Curriculum for Excellence
Bringing learning to life and life to learning
Curriculum for Excellence is across Scotland for all 3-18 year olds – wherever they learn. It aims to raise standards, prepare our children for a future they do not yet know and equip them for jobs of tomorrow in a fast changing world. Teachers and practitioners will share information to plan a child’s ‘learning journey’ from 3-18, helping their progression from nursery to primary, primary to secondary and beyond, ensuring each transition is smooth. They’ll ensure children continue to work at a pace they can cope with and with challenge they can thrive on.
Curriculum for Excellence balances the importance of knowledge and skills.
Every child is entitled to a broad and deep general education, whatever their level and ability. Every single teacher and practitioner will be responsible for the development of literacy and numeracy from Early Level through to Senior Phase.
It develops skills for learning, life and work, bringing real life into the classroom, making learning relevant and helping young people applies lessons to their life beyond the classroom. It links knowledge in one subject area to another, helping make connections in their learning. It develops skills which can enable children to think for themselves, make sound judgements, challenge, enquire and find solutions.
There is an entitlement to personal support to help young people fulfil their potential and make the most of their opportunities with additional support wherever that’s needed. There will be a new emphasis by all staff on looking after our children’s health and wellbeing – to ensure that the school is a place where children feel safe and secure.
Ultimately, Curriculum for Excellence aims to improve our children’s life chances, to nurture successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors, and responsible citizens, building on Scotland’s reputation for great education.
Through Curriculum for Excellence, we provide learning opportunities which ensure: challenge and enjoyment, breadth, progression, depth, personalisation and choice, coherence and relevance.
We plan learning and teaching with our pupils and offer many opportunities for learning in an interdisciplinary context.
It brings real life into the classroom, ensuring learning is relevant and helping young people apply lessons to their life beyond the classroom. Connections in their learning are made by linking knowledge in one subject area to another. It develops skills which can enable children to think for themselves, make sound judgements, challenge, enquire and find solutions.
Our pupils develop their learning, knowledge and skills in the following eight curricular areas
Literacy and Language
Numeracy and Mathematics
Health and Well-Being
Religious and Moral Education
Literacy and Language
Literacy has been defined within Curriculum for Excellence as ‘the set of skills which allows an individual to engage fully in society and in learning, through the different forms of language, and the range of texts, which society values and finds useful’ (Principles and practice: Literacy across learning, 2009).
Literacy permeates the whole curriculum and is central to children’s learning.
Being literate increases opportunities for a child in all aspects of life, lays the foundations for lifelong learning and work, and contributes strongly to the development of all four capacities of Curriculum for Excellence.
Staff will build on the foundation which has been started at home and help them to use language effectively for a variety of purposes.
The literacy framework has three elements:
• listening and talking
Literacy skills will be developed in all subjects and across the eight curriculum areas.
When children are learning to read they need to be taught and learn how to use a vast number of strategies and skills. In Buckstone we plan carefully to ensure that all of these skills are acquired, practised and developed using a wide variety of resource material e.g. reading schemes, library books, eBooks etc.
Writing involves a set of complex skills that will not develop without structured teaching and practice. In Buckstone we use the ‘Big Writing’ approach which is based on child centred, interactive learning with a focus on four core targets of Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers and Punctuation (V.C.O.P)
We teach writing in a structured way to ensure progression, continuity and consistency.
Throughout the school the children use a variety of texts to gain more knowledge about how to improve their own writing. Children read to write and write to read.
Listening and Talking
There are many opportunities given for children in Listening and Talking. Over their primary experience the children will develop skills in conveying information through personal talks, they will be involved in group discussions and will share their experiences, feelings and opinions with others. They will also be given regular opportunities to share their learning at Assembly time.
They will be taught to listen effectively and respond appropriately. As the children progress from P1-P7, the tasks set and responses sought become more complex and demanding.
Numeracy and Mathematics
Numeracy is a vital skill that is important in everyday life. It is about being confident when solving problems, making decisions and analysing situations that involve number. Numeracy is key to lifelong learning, e.g. it enables a young person to understand scientific concepts, interpret figures and understand cause and effect.
In Buckstone children are taught core maths facts and they use these to develop maths skills and concepts and apply these to real life situations.
In numeracy the children will learn through active learning and purposeful play. They will develop problem-solving capabilities through:
• calculating mentally
• explaining their thinking
• using relevant contexts and experiences
• using technology in appropriate and effective ways
• collaborating and learning independently
In teaching Numeracy and Mathematics we encourage children to think and reason for themselves and also enjoy the challenges and creativity of maths. There are opportunities for children to develop their maths knowledge, skills and understanding in other curricular areas.
Health and Wellbeing
Health and Wellbeing promotes positive attitudes to healthy living and ensures pupils develop the skills they need for good mental, emotional, social and physical wellbeing now and in the future.
