It’s got to be more than motherhood and apple-pie!

“Motherhood and apple-pie” is a phrase used to describe something which is virtuous, heart warming, unassailable and praise worthy.

A Curriculum for Excellence (ACfE) sets out the “four capacities”  where young people are to be enabled to become:

  1. Successful Learners
  2. Effective Contributors
  3. Confident Individuals
  4. Responsible Citizens

Who could possibly disagree with an educational inititiative which espoused such noble intentions? They are undoubtedly unassailable, heart-warming, virtous and praise worthy – QED – “motherhood and apple pie”.

But what worries me is that you can’t base an educational shift the scale of A Curriculum for Excellence simply by ritual incantation of the “four capacities”.

I’ve explored on a number of occasions the challenges facing ACfE – these challenges are no less today than they ever have been. That’s why we need to think beyond “motherhood and apple-pie” if we are to ensure that this singular opportunity to step beyond the status quo is not to be lost.

To that end we’ve been working on some harder nosed descriptors of actions which might complement the four capacities.

A Curriculum for Excellence – what will it mean for my child?

  1. We will give your child the best possible start by working in partnership with you to develop their enthusiasm and confidence as learners, e.g pre-school, nursery, and early years of primary school.
  2. We will work together to ensure that your child is literate by the end of P6  (if a child can’t read by that age their ability to access the rest of their curriculum is severly limited).
  3. We will ensure that your child develops confidence and competence in numeracy in all parts of their curriculum.
  4. We will maintain a strong focus on your child’s health and well-being throughout their school career.
  5. Your child will get the chance to personalise their own curriculum to enable them to follow their own interests and passions.
  6. We will recognise and encourage your child’s wider achievements – both in and out of school.
  7. We will create a secondary school curriculum which builds upon your child’s primary school experience.
  8. The first three years at secondary school will focus upon ensuring that your child has developed a set of skills for life, work and learning which will make them “employable”.
  9. We will create an upper secondary school curriculum which will enable your child to have a much greater chance of maximising their success in formal qualifications, preparing them for further academic work, or leading them directly towards employment.
  10. We will ensure that your child’s upper secondary school experience is “outward” facing to prepare them for joining society, their local community, higher/further education and the world of work.





4 thoughts on “It’s got to be more than motherhood and apple-pie!

  1. That sounds like a promising set of promises.

    Do you think you might be pressed by parents for a more specific definition of “literate” – as promised in the second point? Does it simply mean “having achieved the reading age of a P6 pupil?” Could there be occasions where it simply won’t be possible without the parents already being prepared for that outcome?

  2. Alan

    We do qualify the statement by excepting those with specific learning difficulties.

    Your right about the definition of literacy but for the purposes of getting the message across I’ve stuck with this simplistic version.

  3. I think I can understand why you don’t mention Levels here, but just out of interest, where do you think you would put ‘literate’? Would you make it a Level C? I think I probably would myself. I’m teaching around this Level at the moment in P5 and enjoying it very much, (when not too exhausted!)

  4. Your ninth point is the only one which seems to criticise what happens at present, ar at least to pose the question “much greater than what?” Is that deliberate?

    Should it not say
    “We will create an upper secondary school curriculum which will enable your child to maximise their success in formal qualifications, preparing them for further academic work or leading them directly towards employment.

Comments are closed.