A ten point plan to drive forward the delivery of Curriculum for Excellence was unveiled by Education Secretary Michael Russell today. Mr Russell confirmed that the Scottish Government will put a package of support in place – including an additional £3 million – to help make sure every school is ready to implement the new curriculum in the autumn term. The package will put in place:
- Tailored support for any secondary school which needs additional help to be ready for the autumn term. Heads have been invited to tell local authorities and the Scottish Government what help they need. This could include help with CPD, additional materials, expert advice or drawing on the experience of teachers from neighbouring schools who have already fully prepared for the new curriculum
- Additional practical materials for teachers to support implementation and ensure clarity on what is expected
- £3 million funding for councils to help support quality assurance and moderation of assessment. This will see a system of checks to ensure that the assessment of pupils is being applied consistently and in line with national standards
- A proposal for literacy and numeracy units to be built into English and maths qualifications to simplify the system for formally recognising these skills which will be developed across the curriculum
- ‘Excellence Groups’ bringing subject teachers and experts in individual fields – such as the sciences – together to support excellence in education in their subject area and across the curriculum
- HMIE work with education authorities and schools to support their implementation of Curriculum for Excellence with effective innovation promoted through inspections
- A series of events to allow headteachers to share experience and best practice
- A greater role for parents in managing the new curriculum with the National Parent Forum Scotland invited to nominate a member to sit on the management board
- Additional materials for pupils and parents explaining the new curriculum. Mr Russell will also invite the National Parent Forum Scotland and pupil councils to play a leading role in improving communication
- A group, convened by Mr Russell, made up of stakeholders and those with an interest in education to advise on future development of Curriculum for Excellence
Mr Russell said:
“I have been listening to the concerns that have been expressed recently around the new curriculum. I have also taken into account the advice of the Curriculum for Excellence Management Board on the additional support which is required. I have acknowledged those concerns and that advice and today I am acting to address them.
“Schools across Scotland, such as St Mungo’s Academy that I’ve visited today, are well underway with their preparations for Curriculum for Excellence.
“They are responding to the challenges of educating their pupils for a modern world requiring new ways of learning, new skills, creativity and innovation. Many good examples of this are already happening in our schools and change is well underway.
“I want to make sure we harness and drive forward this momentum to deliver the best possible education for our young people. That’s why I am announcing a comprehensive action plan to build confidence, provide support and make sure every school in Scotland is ready to deliver the new curriculum in August.
“I have asked each local authority and school to let me know if they will be ready for implementation in August, for those who are not we will offer support. We will work with HMIE and experienced teachers and headteachers to make sure no school is left struggling.
“We will focus our additional expert support and help where it is needed – for schools and teachers who want a bit more but who also know how important these changes are. This could include practical, teacher-led support to ensure every school is fully prepared.
“I believe it is important that literacy and numeracy are formally recognised, however I also understand concerns about the practicality of having a separate portfolio-based qualification.
“To simplify the system we propose that literacy and numeracy units be built into English and maths courses at SCQF levels 3 to 5 – units that adult learners will be able to take as free standing units to boost their skills. This means employers and others have a clear indication of attainment in literacy and numeracy, whilst making the system clearer and easier to understand.
“I recently announced the new Assessment Framework, and said that would be backed up by resources, today I am confirming an additional £3 million for Local Authorities to help fund the quality assurance and moderation system that underpins the Framework.
“This will all be backed up with further support for schools. We have listened to teachers’ concerns that they need more support and more clarity around exactly what will be expected under the new curriculum. We will provide that clarity and provide additional support, including seminars to enable headteachers to share their experiences and best practice and work with experts to make sure all our curriculum areas are the gold standard in that area.
“What’s more we will give parents a greater say in overseeing the curriculum by inviting the National Parent Forum Scotland to nominate a member of the management board and to work with us to ensure the information we send to parents is as clear as it can be.
“I believe this comprehensive package of measures will make sure Curriculum for Excellence delivers on its full potential and makes sure every child in Scotland benefits from the improved education it offers.”
Mr Russell will discuss the ten point action plan with the Curriculum for Excellence management board when he meets them on April 22, 2010.