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Education - Scotland - Curriculum for Excellence

(73 Posts)
Roseformeplease Wed 21-Mar-12 10:33:41

Anyone have any views on this? Pupils currently in S2 are going to be guinea pigs for the new qualifications which they will sit in 2014 and yet schools still only have these qualifications in draft form. Anyone else concerned?

S3Worries Thu 09-May-13 12:55:30

WorriedScot My child will be doing Chemistry in S4, starting soon. The school is limiting them to 6 subjects in total so I suppose they will have more time per subject than previously was the case. Should I take that as one reason to worry a bit less?

Does anyone know what the private schools who use the Scottish qualifications will do once Intermediate 2 goes?

WorriedScot Sun 05-May-13 16:23:08

At a recent SQA update meeting for Chemistry we were told in no uncertain terms that pupils must follow a broad general curriculum until 4th year. This means that able pupils with the intention of doing highers in the sciences will suddenly be presented with a dumbed down (but still difficult) version of Intermediate 2, the new National 5 with little prior knowledge or understanding of the subject.
In one year they will have to learn the material that had previously taken two years for credit standard grade. They will go on to higher course in 5th year with a more limited understanding.
At a lower level the National 4 course will be marked internally!
To get an insight on how teachers feel about CfE follow the link below.

The Scottish opinion page is also worth reading.

HelpOneAnother Mon 12-Nov-12 13:33:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Roseformeplease Sun 11-Nov-12 20:27:18

I started this thread ages ago and wondered if anyone had any updates on what is going on in different areas. Mine still seems to be going with an "It's up to the school policy" but that might change. Nothing really decided and lots of disquiet from parents across the region. SQA still haven't fully released exam specifications / exemplars and the last batch of information is not due until April. Worryingly little about this n the press as well, considering its importance, although there has been a recent flurry of commentary linked with improving entry requirements for teachers.

Daisyeight Tue 09-Oct-12 17:37:17

I've read this thread with interest and wonder why it stopped in April??

Trying to get to grips with CfE and have a feeling that the impact is only just becoming apparent to those who will be directly affected.

My eldest child will be taking 8 N5's at the end of S4 but the situation will be very different for my youngest who is currently P7 and will very likely be "dumbed down" to 6.

There does not seem to be a consistent approach to Senior Phase (S4-S6) implementation across Scotland - does anyone have any idea what the national picture really is?

freerangeeggs Sun 22-Apr-12 02:08:20

wigglybeezer, I don't think that would be allowed these days. I'm pretty sure soc ed is compulsory, as is a certain amount of PE. Not sure about RE.

All this group work stuff is bizarre. It was always my understanding that CfE is a kind of educational philosophy, not a method. It's about active, constructivist learning, and I think that's where teachers are getting confused. Active learning doesn't mean kids are 'active' in a physical sense - it means they're actively engaged and learning, which could occur on their own, with a textbook, as well as in a group/running around the school hunting for clues or whatever nonsense. The teachers must be exhausted

wigglybeezer Tue 17-Apr-12 22:41:45

Well they are calling it 3+3 at DS1's school as they are keeping the curricullum broad in third year (ie. 10 subjects). before moving to eight for exams in fourth year.

Snow woman, I agree with the increase in group work being difficult for children with ASD, sometimes DS2's teachers let him work in a group of one!

At my school you could do three sciences by skipping PE, soc ed and RE to do "extra" chemistry, I did it very happily grin.

freerangeeggs Tue 17-Apr-12 21:38:20

For Dentistry at Glasgow Uni:

AAAAB in five different subjects by the end of S6, with at least AABB at end of first sitting in S5. Higher subjects must include Biology and Chemistry (both at grade A) with either Mathematics or Physics. Higher English is required.

For medicine it's the same but there is also a stipulation about having SG English at a 2.

In my experience, Scottish schools where 3 sciences are an option are the exception rather than the rule.

I really don't think it will be an issue because it's highers that are important to universities. I imagine the universities will be happy to take into account the limitations of school policies (even Oxbridge look at the pupils' results in context) in order to find the best students.

Please don't suggest the English system is better. I've taught in both and I can assure you it's not.

Curriculum for Excellence should be a great thing. However, it seems to have been implemented really, really badly.

SnowWoman Tue 17-Apr-12 21:26:47

We are in EastRen, hence the not doing CfE for S2. DD2 currently in S2 is doing 8 intermediates. I suspect by the time dd3 gets to that stage they will be doing CfE.

