Five things learned from the OECD education report on Scotland

The long-awaited publication of the report into Scotland’s Curriculum of Excellence (CfE) from the OECD has resulted in the scrapping of the Scottish Qualifications Authority and pledges to reform the exams system.

Here are five things learned from the publication of the OECD report, Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence, Into the Future.

Scotland’s teachers have more time in the classroom than those working in other countries, giving them less time to develop the curriculum and their own teaching resources. The report said that despite a drop in teaching time to 22.5 hours a week, teachers’ in-classroom time is still higher than the OECD average. The report says that teachers need more time away from pupils, but praised Scotland’s education staff for being “well-trained and respected professionals”. There is a “misalignment” between the aims of the Curriculum for Excellence and the qualifications experience at the upper end of high school, the OECD has warned. Responding to the publication of the report, the Scottish Greens have describe the existing exams system as being "century-old” and have called for its reform. The OECD has suggested changes such as more continuous teacher assessment, externally marked projects and extended essays and oral and practical presentations. Scotland is seen as a “pioneer” of education cross the world due to the Curriculum for Excellence approach – despite some reforms being needed. The CfE was introduced in 2010 and emphasis is placed on inter-disciplinary learning, skills development and encouraging personal achievement. There are too many organisations and individuals who are considered to be stakeholders in the development of the Curriculum for Excellence. The OECD report warned that “a tipping point has now been reached” in terms of the number of stakeholders and urged that “clear ownership” of the scheme needs to be established. The Scottish Government plans to overhaul the education system as a result of the report. It has said it will take on board all 12 recommendations and also scrap the SQA. Education Scotland will also undergo reform. It will no longer undertake inspections, with this work becoming a separate, independent role. The Scottish Government will engage widely on the options for the future of inspection.

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The OECD report recommended changes at the upper end of high schools in Scotland.

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