Curriculum and Assessment Board minutes: October 2018

Minutes and papers of the fourth meeting of the Curriculum Assessment Board, held on 26 October 2018.

Attendees and apologies

Members and substitutes 

  • Peter McNaughton, Association of Directors of Education (ADES)
  • Steven Quinn, ADES
  • Ken Thomson, Colleges Scotland
  • Eddie Follan, Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (CoSLA)
  • Jean Carwood-Edwards, Early Years Scotland
  • Andrea Bradley, The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS)
  • Gayle Gorman, Education Scotland (Co-Chair)
  • Alan Armstrong, Education Scotland
  • Mike Corbett, National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT)
  • Joanna Murphy, National Parent Forum of Scotland (NPFS)
  • David Barnett, School Leaders Scotland (SLS)
  • John Edward, Scottish Council of Independent Schools
  • Aileen Ponton, Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF)
  • John Kemp, Scottish Funding Council (SFC)
  • Lesley Sheppard, Scottish Government (Acting Co-Chair)
  • Kevin Campbell, Scottish Secondary Teachers Association (SSTA)
  • Gill Stewart, Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA)
  • Neville Prentice, Skills Development Scotland (SDS)
  • Louise Hayward, University of Glasgow

Young representatives

  • Liam Williams, Forth Valley College
  • Zuzana Paleckova, Forth Valley College
  • Allana French, Forth Valley College
  • Amy Simmons, Young Scot

Young Scot representative

  • Rachel McKay, Co-Design Project Officer, Young Scot


  • Malcolm Pentland, Scottish Government
  • Liam Cahill, Scottish Government

Additional attendees

  • Murray McVicar, Scottish Government
  • Laura Meikle, Scottish Government
  • Demet Kirac Basta, Scottish Government


  • Andrew Griffiths, ADES
  • Tim Wallace, AHDS
  • Jim Metcalfe, College Development Network
  • Robert Hynd, Community Learning and Development Managers Scotland
  • Nicola Dickie, COSLA
  • Fiona Nicolson, National Parent Forum of Scotland
  • Sheena Devlin, Regional Improvement Collaboratives
  • Fiona Robertson, Scottish Government
  • Paul Smart, Scottish Government
  • Seamus Searson, SSTA
  • Peter McGeorge, Universities Scotland
  • Mark Priestley, University of Stirling

Items and actions

1.  Welcome and introductions

1.1.  The co-chairs welcomed members to the fourth meeting of the Board and provided a special welcome to the young representatives. Apologies were noted as above. The co-chairs then handed over to Ken Thomson, Principal of Forth Valley College who welcomed Board members to the Stirling campus and provided an overview of the College, the courses offered from its main campuses in Alloa, Falkirk and Stirling and its relationships with employers and other education and training providers.

2.  Tour of Forth Valley College

2.1. Board members were then invited to follow students from the College who led a tour of the Stirling campus.

3.  Minute and actions from the last meeting

3.1. The minute and actions arising from the Board’s last meeting held on 15 June 2018 were introduced.

3.2. In response to the minute and note of actions, a question arose as to when NASUWT would be consulted on work to refresh the Curriculum for Excellence narrative.

3.3. It was confirmed that an offer made by NASUWT following the last Board meeting to set up a focus group of practitioners to consider draft(s) and provide comments has been communicated to the sub-group and would be taken up at a point when there is something ready to share.

3.4. The minute of the last meeting was agreed without change.

4.  Learner Journey Review update paper

4.1. The co-chairs introduced Paper CAB-04(01) and detailed that the paper provides the Board with an update on the implementation process of the 15-24 Learner Journey Review. This has included the creation of a senior phase working group specifically tasked with taking forward the recommendations of the Review, and the CAB’s commissions around senior phase.

4.2. The co-chairs asked the young representatives to share their experiences of their own learner journeys after the age of 15. The points made by the young representatives were as follows:

  • dedicated and personalised advice from teachers and/or careers advisors was really valuable. However, careers advice often comes when learners enter the senior phase of education and this can be too late
  • there is little support for learners who are home schooled
  • work experience can be helpful when deciding next steps as can hearing from a mixture of teachers, industry representatives and academics
  • in general, good advice is provided on employment options but once a young person knows what you want to do it is important to receive clear advice on how to progress to that end point
  • learners in school and college generally receive good advice on topics such as interview technique, applications and writing CVs

4.3. Points made by the Board in relation to the paper were as follows:

  • the 15-24 Learner Journey Review benefited from a holistic approach. Taking forward the review’s recommendations one by one might inadvertently lose the benefits of this holistic approach. The meeting heard how the work was being managed as a single programme, overseen by a board comprising the three Scottish Government directors with responsibility for the policies around Learner Journey
  • building relationships between the different institutions along the learner journey is important
  • the fact that the recommendations of the Learner Journey Review have been endorsed by the Scottish Government’s Enterprise and Skills Strategic Board is to be welcomed
  • the importance of ensuring that resources are adequately deployed to ensure this work is most effective
  • it is important to make sure that this work is clearly communicated to parents and carers, many of who will be unaware of the background

4.4. The co-chairs summed up discussions, noting the importance of a coherent, integrated and holistic approach to implementation and the importance of effective communication with parents and others within the education sector. The co-chairs also reiterated an offer from the last Board meeting, that Board members are welcome to join the senior phase working group if interested in this work. 

