Curriculum for Excellence

Curriculum for Excellence

Every child is entitled to a broad general education, whatever their level and ability. Every teacher and practitioner is responsible for the development of literacy, numeracy and health and well being from 3-18.

Curriculum for Excellence develops skills for learning, life and work, bringing real life into the classroom, making learning relevant and helping young people apply lessons to their life beyond the classroom. It links knowledge in one subject area to another helping make connections in their learning. It develops skills which can enable children to think for themselves, make sound judgements, challenge, enquire and find solutions.

There is an entitlement to personal support to help young people fulfill their potential and make the most of their opportunities with additional support wherever that’s needed. There is an emphasis by all staff on looking after our children’s health and wellbeing – to ensure that the school is a place where children feel safe and secure.

Ultimately, Curriculum for Excellence aims to improve our children’s life chances, to nurture successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors, and responsible citizens, building on Scotland’s reputation for great education.

Curriculum areas-there are eight of these: expressive arts, health and well being, languages, mathematics, religious and moral education, sciences, social studies and technologies.
Interdisciplinary learning gives space for learning beyond curriculum area boundaries enabling children to consolidate, extend, deepen, explore, test out and challenge their knowledge and understanding from different curriculum areas, thus developing higher order thinking skills.
Ethos and life of the school-the starting point for learning is a positive ethos and climate of trust and respect based upon shared values across the school community.
Opportunities for personal and wider achievement-children need opportunities for achievement both in school and beyond, giving them a sense of satisfaction and building motivation, resilience and confidence.
The curricular framework in which your child learns is arranged in the following way:

Level                                Stage

Early                                The pre-school years and P1 or later for some

First                                 To the end of P4 but earlier or later for some

Second                           To the end of P7 but earlier or later for some

Third and Fourth        S1 to S3 but earlier for some

Senior Phase                 S4 to S6 in school/college/other types of study until the age of 18

To help you to understand how we assess and report your child’s progress through these levels, we’ve produced a series of leaflets which you can access below.

How we Assess and Report EARLY Level

How we Assess and Report FIRST Level

How we Assess and Report SECOND Level

How we Assess and Report THIRD Level


Learning through play…
Pre-school education is about learning, playing, exploring and having fun. Children will be encouraged to do all of these things with friends and on their own, choosing from a wide range of experiences and activities.
Staff are trained to create opportunities for play and learning to help your child’s all-round development. They are skilled in talking sensitively to children. By getting to know your child well, staff work with parents and carers to lay the foundations for learning.

What Children will experience in nursery?
Children start learning before birth and have already learned an immense amount before they start nursery. Much of what children learn, will happen through play and their interaction with other children and adults.

The Curriculum provides the support, structure and direction to children’s learning so that they develop in all of the four areas. Children will benefit from the experience of being in a pre- school centre and it will help them get ready for starting primary school where the curriculum will continue to be implemented.

Personal Learning Planning
- Personal learning planning is the method used to support children’s progression and development in these areas. Staff will encourage parent contributions and engagement in this process. This will support a smooth transition into primary school for children.

Learning Through Play – All learning takes place within a play context and is based upon staff observations of individual or group interests or developmental needs. The curriculum is child centered and adult guided. Staff are aware of the need to provide a balance between child initiated, self-sustaining and adult led activities.

Written and informal observations of the children are made and used to inform future planning. Seasonal and cultural events are included in the plans. All observations of the children (written, photographic, drawings or other artwork) are used to compile a profile of the child’s development at the end of the year.

Opportunities are created, through discussion or the use of ‘talking, thinking books’ to actively involve pupils in the planning process, ensuring their interests and ideas are developed within the nursery setting.

Nursery staff anticipate the teaching of reading and writing in informal ways. Children become used to seeing their names, for example, printed on their paintings. This and other types of labelling, together with the presence of books for reference and story telling, enable children to become familiar with the printed word. In understanding the connections between the spoken, written and printed word, children move towards readiness to learn the skill of reading.

The development of early numeracy is fostered at nursery. Opportunities arise naturally in the daily routine of the playroom for children to sort, match, select and order as they play with materials such as sand, water, bricks and gluing materials.

Nursery children learn practical skills in the course of domestic and toilet routines and in the management of equipment. The ability to relate to other children and to learn to share is important in young children. Nursery staff will help with children’s growing social awareness and feelings of independence.

The nursery classrooms are divided into various activity areas. Since all methods of learning in the nursery are informal and come from play, these areas are structured to stimulate children’s interests. The staff aim is to help children to become as independent, expressive and creative as possible within a secure and happy nursery environment.

