logically and creatively through discussing their ideas with others.
A wide range of concrete materials and real-life contexts are used to enable children to explore maths and numeracy in a meaningful way, helping them to better understand a range of processes and concepts. Children focus on developing their mental agility through the Number Talks programme which encourages the use of a wide range of strategies and methods to support them in improving speed, accuracy and problem solving skills. Children are provided with opportunities to make links across the curriculum to show how mathematical concepts are applied in a wide range of contexts, such as those provided by science, technology and social studies.
Parents/Carers can further develop children’s awareness, knowledge and understanding of many concepts by providing them with opportunities to use skills in everyday life. Parents/Carers should also encourage children to practise their addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts regularly at home, enabling them to further develop speed and accuracy. It is important that consistent approaches are used in school and at home to avoid children becoming confused and parents/carers are encouraged to speak to class teachers about the maths language and methods being used.
HEALTH AND WELLBEING
Learning in health and wellbeing ensures that children develop the knowledge and understanding, skills, capabilities and attributes they need for mental, emotional, social and physical wellbeing now and in the future.
Mental, Emotional, Social and Physical Wellbeing
In Abronhill Primary School and Nursery Class we have a very positive ethos and aim to provide children with an environment that enables them to feel safe, happy, respected and included. We place great emphasis on developing their knowledge and understanding of what it means to be healthy and we encourage them to make informed choices. Children are provided with opportunities to be active and to achieve to the best of their abilities in all areas of school life. We encourage them and provide them with opportunities to develop as successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors.
Our health and wellbeing programme focuses on all children making positive contributions as they learn about self-awareness, self-worth, relationships and respect for others. Children are supported in understanding how they develop physically, socially and emotionally, and we ensure that lessons on subjects such as puberty and substance misuse are handled sensitively. We encourage children to develop a healthy attitude towards food and provide them with opportunities to prepare and cook a range of healthy meals and snacks in our cooking room. We also encourage our children to make positive contributions to their local environment and the wider world.
Each class participates in two P.E. sessions a week. Children have all been provided with P.E. kits by the school and these must be worn on P.E. days. Football strips are unacceptable. We encourage all children to develop a positive attitude towards exercise and to see daily activity as an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. As well as P.E., we work with our active schools coordinator to provide extra curricular sports activities, including football, basketball, dance and athletics. We also have taster sessions from local clubs, such as tae kwon do, to encourage children to access the activities available in our local community. Our senior pupils often provide lunch time clubs for the younger children in the school.
Religious and Moral Education
Through religious and moral education, children develop an awareness and appreciation of the value of all individuals and the importance of having a responsible attitude towards others. We aim to teach the children to respect the beliefs, practices, values and religious traditions of everyone. We study different religions and cultures so that children may become more aware of the similarities and differences between them and focus on the importance of respect and tolerance.
Through focusing on social subjects we aim to provide children with experiences than enhance their knowledge and understanding of their local area and the wider world. Our local environment provides us with a very rich learning context that we utilise through our outdoor learning programme. Educational visits, the use of ICT and a range of texts support the children’s learning experience and enhances their understanding of the diverse world in which we live. Children develop informed attitudes about the past and present through focusing on social subjects that we hope they will further develop in the future.
The Social Studies Experiences and Outcomes are grouped as follows:
- People, Past Events and Societies
- People, Place and the Environment
- People in Society, Economy and Business
STEM (Science, Technologies, Engineering and Maths)
We provide children with opportunities to work collaboratively on a range of investigative tasks. This develops their curiosity and understanding of their environment and the wider world, as well as developing their skills in scientific inquiry and the accurate use of scientific language. The Experiences and Outcomes for science cover the following:
- Planet Earth
- Forces, Electricity and Waves
- Biological Systems
- Topical Science
Learning through technologies allows children to be informed, skilled, thoughtful, adaptable and enterprising citizens. Children are supported in gaining skills and confidence in using technologies to support and enhance their learning. They are provided with opportunities to use ICT in a wide variety of contexts, and are encouraged to be creative and innovative.
Learning through expressive arts enables children to be creative and to express themselves in different ways. In Abronhill Primary School and Nursery Class all children are supported and encouraged in developing their abilities, knowledge and understanding of art and design, music, dance and drama. Developing skills through different aspects of expressive arts is enjoyable for the children and allows them to explore different ways of communicating their ideas, thoughts and feelings, as well as learning to evaluate and appreciate their own and others’ contributions.
There are opportunities for children in the upper stages of the school to receive music instruction from visiting specialists, and we are also able to utilise our links with Cumbernauld Academy to provide the children with a range of interesting activities and experiences. All children have opportunities to perform and present their work in a wide range of contexts in class lessons, assemblies and whole school shows, which are well supported by families and the local community.
A range of approaches are used in Abronhill Primary School and Nursery Class to provide children with opportunities to investigate and explore their learning in a variety of contexts. We have an excellent outdoor learning programme throughout the year which enables them to work on all curricular areas within their local environment. This allows children to develop new skills, to work with children from other classes and to have lots of fun.