Part of Health and Wellbeing is Physical Education and Ms Hastie, our specialist teacher, is in school on Mondays and Tuesdays. Class teachers also teach weekly lessons to meet the 2 hour entitlement. Pupils in P3 also have swimming lessons for planned blocks in the year.
Part of the Health and Wellbeing curriculum is Personal and Social Development which includes positive behaviour, self esteem, sex education , drug education , personal safety and anti bullying. Parents will be informed when any ‘sensitive’ topics are to be covered.
Our residential experiences are a valuable part of the children’s development. P5 have a three day visit to Broomlee Outdoor Centre at West Linton while P7 spend five days at Lagganlia Outdoor Centre, Kingussie.
Expressive Arts encompasses the areas of Art, Drama, Dance and Music. In each area children will be given the opportunity to use materials, techniques, skills and media; express feelings, ideas, thoughts and solutions; and evaluate and appreciate their own and others’ work. We welcome visitors in school who will share their talents with the children and we also visit the theatre, concert halls and art galleries to promote diversity.
Children may also have tuition in brass or cello. Selection is carried out in accordance with the City of Edinburgh guidelines and takes place in P4 for cello and P6 for brass.
Religious and Moral Education
We follow a programme of themes to develop the children’s understanding of the major world faiths and moral issues.
Children are encouraged to think for themselves and develop tolerance through finding out about other people’s beliefs. Assemblies aim to increase pupils’ understanding of themselves by reflecting on their own lives, those of others and the world in which we all live.
Parents and religious leaders make up our religious observance team. A list of topics for Assemblies can be found on our website
Social Studies, Technologies and Science
Through social studies, children and young people develop their understanding of the world by learning about other people and their values. They usually involve a project-based approach to learning. As well as developing skills and knowledge, children will develop informed attitudes about respecting the world around them and promoting active citizenship.
The children will learn to develop their skills to investigate, interpret, record and present their findings. Throughout these studies, it is hoped that informed attitudes to the environment will be engendered.
When appropriate, classes will go on educational excursions to enrich the learning experience.
Some studies may last several weeks, others have a shorter focus.
1 + 2 Modern Languages
You will be aware of the Scottish Government Initiative which encourages school to teach an additional language from Nursery, then a second additional language from P5-P7.
Boroughmuir, our cluster High School, has chosen French and German as our 2 languages, with French being taught from Nursery and German being taught more intensively from P6. We are also extremely fortunate to be part of a cluster project learning Mandarin in P5. Children then have the option to continue this in S1.
The initiative happens in all three cluster primary schools.
French will be taught from Nursery to P4.
P5 will be taught Mandarin.
P6 and 7 will be taught French and German.
Pupils practise listening, talking, reading and writing, learning to use personal language through discussion, the use of computer software and other teaching resources.
ICT to enhance learning
Information and Communications Technology plays an important part in our curriculum; children have opportunities for learning through ICT and in ICT.
Significant emphasis will be placed on learning through ICT, using ICT to improve pupils’ knowledge, understanding and skills in a range of curricular areas and subjects.
We have a wide range of equipment to engage and enhance the children’s learning experiences – these include iPads, laptops, video cameras, digital cameras and animation equipment. Every classroom has an interactive whiteboard.
Interactive Whiteboards are available in all classes. They have been highly successful in :
engaging pupils in their learning.
motivating them through their enjoyment of demonstrating their knowledge on the interactive whiteboard.
encouraging a higher level of pupil interaction in both teacher-directed and group-based lessons
enhancing knowledge retention by making lessons more memorable as pupils are more engaged and motivated in class.
accommodating different learning styles – visual learners benefit from note-taking, diagrams and manipulating objects or symbols on the large screen, whilst kinaesthetic and tactile learners can reinforce learning through exercises involving touch, movement and space on the interactive whiteboard.
Learning and Teaching
Research shows that children learn in a variety of learning styles and through a variety of teaching approaches. We want our children to develop vital skills and knowledge and a positive attitude to learning. We use many learning and teaching approaches and within this we aim to make learning as active as possible.
It is important to us that our children are happy and motivated to learn and that this attitude is the focus for learning and teaching.
In each curricular area children will work as a class, in groups and as individuals. There are also many opportunities for children to work with other classes and teachers.
Curriculum for Excellence emphasises the value of an active learning approach. In the early years, children will have a range of learning experiences that include planned and purposeful play and stimulating learning which engages and challenges children’s thinking using real life and imaginary situations. As children progress through school they continue to be involved in active learning experiences which are engaging and give them ownership of their own learning.
Planning Children’s Learning
Teachers share their learning intentions with pupils and parents. This takes place on a day-to-day basis, by agreeing the aims of an individual piece of work.
Staff at each stage work collaboratively to complete longer term plans to ensure a parity of experience across each stage. Targets are set with the children in their learning stories over the course of the year and these are shared with parents.
Also please click here to access information about Curriculum for Excellence on the Education Scotland website.