Curriculum for Excellence, Higher Education and Citizenship le

Curriculum for Excellence and Higher
Education in Scotland:
Drivers and Directions
le goes here
Dr Jim Moir
Part A.
Drivers: CfE and the Process Curriculum
Part B.
Directions: CfE and Scottish HE
Part A. Drivers: CfE and the Process
CfE and The Process Curriculum
• Curriculum for Excellence (CfE)
is considered as “one of the
most ambitious programmes
of educational change ever
undertaken in Scotland”
(Scottish Government, 2008:8)
CfE and The Process Curriculum
• It is explicitly driven by what are perceived to be
anticipated future needs based upon economic,
technological and social changes within Scotland and
the wider global economy.
“Recent developments in education and the economy, both
locally and globally, provide powerful drivers for change in
the way we organise young people’s learning.”
(Scottish Government, 2008:8)
CfE and The Process Curriculum
• CfE explicitly moves away from a centrally prescribed
• This is allied to a modified process curricular model
based upon a flexible and open-ended engagement
with learning rather than a pre-determined content
driven model (Stenhouse, 1975).
CfE and The Process Curriculum
• Not like a curriculum package which is
designed to be delivered almost
• Not a set of behavioural outcomes.
• Not a view of learners as objects to be
acted upon.
CfE and The Process Curriculum
• A process curriculum is therefore founded upon:
– democratic values (Dewey, 1916)
– placing meaning-making and thinking at its core and treats
learners as subjects rather than objects,
– learning activities that enable students to develop a sense
of involvement in the learning process.
CfE and The Process Curriculum
• This focus on the development of the individual and
the benefits of exposure to a process curriculum is
enshrined in CfE in terms of the “Four Capacities”
successful learners
confident individuals
responsible citizens
effective contributors
For more detail on the capacities see:
CfE and The Process Curriculum
• Alongside these capacities is a more amorphous, but
nonetheless desirable set of outcomes which can be
aligned to the sociology of a changing society:
individual enhancement,
inclusion, and
CfE and The Process Curriculum
• Bernstein (1971) characterised this kind of
curricular reform as a move from a:
– ‘collection code’ in which subject boundaries
are relatively fixed
– towards an ‘integrated code’ where subject
boundaries are permeable and less strong and
where there is a focus on interdisciplinary
CfE and The Process Curriculum
• This can be considered as a shift towards
transformative education, where there is less
specialisation and more integration of learners and
– towards organic social integration where social roles arise
through differences between people and their own
engagement with education (Durkheim, 1893).
CfE and The Process Curriculum
• CfE must also function as a means of
producing qualifications.
• Standard Grades and Intermediates
have been replaced by new National 4
and 5 qualifications.
• Higher and Advanced Higher have
been revised.
CfE and The Process Curriculum
• Skills and knowledge from more than one subject will
be applied to topic-based work:
“The curriculum should include space for learning
beyond subject boundaries, so that children and young
people can make connexions between different areas of
learning. Interdisciplinary studies, based upon groupings
of experiences and outcomes from within and across
curriculum areas, can provide relevant, challenging and
enjoyable learning experiences……” (Scottish Government,
2008: 21)
CfE and The Process Curriculum
• But there will still be subjects:
“Subjects are an essential feature of the curriculum,
particularly in secondary school. They provide an
important and familiar structure for knowledge, offering a
context for specialists to inspire, stretch and motivate.
Throughout a young person’s learning there will be
increasing specialisation and greater depth, which will
lead to subjects increasingly being the principal means of
structuring learning and delivering outcomes.”
(ibid: 20)
CfE and The Process Curriculum
• The Four Capacities are developed throughout the
Senior Phase and the curricula associated with these
subjects and examinations.
• Priestley and Sinnema (2014) point out there is
ambiguity in the curricular documentation
concerning the foregrounding of skills and capacities
versus that of subject knowledge.
CfE and The Process Curriculum
• CfE therefore contains some divergent themes:
Espousing a process model but still rooted in outcomes
Stressing interdisciplinarity but also subjects
Aiming for breadth as well as increasing specialisation
Stressing teacher agency but also central guidance and
(see Humes, 2013; Priestley et al., 2013)
Part B. Directions: CfE and Scottish HE
CfE and Scottish HE
The Global context
GUNI 2014 considers:
– the role of HEIs as active players in
contributing to social change.
– one of the most significant trends over
the past 10–15 years: the growth of the
theory and practice of engagement as a
key feature in the evolution of HE.
CfE and Scottish HE
The National Context
The Enhancement Themes parallel these global trends.
