A long-awaited review of Scotland’s education system is to be published on Monday morning.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has scrutinised the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE), which shapes how lessons are delivered from nursery to S6.
Its report will include recommendations for enhancing CfE, 11 years on from its implementation in Scottish classrooms.
Analysis of exams and Scotland’s assessment system for qualifications – added later to the remit of the review commissioned early last year by the Scottish Government – is expected to be published in the autumn.
According to the government the purpose of the review is to help “better understand how the curriculum is being designed and implemented in schools and to identify areas for improvement across the country”.
The report is regarded as highly significant by education experts, coming at a time when disruption to schooling by the pandemic has opened minds to changes in the way it is delivered.
Cancellation of exams for a second year has also reignited debate about the future of the assessment system for qualifications.
With political will, it is reckoned that the report could be an opportunity for radical changes in education.
An advance summary of the review on the OECD website states: “This report analyses the progress made with CfE since 2015, building upon several months of observations in Scotland, the existing literature and experiences from other OECD countries.
“The OECD analysis and recommendations aim to support Scotland as it further enhances CfE to achieve its potential for the present and future of its learners.
“Just as Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence was among the pioneers of 21st Century learning, its most recent developments hold valuable lessons for other education systems and their own curriculum policies.”
What did the previous review say?
A 2015 review of CfE by the OECD made recommendations which it said could help the Scottish system “to be among those leading the world”.
An ambitious theory of change was needed it said, with CfE less managed from the centre to become a “more dynamic, highly equitable curriculum”.
Publication of the latest review was originally scheduled for February but held up by the pandemic.
Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville confirmed Monday’s release prior to announcing reform of the Scottish Qualifications Authority and Education Scotland earlier this month.
What has the Education Secretary said?
She said: “Members will be aware that we extended the remit of the OECD’s review – to analysis of Scotland’s approach to assessment and qualifications and to development of options to enhance our approach.
“That work is on-going and will be published by the OECD in early autumn.
“However, I confirm that the OECD will publish its main report on the review of Curriculum for Excellence before then, on June 21, 2021.”
She said she would “relish” the prospect of exploring a wide range of reform opportunities to improve Scottish education.