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Curriculum for Excellence

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 6th November 2019.

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Photo of Iain Gray Iain Gray Labour

In some ways, this debate is not entirely about the reality of what is happening in our schools, but is also about the Government’s response to some of the problems that have been identified around introduction and implementation of curriculum for excellence. At the heart of that is the review that is mentioned in the Government’s amendment. I want to make it clear that we welcome the review, although Ross Greer made an important point when he talked about the lack of urgency in responses to some problems.

The review was first asked for in Parliament in May. It was agreed to only after the Education and Skills Committee report came out in September, and only today have we heard some more detail about how it will be taken forward. As Daniel Johnson pointed out, we still do not have its remit. Time is moving on, but we have no timeline for when we can expect the review to respond.

Worse than that, the truth is that it took us four years to get to the review, which has been driven by the Education and Skills Committee’s report on the narrowing of the curriculum. It took four years of argument to get the Government to accept that that is a problem. When narrowing of the curriculum was first raised as an issue in Parliament, the Government said that it was not happening. It then resorted to the sophistry of saying that pupils have more choice than ever—which is true, but they get to choose fewer subjects than they used to be able to choose. They might be able to choose from a wider menu, but they can choose fewer subjects.