5. Education Scotland’s national qualifications website and subject specific professional learning

5.1. The co-chairs introduced Paper CAB-04(02) detailing the paper’s proposal for Education Scotland to develop a revised support package for subject specific professional learning in place of its current national qualifications website.

5.2. The Board agreed with the proposal with the following comments:

  • resources that are still relevant should be kept and should remain available
  • the new platform for resources should be ‘futureproofed’ as far as possible to avoid having to revisit this every few years
  • these changes should be clearly communicated to the education sector
  • any new resources should be as focused as possible to help teachers understand their applicability
  • the planned input from the regional improvement collaboratives is welcomed
  • resources for P1–S3 should be developed simultaneously and not S1-S3 first as the paper suggests
  • subject pedagogy should be a focus over subject content but there should still be easy access to subject content
  • the planned use of Glow to host new resources could be problematic because not all colleges and early learning and childcare settings have access to the platform

5.3. The co-chairs summed up discussions noting concerns around access to Glow, the need for coherence and integration around the broad general education resources and the importance of clearly communicating any changes to the sector.

6.  Health and wellbeing: recent developments and next steps

6.1. The co-chairs introduced CAB Paper-04(03) and invited Board members to comment on: how the curriculum and assessment related findings of the PSE review might be delivered, whether the experiences and outcomes within ‘health and wellbeing across learning’ should be more clearly aligned with curriculum levels; and whether further guidance on mental health and wellbeing should be developed.

6.2. The points made in relation to the paper were as follows:

  • there should be subject qualified teachers for PSE and this should be combined with outside subject expertise. It was however, noted that the PSE review brought forward recommendations for teacher training but those recommendations were not included in this paper which focussed on curriculum and assessment rather than broader findings
  • this area of the curriculum should be influenced by the young people themselves as this will increase learner engagement
  • it is important not to pitch this as a new thing for schools, this is already happening and relevant expertise already exists amongst teachers
  • it can sometimes be difficult for teachers to find PSE resources so it would be helpful to rationalise the resources on offer
  • the experiences and outcomes, including those relating to health and wellbeing, were never meant to be set in stone so we should be open to reviewing them where appropriate. However, there should be a recognition that changes to the experiences and outcomes alone will not bring about the desired outcome
  • it is important that health and wellbeing is recognised as being as important as literacy and numeracy and gaining national qualifications
  • there is a need to raise the value of PSE. At present it is not viewed as a valuable area of learning
  • work to support the tracking and monitoring of PSE education would be welcomed

6.3. The young representatives at the meeting made the following comments:

  • in general PSE is not prioritised in schools
  • open and frank discussions with teachers are helpful when you are covering difficult topics in PSE. However, teachers have a varying range of expertise and confidence when it comes to delivering PSE and this can sometimes be a disadvantage to learning
  • more focus on the dangers of social networks would be welcome

6.4. The co-chairs summed up discussions and asked that the comments are fed into deciding that next steps of this work.

7. Play based learning

7.1. The co-chairs introduced paper CAB-04(04) and detailed that it provides a definition of play based learning, details the associated benefits and discusses strategies to embed a more consistent understanding of play based learning amongst teachers.

7.2. The points made in relation to the paper were as follows:

  • play is a very important part of learning but should be delivered in an informed and evidence based way, bearing in mind play is not the only way children can learn
  • there should be a stronger focus on play based learning in initial teacher education
  • there should be more career long professional learning opportunities focused on play based learning. Early Years Scotland currently deliver play based learning training sessions
  • consistency of approach is important to ensure that desired outcomes are delivered. If play based learning is delivered inappropriately it can increase teacher workload
  • there are still barriers to implementing play based learning and there needs to be a cultural change to allow play based learning to be welcomed in schools
  • there can be a misconception that play is delivered in place of learning which is not the case. Play can be a way of enhancing and delivering learning throughout all ages up to 18, not only for P1 and P2
  • more should be done to promote the appropriate assessment of play based learning

7.3. The young representatives at the meeting made the following comments:

  • the use of games and play can be a very good way to explain complex ideas and/or subjects
  • play has been shown to be a very effective way of delivering learning

7.4. The co-chairs summed up the discussion and asked the representatives from the Scottish Government to feedback comments to relevant teams.

8. AOB

8.1. No other business was raised by Board members.

8.2. The co-chairs thanked members for their attendance and contributions and commented that the Board’s secretariat will be in touch to confirm the dates for all Board meetings in 2019.

Meeting concludes.

List of actions:
  1. Education Scotland to bring an update on work to develop subject specific professional learning resources to a future meeting of the Board
  2. The Scottish Government to ensure that comments from Board members are considered when deciding the next steps in relation to the PSE review
  3. The Scottish Government to ensure that comments from Board members relating to play based learning in schools are communicated to relevant teams in the Scottish Government and Education Scotland
  4. The Board’s secretariat to inform members of the dates of Board meetings in 2019
Curriculum and Assessment Board Secretariat
Scottish Government
Curriculum Assessment Board: meeting agenda October 2018
Paper 1: Learner journey review update
Paper 3: Health and wellbeing
Paper 4: Play based learning


Curriculum and Assessment Board
c/o Learning Directorate
The Scottish Government
Victoria Quay

Tel: 0131 244 4000 or 0300 244 4000 (for local rate throughout UK and for mobile)

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