Tories call for ‘reset’ of Scotland’s school curriculum

The Scottish Conservatives have called for an increased focus on core subjects such as English and maths.

The Scottish Conservatives have called for a “reset” of Scotland’s school curriculum, with an increased focus on core subjects such as English and maths.

It comes after a full review into the senior phase of education in secondary schools in the country was ordered by Education Secretary John Swinney last year.

The review was announced following a report by MSPs that found there had been a narrowing in the subject choices on offer for some pupils in S4, S5 and S6.

Mr Swinney said at the time the review would provide better understanding of how the curriculum is being implemented in schools and help identify any areas for improvement.

The Scottish Tories now want a full review of education from nursery to S3 and how it fits with the senior phase to be launched.

They say knowledge-based learning should be seen as being equally important as a skills-based approach.

The party’s education spokeswoman Liz Smith said there must be a strong attachment to core subjects if education in Scotland is to improve.

“There is a significant mismatch between the SNP’s current rhetoric about education standards and what is actually happening in our schools,” Ms Smith said.

“John Swinney knows fine well, and so do his officials and education experts across the country, that all is not well in the education system.

“In our view, and in the view of most parents and employers, there has to be a strong attachment to core subjects in our schools if things are to improve.

“That means not just maths and English but the arts, the sciences and social sciences, too.”

Ms Smith added: “This has become an issue about knowledge content and the ability of all pupils to have meaningful choices in key faculty areas, and a breadth across those disciplines which was always the main strength of Scottish education.

“It’s not so much a case of returning to an older curriculum as resetting this one.

“The SNP must realise that there is a very long way to go before Scotland can once again lead the world in education.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Curriculum for Excellence helps equip pupils with the knowledge, skills and attributes needed for life in the 21st century.

“Pupils learn a wide range of subjects up to S3 and courses, qualifications and awards from S4 to S6 are tailored to meet young people’s needs. Last year a record proportion went on to positive destinations.

“We acted in 2016 to clarify and simplify the curriculum framework and remove unnecessary bureaucracy, ensuring teachers can focus on providing valuable learning experiences.

“The forthcoming review of the senior phase will include an analysis of transitions from the broad general education into the senior phase and beyond and follows a broad general education review in 2015.”

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