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Education Scotland Primary Toolkit

The Evaluating and Improving the Curriculum- Primary resource was launched last September at the Primary Leadership Conferences which took place across the country. These events were planned and run by Education Scotland, AHDS, EIS, ADES and Scottish Government. The resource is specifically designed to support leaders in the primary sector and was written by Education Scotland staff and a group of primary headteachers.

The purpose of the resource is to provide a clear and concise ‘toolkit’ to help primary schools evaluate and develop different aspects of their curriculum. It draws together key aspects of advice related to Curriculum for Excellence and self-evaluation available on the Education Scotland website in a clear and concise format.

The resource is organised under eight sections:

  • Introduction
  • Self-evaluation
  • Curriculum rationale
  • Personalisation and choice
  • Monitoring and tracking
  • Progression
  • Interdisciplinary learning; and
  • Useful links and documents

These themes were chosen as a result of evidence from inspections and engagements with primary school staff. They represent areas in which many schools had identified a need for further improvement.

The introduction provides an overview of the resource and its purpose with links to the tackling bureaucracy resource, The Inspection Advice Note (2014-15) and the materials from the Primary Leadership Conferences. There is also a permanent link to the primary section of the Education Scotland Learning blog. This gives an overview of the latest blog posts relevant to primary, including upcoming events and new resources.

The Useful links and documents section provides easy access to a variety of relevant documentation and websites, including the Building the Curriculum documents, the CfE Briefing series and the GTCS.

Each of the other sections has a common structure:

  • A definition
  • Key features of effective provision
  • Self-evaluation questions for your school
  • A small number of case studies; and
  • Links to further reading and information

There are around six key features and accompanying questions in each section with a maximum of three related case studies. The case studies are drawn from a range of schools at different stages in the process of developing a curriculum that reflects their local context. They take a variety of forms, including film clips and written narratives, with accompanying materials and examples that can be downloaded for information. Links to further reading, information and documents specific to each section are also included.

The Evaluating and Improving the Curriculum- Primary resource is designed to be easy to access and use. The most effective way to use the resource is for schools to focus on the themes which are most relevant to their work, as identified through self-evaluation processes.

The resource in its current form is very much a starting point for its development. A reference group has been established to inform and direct its future. The reference group membership consists of primary headteachers, a QIO and representatives from Education Scotland. Both AHDS and the EIS are also represented on this group. The group has a key role in reviewing and developing the resource to ensure it remains relevant and practical. They will consider what may need to be added as well as what needs to be removed so that the resource does not grow to an unmanageable size over time.

The reference group met recently and agreed that over the coming year the focus would be on further support for self-evaluation, monitoring and tracking and progression. Professional learning activities have also been developed and the group felt it would be helpful to share those for use with staff teams in school.

The Evaluating and Improving the Curriculum- Primary resource can be found in the How do you build your curriculum? section of the Education Scotland website or accessed using the following link:goo.gl/wRCnk5. Updates and news about changes to the resource will be shared via the Education Scotland email updates, particularly the monthly Headteacher and Local Authority and quarterly primary e-bulletins. If you would like to sign up these, and any of our other e-bulletins, then please do so using this link: goo.gl/JsGd8r.

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