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Chamber and committees

Question ref. S5W-35111
Asked by: Clare Adamson, Motherwell and Wishaw, Scottish National Party
Date lodged: 9 February 2021


To ask the Scottish Government whether it will outline the rationale behind the evidence gathering methodology adopted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in conducting its review of Curriculum for Excellence.

Current status: Answered by John Swinney on 18 February 2021


As set out in the remit agreed for the Independent Review of Curriculum for Excellence, published on 26 February 2020, the OECD has been undertaking the Review using its Implementing Policies: Supporting Change in Education Framework .

The OECD uses this framework to provide tailored support to individual countries and education systems to analyse and support the development and implementation of education policies. This methodology has been used by the OECD in previous reviews, and set a very clear framework for the Independent Review of Curriculum for Excellence in Scotland.

In terms of the OECD’s approach to evidence gathering on this Review, the OECD established a team of core OECD staff and international experts with experience in curriculum and assessment implementation. The Team began the Review with a comprehensive desk-based analysis of policy documents, evidence and research on CfE implementation, which included, amongst other documents, the initial evidence base provided by the Scottish Government in July 2020, papers published as part of the Education & Skills Committee’s Inquiry on Subject Choice and published academic articles and research.

Following this review of documentation, the OECD team conducted a series of interviews and virtual school visits to gather primary data. The first round of national stakeholder interviews took place from 28 th September - 2 nd October. During this visit the OECD met virtually with: myself, the Scottish Parliament’s Education & Skills Committee, Scottish Government officials, the Scottish Practitioner Forum, national agencies, local government representatives, college bodies, DYW regional employer groups, university bodies, academics/researchers, organisations responsible for teacher professional learning & leadership, teacher and headteacher professional associations, parent organisations, young people organisations, Gaelic education groups, subject specific interest groups, members of the Curriculum & Assessment Board, and members of the Scottish Education Council.

The second week of engagement with schools, learners and parents ran from 2 nd - 5 th November. As part of this engagement, the OECD held in-depth virtual visits with four schools, as well as a number of on-line focus group sessions with headteachers, teachers, partners, learners and parents. Both engagement weeks were taken forward based on clear guidelines provided by the OECD and following discussions with the Scottish Practitioner Forum.

In response to a request by OECD for a project advisory group to guide the work and discuss progress and deliverables, the Scottish Government established a Scottish Practitioner Forum. The role of this Forum has been to advise and guide the work on the Review and to ensure that this was based on the experience of current practitioners in Scotland. The Forum has met regularly to support the Review.