CfE and Scottish HE
• The two most recent themes – Graduates for the
21st Century (2008-2011) and Developing and
Supporting the Curriculum (2011-2014) – have taken
this approach forward in a more integrated manner.
• This has involved policy initiatives that have seen the
development of graduate attributes (see Barrie,
2004, 2006, 2007) become a key feature of the
teaching and learning discourse in Scottish HE.
CfE and Scottish HE
• These reforms dovetail with CfE in terms of the focus
on the development of students’ capacities.
• CfE has four capacities and similarly higher education
institutions are increasingly marketing their courses
in terms of the attributes that students develop as
the result of their studies.
CfE and Scottish HE
• This focus on the identity of the learner
and the process of transformative
learning (Illeris, 2014) places much more
of an emphasis on personal traits and
the acquisition of social capital as an
aspect of the educational process.
(see also McGonigal et al., 2007; Wilkins and Burke, 2013)
CfE and Scottish HE
Senior Phase
• There is an expectation that HE in Scotland will have
to meet the needs of these ‘new learners’ through
adapting or altering their curricula and course
• This process is already taking place through a
number of school-college-university programmes
that enable school pupils to undertake part of their
studies in a FE/HE institution.
CfE and Scottish HE
• Participation and engagement are considered as
being crucial to this transition process - through
forms active learning and personal development
planning in line with a process curriculum model.
Senior Phase
CfE and Scottish HE
Regional Workshops and CfE Conference
• These events proved useful in demonstrating the
collaborative work going on between schoolscolleges-universities.
• The divergent themes of CfE have also been, to some
extent, carried over into the interface with HE.
See more at:
CfE and Scottish HE
• Collaborations are being used in different ways:
widening participation
developing interdisciplinary programmes of study
discipline-focused programmes
advanced study and entry
• However, there perhaps needs to be more thought
put into how CfE capacities and graduate attributes
can be aligned with one another.
CfE and Scottish HE
The ‘ABC of CfE’ Toolkit
• The Senior Phase of CfE has yet to be fully
operationalised - the desired, more seamless, and
yet at the same time flexible path into HE is
something of a work-in-progress.
• There are some questions to be worked through with
respect to Level 7:
– What is the ‘higher’ nature of higher education?
– In what ways are graduate attributes similar/different from
capacities within CfE?
Barrie, SC (2004) A research-based approach to generic graduate attributes policy, Higher Education Research and Development, 23 (3): 261275.
Barrie, SC (2006) Understanding what we mean by generic attributes of graduates, Higher Education, 51(2): 215-241.
Barrie, SC (2007) A conceptual framework for the teaching and learning of generic graduate attributes, Studies In Higher Education, 32(4):
Bernstein, B. (1971) Class, Codes and Control Vol. 1. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul
Global University Network for Innovation (2014) Higher Education in the World 5 - Knowledge engagement and higher education:
contributing to social change. Basingstoke, Hampshire, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
Durkheim, Emile. (1893 The Division of Labor in Society. English translation by W.D. Halls 1984. New York: The Free Press
Humes, Walter (2013) Curriculum for Excellence and Interdisciplinary Learning, Scottish Educational Review
45 (1), 82-93
McGonigal, J., Doherty, R., Allan, J., Mills, S., Catts, R., Redford, M., McDonald, A., Mott, J. and Buckley, C (2007) Social Capital, Social
Inclusion and changing School contexts: A Scottish Perspective. British Journal of Education Studies. 55 (1), 77–94
Scottish Government (2008) Building the Curriculum 3: a framework for learning and teaching. Edinburgh: Scottish Government.
Stenhouse, L. (1975) An introduction to curriculum research and development London: Heinemann.
Dewey, J. (1916) Democracy in education: An introduction to the philosophy of education. New York: Macmillan
Illeris, K. (2014) Transformative Learning and Identity Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.
Priestley , M., Minty, S. & Eager, M. (2013) School-based curriculum development in Scotland: curriculum policy and enactment. Pedagogy,
Culture & Society, DOI: 10.1080/14681366.2013.812137
Priestley, M. & Sinnema, C. (2014). Downgraded curriculum? An analysis of knowledge in new curricula in Scotland and New Zealand. The
Curriculum Journal, Special Edition: Creating Curricula: Aims, Knowledge, and Control, 25(1), 50-75.
Wilkins, A. and Burke, P. J. (2013) Widening participation in higher education: the role of professional and social class identities and
commitments. British Journal of Sociology of Education DOI: 10.1080/01425692.2013.829742

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