Curriculum, Learning & Teaching, and Assessment

Curriculum for Excellence

Curriculum for Excellence is in place across Scotland for all 3 – 18 year olds, wherever they learn.

Principles for Curriculum Design

Schools and learning communities in Aberdeenshire apply the principles for Curriculum Design that are drawn from National advice but reflect our unique Aberdeenshire context.  Those principles are:

Curriculum Entitlements

The following entitlements are also provided for all pupils in Aberdeenshire Schools:

Learners are provided with a broad, balanced set of experiences designed around the curriculum areas of:

The core curriculum consists of Literacy, Numeracy and Health and Well-Being. These subjects permeate all other curricular areas and attainment and achievement in these areas are continually scrutinised and reviewed annually by the school to ensure standards are maintained or improved.

Learners are given opportunities to develop skills for learning, skills for life and skills for work with a continuous focus on:

The Curriculum for Excellence is structured into different levels.


Date Event
Early The pre – school years and P1, or later for some.
First To the end of P4, but earlier or later for some.
Second To the end of P7, but earlier or later for some.

S1 to S3, but earlier for some. The fourth level broadly equates to Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework level 4.

Third and Fourth The fourth level experiences and outcomes are intended to provide possibilities for choice and young people’s programmes will not include all of the fourth level outcomes.
Senior phase S4 to S6, and college or other means of study.



Our teaching strategies recognise and reflect that each child is an individual with their own aspirations and aptitudes.  We aim to develop each child to their full potential through the use of a variety of teaching methods to cater for a range of learning styles.

We believe in active learning for all pupils at all stages with children fully engaged in thinking. In promoting active learning, we recognise the importance of ensuring that learning experiences are stimulating and challenging.

We make full use of the local environment and the community.  Our aim is to make learning relevant and meaningful and to promote enthusiasm for life-long learning.

Not all pupils do the same work at the same time; within any class the teacher will regularly allocate tasks that are set at different levels of difficulty.  The aim is to challenge all pupils but at the same time give them work that is within their capabilities so that each child experiences success.

There are circumstances when all pupils in the class are given the same task.  In these circumstances teachers will differentiate learning based on their knowledge of the individual child’s strengths.

By the time pupils leave our school we hope that they have acquired many of the attributes of an independent learner.  Each will have developed at his/her own pace and in his/her own way.  We trust that not only will each of them gained an awareness of his/her full potential, but will want to fulfil that potential.

Arrangements for Pupil Choice and their Involvement in What and How they Learn

The school provides a framework for learning based upon the principles of curriculum design and curriculum entitlements.  Within this, the school encourages pupils to have a say in how they learn and what they learn e.g. in topic based work in a social studies based topic, the children might choose to communicate their learning through a report, a PowerPoint presentation or a piece of artwork.  The pupils also might choose to research a specific aspect of information within the topic framework.  Through the use of learning logs and personal planning, the pupils are involved in setting their own targets and planning next steps in learning.


Teachers carry out continuous assessment as part of their daily practice to ensure that learning activities are meeting the needs of their pupils and extending and developing learning.  Assessment results are used to track pupils’ progress, inform planning, direct future learning and teaching activities and for reporting purposes.

The overall purpose of assessment is to support learning.  Staff at LairhillockSchool use a variety of formative assessment techniques in teaching the children HOW they can improve upon their current standards of work.  This applies to all pupils, regardless of ability and ensures that opportunities to progress and achieve are fair and inclusive.

Formative Assessment includes:

National advice outlines that for learners to demonstrate that their progress is secure and that they have achieved a level, they will need opportunities to show that they:

Reports will reflect their progress within and through the level. Reflecting the principles of Curriculum for Excellence, progress is now defined in terms of ‘how much’ and ‘how well’ learning takes place, as well as a learner’s rate of progress.  This approach will promote greater breadth and depth of learning including a greater focus on the secure development of skills and knowledge.  It acknowledges that children and young people progress and achieve in different ways and at different rates.

Children are also encouraged to self and peer assess, and recognise their own strengths and learning needs.  Once learning needs are identified, children are involved in planning their own future learning. In addition to this, teachers set realistically challenging targets for their pupils, helping to ensure that the pace of children’s learning is appropriate.

More formal assessments are also carried out to confirm teachers’ professional judgement about learning.  This may include summative assessment, diagnostic assessment and the use of national assessment resources.

Parents receive information about their children’s progress and achievements throughout the year in a number of ways e.g. through homework diaries, jotters, and samples of work sent home, through visits to school for open days and class assemblies and through visits to school for parent meetings. We also invite parents to make us aware of their children’s wider achievements outside school on an ongoing basis. Parents are welcome to request a meeting or phone call to discuss their child’s progress at any other time during the school session should they wish.