Parts of CfE at primary level, I can see are going to be a real improvement, but I do worry about SN children, particularly the ASD children who find school difficult enough without being forced into perpetual group work.

At my kids school, the children choose subjects at the end of S1, which is very early in my view, but does seem to have worked for my older 3. They currently seem to work a 1+3+2 pattern so a shift to a 3+3 will be a fair shock to the system and they may not have enough specialist staff in place to teach a 3+3 curriculum yet. The argument for the early subject choice was EastRen's answer to the S2/3 slump in attainment and behaviour from children not being sufficiently challenged or interested in school and switching off.

As regards University entrance, what the individual departments say is much more important than the prospectus which ime only gives minimum entrance information. Students are going to need the 5 As in one sitting as they do now, unless of course the hidden agenda is to force the universities into line too,

I work in an independent school - head not keen on CfE, no idea what exams we will be teaching to in 5 years time

harki Tue 17-Apr-12 20:06:26

Tumbleweedblowing : Aberdeenshire ! Several schools doing 8 in s4 .

tumbleweedblowing Tue 17-Apr-12 18:37:46

So wiggly, does that mean that in effect they are sticking with a 2+2+2 configuration, and not really moving to the 3+3?

I'm happy for my DCs to move to 3+3, but think (actually feel very strongly) that it should be uniform across the country. It really pains me that DCs here will only be able to drop one subject between N5 and Highers. So little flexibility, and so young to have to make such huge decisions. How many people know what they want to do with their lives at the age of 14?

Perhaps in some ways it might be more straightforward for the few who know they want to go into eg Medicine, where the path is clear, and absolute. Everyone else is left with much less wiggle room. On top of that they have the increasing numbers of foreign students the universities will have to take to maintain funding, and those from English schools, for whom study in Scotland is only fractionally more expensive than at home.

wigglybeezer Tue 17-Apr-12 18:04:29

Tumbleweed, at the risk of outing myself I will tell you that My DS's school is in Perth and Kinross and is not a city school, as I said before DS1 is doing 10 subjects in S3 and 8 subjects in S4.

Waswondering Tue 17-Apr-12 17:46:14

tumble - if you go onto the UoA homepage and tyepe "medicine going rates" in the top search box it comes up with a powerpoint presentation with all the info - including that there are 2.5 applicants for every place, but suggestions of how to demonstrate interest in the subject. HTH

tumbleweedblowing Tue 17-Apr-12 17:33:55

Thank you.

Waswondering Tue 17-Apr-12 17:13:53

tumbleweed blowing: Uni of Aberdeen medical admission -

S5 studies:
To be considered: AAAAB to be achieved in five Highers taken together in S5 at the first sitting.
•Chemistry required to grade B minimum
•Two subjects required from Biology/Human Biology, Maths & Physics
•Two further Highers in most other subjects. Check with Medical Admissions Office if in doubt about suitability of a subject.

If one of the required subjects is not undertaken in S5 due to e.g. school policy or very exceptional personal difficulties, supporting documentation must be supplied and sent directly to the Medical Admissions Office when application is submitted

"Minimum Academic Requirements

The majority of successful candidates achieve the minimum academic requirements at the first sitting.

We do not normally consider applicants who have achieved less than our minimum academic requirements or who are re-sitting their examinations to upgrade results unless very serious personal difficulties at the time of the first sitting can be demonstrated. Appropriate supporting documentation therefore must be supplied from:
•Academic tutors to verify very exceptional extenuating circumstances that have been declared at the time of the first sitting leading to this underachievement, plus
•Other professional bodies that have had appropriate involvement with the applicant's difficulties (e.g. hospital/GP certification)

Note: The majority of successful applicants have achieved AAAAB or better at first sitting, normally in S5.

