Rod Grant: Excellent or otherwise, it's no curriculum – more a wish list

THE Curriculum for Excellence has been widely criticised for its vagueness, lack of clarity and lack of prescribed content. For me, these criticisms miss the point entirely.

The biggest mistake is that it was named "Curriculum for Excellence", as it is not a curriculum at all. It is a series of outcomes and experiences that all pupils should gain.

To add further to the confusion, we still have no idea what the examination system will look like and this makes secondary school teachers extremely nervous.

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It is simply not good enough to introduce a curriculum, however worthy, if the assessment design is not in place. It is like playing football without goal nets.

In practice, this will mean primary schools will be doing fabulous work whilst secondary schools twirl their fingers and await more detail.

So, these criticisms aside, why do I believe in what the new curriculum seeks to do?

Well, it continues to ensure our focus is primarily on helping youngsters to become articulate, literate and numerate, but it attempts to go further so that children become better equipped with skills which will allow them to enquire, reflect, problem solve, strategise, analyse and create.

These are children who could one day lead their nations and it is therefore essential that they learn in a secure environment, where discipline, self-belief and the value of our fellow human beings is central to the learning process.

Without developing an ethos where caring for others or valuing differences in culture or religion is seen as worthy, we create citizens who are intolerant and incapable of perspective. This would be the greatest failure of all.

My fervent belief is that the Curriculum for Excellence provides us with the platform for a worthy 21st-century education and each of us should be applauding it. It is unfortunate, but entirely understandable, that it has not yet galvanised or inspired the profession.

• Rod Grant is head of Clifton Hall School near Edinburgh.