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Schools - curriculum


About Curriculum for Excellence

The purpose of the programme is to improve the learning, attainment and achievement of young people in Scotland. It is also about ensuring that pupils achieve on a broad front, not just in terms of examinations. It is important to ensure that children and young people are acquiring the full range of skills and abilities relevant to growing, living and working in the contemporary world. They will enjoy greater choice and opportunity to help them realise their individual talents.   Curriculum for Excellence establishes clear values, purposes and principles for education from 3 to 18 in Scotland.

Purposes of the curriculum from 3-18:

To enable all young people to become:

successful learners


  • enthusiasm and motivation for learning
  • determination to reach high standards of achievement
  • openness to new thinking and ideas      

and able to

  • use literacy, communication and numeracy skills
  • use technology for learning
  • think creatively and independently
  • learn independently and as part of a group
  • make reasoned evaluations
  • link and apply different kinds of learning in new situations.      

confident individuals


  • self respect
  • a sense of physical, mental and emotional wellbeing
  • secure values and beliefs
  • ambition

and able to

  • relate to others and manage themselves
  • pursue a healthy and active lifestyle
  • be self aware
  • develop and communicate their own beliefs and view of the world
  • live as independently as they can
  • assess risk and take informed decisions
  • achieve success in different areas of activity.      

responsible citizens


  • respect for others
  • commitment to participate responsibly in political, economic, social and cultural life      

and able to

  • develop knowledge and understanding of the world and Scotland's place in it
  • understand different beliefs and cultures
  • make informed choices and decisions
  • evaluate environmental, scientific and technological issues
  • develop informed, ethical views of complex issues.      

effective contributors


  • an enterprising attitude
  • resilience
  • self-reliance

and able to

  • communicate in different ways and in different settings
  • work in partnership and in teams
  • take the initiative and lead
  • apply critical thinking in new contexts
  • create and develop
  • solve problems

For further information please consult the relevant policies - see 'Online Tools' and the related websites on the right.

Updated: 30/09/11


Frequently Asked Questions

Click a question to see the answer.

What is the National Curriculum?

The National Curriculum provides a structured continuum of learning for all pupils in which they progressively learn about the world and learn from their experience of it. This will involve pupils in a systematic study of language, mathematics, environmental studies, expressive arts, religious and moral education, ICT, health, and personal and social development (PSD).

What subjects are taught at primary schools?

The main areas of tuition at primary schools include: English Language, Mathematics, Environmental Studies, Expressive Arts (Music, Art, and so on), and Religious Education.