At nursery, children will experience working in different groups. They will be encouraged to use all of the areas in the nursery, both inside and outside and with parent help and encouragement, once they have settled in, nursery will be a fun and rewarding experience.

Literature Circles
Primary 4 – 7 pupils take part in Literature Circles as part of their learning in Literacy. Literature circles are similar to that of an adult reading group in which the members meet each week to discuss what they have read. At different stages children have different levels of responsibility ranging from negotiating which roles each group member will do, to leading their group and ensuring they work effectively.
Some of the Literature Circle roles include:
Summariser – This person has to tell the group what has happened in the week’s reading. They must be prepared to discuss the events and give their opinions of them.
Fortune Teller – The Fortune Teller makes sensible predictions and informed plot predictions.

Word Wizard – Children completing Word Wizard collect words which they find difficult or interesting. They predict the meaning and then find the actual meaning in the dictionary.

Illustrator – Their job is to draw a picture to go with the part of the
story they have just read. It can be a cartoon, storyboard, model or anything they can think of!

Correspondent – The Correspondent writes a letter, postcard, or diary entry either from themselves to a character in the book or from 1 of the book’s characters to another.
Literature Circles help children to develop a vast range of skills including higher order thinking skills, creativity, collaborative skills, communication, problem solving and many more! It also involves much peer and self-assessment, developing the children’s ability to identify success and set next steps in their learning.

Co-operative Learning
Co-operative Learning is a strategy which involves pupils in established and sustained learning groups. Co-operative learning fosters individual accountability in a context of group interdependence where pupils discover information and teach that information to their group or class. This method encourages pupils to seek information actively rather than being a passive recipient.

Co-operative Learning is structured and focused to ensure learning is taking place. Teachers choose the groups to reflect a diversity of views, abilities, gender and other characteristics.

Co-operative Learning creates a classroom community which involves pupils working towards a common goal. Group members will often be responsible for different aspects of the task, the groups work is not complete until all it’s members have mastered the content of their goal. Individual learning is reinforced as a result of explaining the content to others.

Co-operative Learning is a sustained approach, lasting longer than a 10-15 minute group discussion.

Co-operative Learning requires and and enhances the communication skills of pupils. The success of the group depends upon the interaction of it’s members. Pupils learn the skills needed for successful group interaction.

Co-operative Learning balances interdependence with individual accountability. instructions are specific, each group and pupil within that group has a task to perform.

Co-operative Learning responds to classroom diversity. Pupils in a co-operative classroom are responsible for each other’s learning.

Co-operative Learning helps to transform the learning environment to support and promote the development of Successful Learners, Confident Individuals, Effective Contributors and Responsible Citizens.

Bloom’s Taxonomy – Effective Questioning and Higher Order Thinking
Bloom’s Taxonomy is a methodology which focuses on developing higher order thinking skills by organising these skills into 6 categories and planning learning activities and questioning around them:

Lower Order Thinking Skills: Knowledge (remembering and retaining information), Comprehension (interpreting and understanding information), Application (making use of the information)
Higher Order Thinking Skills: Analysis (taking apart that information), Synthesis (putting together that information) and Evaluation (making judgements and assessments).
At Prestonfield Primary School, we are currently working to incorporate Bloom’s Taxonomy approaches to our learning experiences across the curriculum and to different contexts of learning.



The Read Write Inc. programmes combine into a complete literacy programme aged five to eleven years. They are designed to stimulate and challenge children’s thinking and create enthusiastic, life-long readers and writers. We want your child to love reading – and to want to read for themselves. This is why we put our efforts into making sure they develop a love of books as well as simply learning to read.  Miss Simpson, Support for Learning Teacher delivers the RWI programmes to groups of learners together with Pupil Support Assistants (PSAs)

How will my child be taught to read?

We start by teaching phonics to the children and this allows them to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down. This is essential for reading, but it also helps children learn to spell well.

The children also practise reading (and spelling) what we call ‘tricky words’, such as ‘once,’ ‘have,’ ‘said’ and ‘where’.

Read Write Inc.

The children practise their reading with books that match the phonics and the ‘tricky words’ they know. They start thinking that they can read and this does wonders for their confidence.

The teachers read to the children, too, so the children get to know all sorts of stories, poetry and information books. They learn many more words this way and it also helps their writing.

The way we teach reading is especially helpful for children who might be dyslexic. This is because we use a very well-organised programme that has a strong focus on phonics. This is very important for children who find learning to read difficult.