To be considered, any serious personal difficulties experienced at the time of undertaking an examination must be declared at the time and validated immediately. This will allow for support for an academic appeal for a lower than expected result. Retrospective claims for extenuating circumstances will not be considered after receipt of a low result."


tumbleweedblowing Tue 17-Apr-12 16:31:17

harki could you say what area you live in? Not exactly obviously, but what council area? Our rector says only East Renfrew "and the like" (!!!!) will go with 8, but I don't believe him.

harki Tue 17-Apr-12 14:18:22

It's a shame that people would have to consider moving their child to another school and shouldn't be necessary. Every child in Scotland should be offered exactly the same chances in education regardless of what area they live in . A school in my area but not that close was going down the route of 6 nat 4/5 , but the parent council kicked up a fuss and threatened legal action if it wasn't changed to 8. ( wealthy area ) In our school we have 8 subjects in s3 but 8th subject is only for 2 hrs/wk and those doing 3 sciences will have to choose this to fit in the extra science. Which is a shame if that's what your child is keen to do . Then dropping 2 subjects in s4 .

wigglybeezer Tue 17-Apr-12 13:07:24

Marjory, that certainly seems to be the case here (but then we are near an authority border ).

Mind you there was considerable variety in the way schools organized the existing exam timetables; I rejected our catchment high school because they had to choose subject choices at the end of first year, then sit standard grades in third year then two years to do highers. It wouldn't have suited my lot especially DS2 who has Aspergers, dyslexia and is young for his year but also aspires to do academic subjects, I expect him to spend most of frist year just getting used to the environment.

tumbleweedblowing Tue 17-Apr-12 10:17:15

Placing requests may well increase in the central belt, or close to local authority borders. However, in some areas children would be facing very long, maybe 40 or 50 mile round trips to get to an authority offering more N5s, or it would just be impossible.

For us, I hear the neighbouring authority were considering 5, but allowing schools to be flexible. As far as I can gather though, that is not confirmed.

Another concern is that schools in our authority have all just had their timetables brought in line. This is to allow "shared timetables". ie pupils facing travelling (in our case) 5 or 6 miles to a neighbouring secondary to receive lessons in subjects not available at our school. It has been mooted that this would not be eg a niche subject like Latin, but everyday subjects like Physics, or History.

We might consider moving DD1, but we've only lived here 2 years, and I worry badly that another move would devastate her, when she is only just establishing solid friendships.

I honestly don't know what we can do other than worry.

margerykemp Tue 17-Apr-12 09:39:05

I can see a massive increase in placing requests coming from this. Parents won't want their local school if it offers a more limited curriculum than a neighbouring one. I do think CfE will benefit low performers more than the current system but the very academic are getting shafted. Wouldn't surprise me if the professional courses at Scottish unis in 5 years are full of English students and private school pupils ONLY.

tumbleweedblowing Tue 17-Apr-12 09:22:03

So parents and children currently in P7/S1/S2 are completely stitched up then?

Councils set the agenda and employ the teachers. Government can't admit their policy is flawed. National Parent Forum is not representative of parents, and even if it were, the subject is really on the radar of only a few.

I'm interested to see what has been said above about entry to Medicine etc. I raised this very subject with the Rector at DD1's school, and was told categorically by him that I was mistaken in believing that three sciences, or AAAAA or AAAAB in one sitting were being looked for.

Do the Universities publish, or release information on the qualifications at entry? I am absolutely not saying that I think DD1 would do medicine, or vet med, or any other high tariff course of study. However that the school she attends cannot even provide for that possibility, is completely, completely wrong, on the most basic of levels.

We are not in the central belt, so there are almost no private schools here. Even if there were, I'm not sure we could afford to opt out of the state system without selling the house. I feels fundamentally wrong that we should even have to consider that. It just isn't what Scotland is supposed to be about.

crosscountry Mon 16-Apr-12 22:11:39


That's a really good point about homogenous school populations. So much for meeting individual needs.


The National Parent Forum is just another mouthpiece for Mike Russell (& Bookbird?) They will not listen to parents.

wigglybeezer Mon 16-Apr-12 21:38:27

The independent schools are actually carrying on in the same vein as usual AFAIK and adding in other qualifications where needed ie. GCSE Latin/Greek.

Waswondering Mon 16-Apr-12 20:58:35

Our LA had a parent forum meeting at the end of last term where a lot of these concerns raised - but there was particular concern about how the independents were going to proceed with these (given their academic freedom).

harki Mon 16-Apr-12 20:44:14

Yes vet /med schools will need 5A's in 1 sitting plus plenty of relevant extra-curricular activities/ work . They don't have to accept less because theres so many kids to choose from with those good results. My biggest problem with this new system is not the change but the inequality across Scotland with regard to the number of subjects being chosen in individual schools. How is this being allowed to happen . I have questioned the authorities through my local MSP and the answers are vague to say the least.

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