The 2015 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Review advised that Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) was the right approach for Scotland in the 21st Century and that there was a requirement for a strong fresh narrative to ‘powerfully help galvanise activity and enthusiasm’.

A narrative resource was created as a result, revisiting the initial CfE narrative and setting it within the current context. The resource is designed to stimulate and support ongoing and future thinking about the curriculum:

  • To celebrate the successes of CfE and build confidence for future development;
  • To maximise and develop opportunities to meet the aspirations of our learners;
  • To stimulate fresh thinking about Scotland's curriculum;
  • To engage in professional dialogue in curriculum design and inspire, share and nurture innovation.

It is available in both English and in Gaelic.

Scotland’s approach

Curriculum for Excellence places learners at the heart of education. At its centre are four fundamental capacities. These capacities reflect and recognise the lifelong nature of education and learning. The four capacities are aimed at helping children and young people to become:

  • Successful learners
  • Confident individuals
  • Responsible citizens
  • Effective contributors


What matters?

Four contexts

As part of their learner journey, all children and young people in Scotland are entitled to experience a coherent curriculum from 3 to 18, in order that they have opportunities to develop the knowledge, skills, and attributes they need to adapt, think critically and flourish in today’s world. That totality can be planned for and experienced by learners across four contexts.

Curriculum Entitlements

Children and young people’s rights and entitlements are central to Scotland’s curriculum and every child and young person is entitled to experience:

  • a curriculum which is coherent from 3 to 18;
  • a broad general education, including well-planned experiences and outcomes across all the curriculum areas from early years through to S3. This includes understanding the world, Scotland’s place in it and the environment, referred to as Learning for Sustainability;
  • a senior phase after S3, which provides opportunities to attain and achieve, including to study for qualifications, awards and other planned activities to develop the four capacities;
  • opportunities for developing skills for learning, skills for life and skills for work;
  • opportunities to maximise their individual potential, benefiting from appropriate personal support and challenge;
  • support to help them move into positive and sustained destinations beyond school.

How we do it

Taking curricular aims and translating them into practice is a continuous process. Getting this right is critical and this diagram sets out key considerations, activities, and ways of working to support the process of curriculum making.

Case Study:

Duke of Edinburgh- Scotland
We were delighted to sit down with Duke of Edinburgh (Scotland) in January 2020, to discuss the ways they are using the CfE Refreshed Narrative to embed key messages in their programmes.


Where can I find other resources on the curriculum?

Education Scotland has a wide range of resources available to support:

  • Resources to support the Refreshed Narrative for Scotland’s Curriculum – We now have downloadable four capacities cards, key messages from Refreshed Narrative and powerpoints that can be used for your planning sessions.
  • Benchmarks – The Curriculum for Excellence Benchmarks set out clear statements about what learners need to know and be able to do to achieve a level across all curriculum areas.
  • Experiences and outcomes (often called Es+Os) are a set of clear and concise statements about children's learning and progression in each curriculum area. They are used to help plan learning and to assess progress.
  • Principles and practice - The principles and practice documents are essential reading for practitioners as they begin, and then develop, their work with the statements of experiences and outcomes.