Achievement of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) Levels 2018-19

Results of the achievement of curriculum for excellence (CFE) levels 2018 to 2019.

Chapter 1: Introduction

1.1 Achievement of Curriculum for Excellence Levels Data

This publication provides information on the proportion of school pupils who are achieving the expected Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) Level relevant to their stage, relating to achievement in the Broad General Education (BGE) phase.

Achievement of CfE level data is based on teachers’ professional judgements (see Chapter 9.1.1 for more information) as at June 2019. This report refers to the school year 2018/19 - the data reflects what pupils have achieved by the end of the school year.

Figures are based on pupils in publicly funded mainstream schools, in the 32 local authorities and one grant aided school, in stages:

P1 (≈5-6 yr olds)
P4 (≈8-9 yr olds)
P7 (≈11-12 yr olds)
S3 (≈14-15 yr olds)

From these, a combined primary figure (P1, P4 and P7) has also been calculated.

The national and local authority data within this report covers pupils within mainstream schools including those in special units integrated within mainstream schools. Pupils attending standalone special schools or standalone special units are excluded from the national and local authority data and are reported on separately in Chapter 6.

A small number of pupils (in both mainstream and special schools) for whom the teacher has been unable to make a professional judgement are not included.

Data is collected for organisers:

(English and Gàidhlig)

(English and Gàidhlig)

Listening and Talking
(English and Gàidhlig)


This publication focuses on the organisers based in the English language and Numeracy. For pupils based in Gaelic medium schools/classes, the English language organisers are collected at relevant stages and are included in the national and local authority data. Information on achievement of CfE levels in Gàidhlig can be found in Chapter 5. For more information about Gaelic medium education, see Chapter

The achievement of ‘literacy’ is also included in the publication (English and Gàidhlig). A pupil is reported to have achieved the expected level in Literacy if they have achieved the expected level in all three of the literacy organisers: reading, writing, listening and talking. For more information on how this has been calculated, see Chapter

1.2 Curriculum for Excellence Levels

Curriculum for Excellence is designed to provide a coherent, more flexible and enriched curriculum for children and young people aged from 3 to 18. The curriculum includes the totality of experiences, which are planned for children and young people through their education, wherever they are being educated.

Curriculum for Excellence defines five levels of learning. The first four levels in the Broad General Education phase are described in the Experiences and Outcomes, with progression to qualifications described under a fifth level, the Senior Phase.

The path most children and young people are expected to follow through the levels reflects the stages of maturation of children and young people and the changing ways in which they engage with learning as they develop.

Some children and young people will start learning at these levels earlier and others later, depending upon individual needs and aptitudes. The framework is, however, designed to be flexible in order to permit careful planning for those with additional support needs, including those who, for example, have a learning difficulty and those who are particularly high attaining.

The diagram below shows the five curriculum levels:

diagram of five curriculum levels

This publication focusses on the Broad General Education phase which covers children from pre-school through to the end of S3.

The Senior Phase is for young people in S4 to S6 and is designed to build on the experiences and outcomes of the Broad General Education phase, and to allow young people to take qualifications and courses that suit their ability and interests. Scottish Government statistics on the attainment of young people in senior phase are based on point of leaving, these statistics can be found here:

The majority of school pupils in Scotland follow CfE; for a very small percentage of pupils it is unlikely that they will progress through the CfE levels during their time in education. This is due to pupils having long-term significant and complex additional support needs.

Within some local authorities school pupils with complex needs may attend a special school or standalone special unit. It is not necessarily appropriate to assign these pupils to a specific stage, and so, these pupils are treated separately in this publication. Results for pupils in standalone special schools or special units are presented in Chapter 6, but are not included in the analysis in other chapters. However, in some local authorities, pupils with complex needs are integrated into their mainstream schools; these pupils have been included throughout this publication. The treatment of pupils with complex needs across different local authorities should be kept in mind when making comparisons between local authorities, or between individual schools.

Young people with long-term significant and complex additional support needs are included within the data as ‘pupil following individual milestones’. Where these pupils are learning within a mainstream school or special unit integrated within a mainstream school they will be included in the national and local authority analysis and counted as not having achieved a CfE Level. Where these pupils are learning within a standalone special school or unit they will be included in Chapter 6 and displayed in the ‘Child following individual milestones’ category.

Children for whom the teacher has been unable to make a professional judgement (in both mainstream and special schools), are not included; for example, if a pupil has recently moved to the school, and the teacher feels there has not been sufficient time to form a professional judgement of a pupil’s performance. This affects less than one per cent of pupils within the Achievement of CfE Levels data. These pupils are not included in the calculations of the proportions of pupils achieving the expected CfE Levels

1.3 Official Statistics

Since their introduction, Achievement of CfE Level publications have been labelled as ‘Experimental Statistics’. This was to reflect the fact that these were new statistics in development, published to involve users and stakeholders in their development and build in quality and understanding at an early stage.

The Government Statistical Service suggests a number of factors that may be taken into account when considering the removal of the experimental label. These have been considered in a separate paper, available via the supporting files associated with this document (

After consideration of the evidence, Achievement of Curriculum for Excellence Level data 2018/19, and all future collections, will not be labelled as Experimental Statistics.



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