Process of change

Curriculum for Excellence embodies a new way of working. It recognises that sustained and meaningful improvement should, to a significant extent, be shaped and owned by those who will put it into practice.

Improving Scottish Education, HM Inspectors, 2009

To ensure that Scotland's children and young people gain the knowledge, skills and attributes needed for life throughout the 21st century we require a curriculum that capitalises fully on the professionalism of teachers and practitioners.

Timeline of the process of change

2002 – National Debate on Education
A consultation to determine what was working well and what needed to change in school education. Teachers and educationists recognised that there was a need to offer more engaging and relevant experiences to ensure that Scotland's children and young people were equipped for life and work in a globalised society.

2003 - Curriculum Review Group established
The Curriculum Review Group was established by Scottish Executive Ministers to identify the key principles to be applied in the curriculum redesign for ages 3-18.  It looked at evidence of practice, research, international comparisons and global, local, economic and social changes.

2004 - A Curriculum for Excellence
A Curriculum for Excellence was published in November 2004 as a result of the work of the Curriculum Review Group, together with the Ministerial response. This provided explicit aims for education in Scotland and principles for curriculum redesign. The Curriculum Review Programme Board was established.

2005 - Research and review process
Research was commissioned and practitioners drawn from different sectors of education and from around the country were seconded to Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS) to review existing guidelines and research findings, hold focus groups with practitioners and begin the process of developing simpler, prioritised curriculum guidelines.

2006 - Progress and Proposals published and Building the Curriculum series begun
The Progress and Proposals document set out key features of the new curriculum. The Building the Curriculum publications provide guidance on how different aspects of the curriculum contribute to the aims of Curriculum for Excellence.

2007 to 2008 - Draft experiences and outcomes published
The draft experiences and outcomes were published in stages. Teachers and all those with an interest in children and young people’s learning were encouraged to reflect on the draft experiences and outcomes and feed their comments back through an extensive engagement process. Findings were also fed back from trialling activities and from focus groups

2008 – Analysis of feedback and responses
All feedback was analysed by the University of Glasgow and actions were identified to respond to the issues raised. There was then a process of refinement, further development, consultation and quality assurance.

2009 - Publication of the new curriculum guidelines
Following further quality assurance processes, the new curriculum guidelines were published for implementation.

2009 to 2011 - Planning and implementation
Schools will be planning throughout 2009-10 for implementation of the new curriculum in 2010-11.

Education Scotland will continue to support the profession, local authorities, schools and teachers in developing Curriculum for Excellence during this period and beyond.

More from Education Scotland

  • Management Board

    The Curriculum for Excellence Management Board has overall responsibility for ensuring that the programme of curriculum change is delivered.