Learning from the Curriculum for Excellence

I've just jumped onto the train, having spent the day at Holyrood's "Learning from the Curriculum for Excellence" conference. Here are a few of the bits of information that stuck in my head.

Bill Maxwell, Education Scotland
  • We need people who are good at learning
  • The 4 capacities are just as relevant in the senior phase
  • The centre is not looking to impose one curriculum model for the senior phase (but authorities may be I guess!)
  • BTC skills document is the least read (but I heard someone later describing it as gobbledygook! ).
  • Pathways are good for high attainers, not so good for lowest attaining 20%
  • We need to challenge  unspoken assumptions. 
  • CFE is designed to be a flexible model for development that will work for decades
  • Senior Phase needs to be planned across an an authority, working with FE colleges, local employers and other partners
  • We need to do a better job of communicating CfE rationale to parents and pupils

Janet Brown, SQA

  • SQA are conscious that new qualifications must match expectations of CfE - must not be simply tests that leaners are trained to pass
  • Vocational and academic qualifications have equal status in terms of SCQF levels - this is unusual internationally, and a strength of our system
  • New structure is very clear for employers
  • New "Awards" can be delivered at S3 - RBV, Personal Development Award etc
  • High external verification in years 1 to 3, in November, February and May, with over 2000 staff nominated to support this.
  • QA "intelligence led", with a partnership approach
Tony McDaid, former HT Calderglen HS
  • Curriculum should be defined around vision, but developing a vision takes time!
  • strength based school, not a deficit model
  • improvement focused on pedagogy: AfL; Active Learning; ICT to support learning; joined up skills development across school; resilient learners
  • IDL with progression - S2 out of timetable for a month, doing projects
Dr Alasdair Allan MSP
  • "We are seeing a variety of approaches to Senior Phase, and rightly so"
Iain Ellis - chair of National Parents Forum Scotland
  • "Nationals in a Nutshell" and "Learning Journeys" on the website
  • secondary schools are not utilising the resource that parents represent
  • all pupils should learn a second language in primary
University Speakers
  • 9 universities have published papers on revised admissions policies
  • "Beyond the Senior Phase" paper on Universities Scotland website
  • 25% of Glasgow Uni places filled through programmes to support access from deprived areas
  • Edinburgh Uni is abandoning consideration of Nat 5 awards in admissions
  • Edinburgh only needs 3 Highers to be sat concurrently
  • Edinburgh is about to publish position on Lifeskills 5 maths
  • Glasgow Uni has three tier system based on Highers - "Guaranteed Unconditional Offer, "Immediate Rejection" and "Gathered Field" in the middle

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