Our Curriculum

The Four Capacities

Curriculum for Excellence places learners at the heart of education. At its centre are four fundamental capacities. These capacities reflect and recognise the lifelong nature of education and learning. The four capacities are aimed at helping children and young people to become:

  • Successful learners

  • Confident individuals

  • Responsible citizens

  • Effective contributors

This is reflected in our school vision: To enable children to become Successful Learners, Confident Individuals, Responsible Citizens and Effective Contributors who will make a positive contribution to the world.

Four Contexts for Learning

As part of their learner journey, all children and young people in Scotland are entitled to experience a coherent curriculum from 3 to 18, in order that they have opportunities to develop the knowledge, skills and attributes they need to adapt, think critically and flourish in today’s world.

Curriculum is defined as the totality of all that is planned for children and young people from early learning and childcare, through school and beyond. That totality can be planned for and experienced by learners across four contexts:

  • Curriculum areas and subjects

  • Interdisciplinary learning

  • Ethos and life of the school

  • Opportunities for personal achievement

The Curriculum

Teachers plan learning using Curriculum for Excellence Experiences and Outcomes.

Benchmarks have been developed to provide clarity on the national standards expected within each curriculum area at each level. They set out clear lines of progression in literacy and English and numeracy and mathematics, and across all other curriculum areas from Early to Fourth Levels (First to Fourth Levels in Modern Languages).

Curriculum Areas

There are eight curriculum areas:

Curriculum Levels


The broad general education has five levels (early, first, second, third and fourth). The senior phase is designed to build on the experiences and outcomes of the broad general education, and to allow young people to take qualifications and courses that suit their abilities and interests.

These national levels describe different stages of learning and progress. For most* children, the expectation is:

  • Early Level – pre-school to the end of P1.

  • First Level – to the end of P4.

  • Second Level – to the end of P7.

  • Third and Fourth Levels – S1 to S3, with the fourth level broadly equivalent to SCQF level 4.

  • Senior Phase (see Entitlements) – S4 to S6, and equivalents in other settings, where they can continue to develop the four capacities and achieve qualifications.

*but can be earlier/later for some as applicable, depending upon individual needs and aptitudes.


Developing Skills for Learning, Life and Work

Skills for Learning, Life & Work

Creativity Skills

Career Education