Curriculum areas and subjects

Chemistry experiment

The curriculum areas are the organisers for ensuring that learning takes place across a broad range of contexts, and offer a way of grouping experiences and outcomes under recognisable headings.

The experiences and outcomes describe the expectations for learning. Taken together, experiences and outcomes across the curriculum areas sum up national aspirations for every young person: the knowledge and understanding, skills, capabilities and attributes we hope they will develop.

'Building the Curriculum 1' focuses on the curriculum areas, each of which makes its own unique contribution to developing the four capacities. Each does so both within its own disciplinary contexts and through connections with other areas of learning.

The eight curriculum areas are:

  • Expressive arts
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Languages
  • Mathematics
  • Religious and moral education
  • Sciences
  • Social studies
  • Technologies

Curriculum areas are not structures for timetabling: establishments and partnerships have the freedom to think imaginatively about how the experiences and outcomes might be organised and planned for in creative ways which encourage deep, sustained learning and which meet the needs of their children and young people.

Subjects are an essential feature of the curriculum, particularly in secondary school. They provide an important and familiar structure for knowledge, offering a context for specialists to inspire, stretch and motivate.

Throughout a young person's learning there will be increasing specialisation and greater depth, which will lead to subjects increasingly being the principal means of structuring learning and delivering outcomes.

Experiences and outcomes

The experiences and outcomes describe the expectations for learning and progression in all areas of the curriculum.

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.

They describe learning which has a clear purpose at levels from early to fourth in the acquiring of knowledge and the establishment of understanding. They also support the development of skills and attributes.

Important themes such as enterprise, citizenship, sustainable development, international education and creativity need to be developed in a range of contexts. Learning relating to these themes is therefore built in to the experiences and outcomes across the curriculum areas. This approach reduces the need for other layers of planning across the curriculum.

More from Education Scotland

Details of all eight curriculum areas, including the principles and practice for each area, guidance to get started, links to the experiences and outcomes and information about National Qualifications.

A graphic of the promotional banner for the My Experiences and Outcomes website