CfE and Employers

Many people ask how business and employers are reacting to Curriculum for Excellence, which is why I thought it was worth sharing the press release below from Scottish Government on this very issue:


Big business backs changes to Scottish curriculum

Scottish businesses have backed changes implemented to the school curriculum saying it will help attract investment in Scotland and ultimately grow the economy. The new Curriculum for Excellence has been rolled out in all nursery, primary and secondary schools across the country since August. It aims to raise standards of learning and teaching, building on the strengths of the Scottish education system, and ensuring it’s relevant to the skills required for life and work in the 21st century.

Lauren McNicol, policy executive at CBI Scotland, said Curriculum for Excellence will deliver young people with the skills employers need for the future. She said: “Investment in learning and skills is vital if Scotland is to prosper and continue to attract investment and businesses from other parts of the UK and from overseas.
“We support the aspirations of Curriculum for Excellence which will develop four critical capacities central to the ability of businesses to grow the Scottish economy –employability skills such as problem solving, communications, teamwork.

“In particular, we recognise and support the aims of Determined to Succeed and expect that enterprise and enterprising education will be sustained within the framework of Curriculum for Excellence.”

Curriculum for Excellence places a focus on literacy and numeracy with all teachers now responsible for both within their own subjects. It also encourages teachers to make links with the real world to make learning more relevant with the world outside the classroom.

Employers regularly say their top five requirements in new recruits are literacy and numeracy skills, good communication skills, time management and problem solving abilities – all skills Curriculum for Excellence will help raise standards in.

New qualifications, the National 4 and 5, are also being developed to reflect the way the new curriculum is taught, and will offer pupils, parents and employers a streamlined system which is easier to understand. These will be implemented in 2013/14.

Banking giant HSBC employs more than 3,000 people across Scotland. Terry McKechnie, regional services manager is responsible for recruiting staff across the bank’s network of branches. He believes the changes will help young people link theory and knowledge with the hands-on skills also required in the work place.
He said: “From an employer’s perspective, I welcome the approach to learning taken by the new Curriculum for Excellence as it aims to give practical application to academic learning, which I think is extremely valuable.

“For us it’s extremely important that applicants can demonstrate the ability to listen and take on new information, as well as having good communication skills, to allow them to disseminate information to both customers and colleagues. Teamwork naturally plays a big part in this and is another key skill we look for.

“Beyond academic achievements, I like to see attributes such as integrity and tenaciousness and regularly look for involvement in a broad range of extra-curricular activities, such as volunteering. I believe this is extremely desirable as it shows the applicant has demonstrated a willingness to broaden their life experiences.”

The UK’s largest power network, EDF Energy, is also behind the changes. Paul Winkle, station director of Torness Power Station said: “At EDF Energy we look for candidates who show commitment and have an enthusiastic approach to development. Numeracy and literacy are important skills in all careers, but we are also looking for young people who understand the world they live in and strive for excellence.

“We need young people who have respect for individuals and their environment and are interested in leading the energy change.”

Internationally renowned educationalist have also hailed Curriculum for Excellence as a model for other countries to follow. Richard Gerver and Eric Booth have described Scotland as a world leader in creative education.