Debate over new curriculum phase

Councillors have endorsed a report updating them on the implementation of the senior phase of the Curriculum for Excellence in Aberdeenshire.

It followed a debate about how the new system would work and on concerns raised by some parents.

The senior phase of the new national curriculum is in the process of being introduced after guidelines agreed by education councillors in June.

For young people in Scotland’s secondary schools, the Curriculum for Excellence structure will see them study a wide range of subjects to provide a broad general education until the end of S3, at which point they will move into the senior phase.

Standard Grade qualifications which used to be studied over S3 and S4 will not exist after the academic session 2012/13 but will be replaced by National Qualifications which can be studied at any time during S4–S6, alongside Highers and Advanced Highers.

The senior phase of Curriculum for Excellence will begin in academic session 2013/14 and will affect all S4 pupils across Scotland.

A senior representative from national body Education Scotland is to be invited to attend the committee in February to clarify the guidance issued to local authorities.

Councillors also agreed to the formation of a working group consisting of parents, teachers, council officers and other representatives as appropriate, to review what is happening in each school and support them in moving forward with implementation.

Education, Learning and Leisure Committee chair Councillor Isobel Davidson said: “Members discussed the implementation of the senior phase in depth at today’s meeting, the outcome of which I hope addressed and clarified a number of points which have been raised in relation to the Curriculum for Excellence.

“The council is committed to providing our young people with the best education we can and I feel that today’s discussion reaffirmed that we are doing everything reasonable to ensure we get it right for every child.

“We have agreed a number of recommendations designed to improve engagement with parents and constantly review the implementation process. We are certainly not being complacent and will continue to strive to ensure the new curriculum serves the individual needs of our pupils.”