YouthLink Scotland calls for reform of Scottish education

YouthLink Scotland is calling for a significant reform of the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE), with a move away from a primarily exam-focussed model to build a system that works effectively for all young people.

Our Youth Work & Curriculum for Excellence position paper, published 20 January, makes a number of key calls that would help place equal value on personal learning and achievement through other forms of assessment, to the benefit of all educational practice and student learning.

These calls include:

  • Stronger recognition of youth work's integral role within education policy
  • Strong leadership that recognises youth work's contribution to designing and delivering children and young people's curriculum entitlements through a Broad General Education (BG£) and Senior Phase, including opportunities for personal learning and achievement
  • Greater alignment of curriculum design between communities and schools
  • Parity of esteem between the different learning pathways - a curriculum that offers, and values, personalisation and choice

The COVID-19 crisis has significantly highlighted the effective role of youth work and the benefit of all education practitioners working together to bring about improvements to enhance student learning.

As we recover from the pandemic we need to consider what we have learned this year and make the systematic and cultural changes that our children and young people deserve.

YouthLink Scotland strongly believes the current OECD review of CfE is a real opportunity to transform our education system. A system that is more holistic in approach, with less emphasis on the current exams model, which cannot capture learning effectively in isolation.

Marielle Bruce, Youth Work and Schools Partnership Manager at YouthLink Scotland, said: “The current pandemic has highlighted the need for education to understand and reframe what success should look like for children and young people.

"The focus on exam results once a year does not effectively demonstrate the range and depth of a young person’s learning across the year.

"While for many young people the cancellation of exams was extremely stressful, this year’s experience does provide a real opportunity to re-consider what the structure of school should look like, how we timetable opportunities for young people to develop skills and capacities as well as knowledge and how we truly capture and celebrate young people’s success.”

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