What can I do to help?

Is there anything that I shouldn’t do?

Your child will bring different sorts of books home from school. Help your child to sound out the letters in words and then to ‘push’ the sounds together to make a whole word. Try not to refer to the letters by their names. Help your child to focus on the sounds. You can hear how to say the sounds correctly by searching on YouTube for ‘Read Write Inc. Phonemes Pronunciation Guide’. Some of the books may seem very basic however, please don’t say, ‘This is too easy.’ Instead, encourage your child to tell you the story out loud; ask them questions about things that happen or what they think about some of the characters in the story.


Additional Support for Learning

An additional support need comes from anything which is a barrier to learning.

Most or all schools will have some children with additional support needs of some kind. The education authority has many legal duties towards pupils with additional support needs. Information about this is contained in a booklet called In On The Act : Information For The General Public which is published on the education authority website at

In on the Act | The City of Edinburgh Council

In on the Act. For additional information about the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 and our policy, please read In on the Act.


Or contact the additional support for learning team on telephone number 0131 469 3444.



Read Write Inc. Fresh Start

‘Read Write Inc. Fresh Start rescues older readers aged 9 and above who are below expected standards in reading and writing.’ Ruth Miskin (website)

Fresh Start is a full teaching programme that:

* Gets all children reading and writing fluently in 33 weeks

* Engages children with age-appropriate anthologies

* Ensures all children can read confidently before secondary school

* Embeds all learning through partner practice

* Assesses children every eight weeks to ensure that they have the best provision to make speedy progress. ‘

At Prestonfield Primary School, Fresh Start is taught to children in the Upper Primary by Miss Simpson Support for Learning Teacher.

Pupils are taught fast paced lessons in small groups, with an emphasis on partner work and positive praise. Each week we learn new sounds, as well as revising those previously learnt.

Children work through one module a week which reinforces a previously learnt sound and develops reading, spelling and writing skills.

Please find out more from the Ruth Miskin website:


Stages of Early Arithmetical Learning (SEAL)  

At Prestonfield we use the SEAL approach to teach Numeracy in P1 and 2. SEAL will be rolled out into P3 from August 2017. SEAL is best taught in small groups where the focus is on talking about strategies and sharing with other pupils. The majority of SEAL learning is oral, with some written activities to support what pupils are learning. SEAL is used to target pupils who need support with Numeracy from P3 upwards.  These booster sessions are delivered by our SEAL Champion Miss Daisy Reeves..

Children develop and use a range of methods to solve number problems. The strategies they use increase in sophistication as children gain experience and develop better ways of solving problems.

Progression needs to take into account the number range that a child can solve problems within and the sophistication of the strategies used.

The Stages of Early Arithmetical Learning classifies the various strategies used by children into six stages:

Stage Indicators
Stage 0: Emergent Counting – Cannot count visible items

– The child may not know the number words.

– The child cannot coordinate number words with items.

Stage 1: Perceptual Counting – Can count perceived items.

– May involve seeing, hearing or feeling items.

Stage 2: Figurative Counting –  Can count the total of two collections.

–  Counts from one

Stage 3: Initial Number Sequence –  Child uses and understands counting-on rather than counting-from-one.

–  Uses counting on to solve addition and missing addend tasks.

–  May use count-down-from strategies

Stage 4: Intermediate Number Sequence The child uses and understands:– count-down-from strategies- count-down-to strategies

–  The child can choose the most efficient strategy.

Stage 5:Facile Number Sequence The child uses a range of non-count by one strategies:

–  Compensation

–  Using known results

–  Adding to ten

–  Commutativity

–  Subtraction as the inverse of addition

–  Awareness of ten as a teen number



Assessment is an integral part of learning and teaching. It helps to provide a picture of your child’s progress and achievements and to identify next steps in learning.

At Prestonfield Primary School, we firmly believe that assessment approaches need to promote your child’s engagement and ensure appropriate support, so that all our pupils can achieve their goals and reach their potential.

We believe that pupils should be actively engaged in all aspects of the assessment processes and be given an element of choice and personalisation in showing that they have achieved the intended outcomes.  As your child moves through the curriculum, they will experience a range of approaches to assessment including self, peer and teacher assessment.

At Prestonfield, we use a wide range of assessment approaches across the curriculum to evidence progress and identify any gaps in learning.  One of the tools we use in May each year to help inform teacher professional judgement is the use of standardised assessments in reading and maths.  These assessments enable us to look at individual, group and school performance in comparison with other schools and the national average.

For further information, please look at the Education Scotland website: