Scotland’s independent think tank
Scotland’s independent think tank

Fully devolve council tax and business rates to local authorities


The Commission on School Reform, the independent group of education experts set up by the think tank Reform Scotland, has called for the urgent reform of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE). In a submission to the OECD ahead of its review of the Broad General Education (BGE) phase of CfE, the Commission, chaired by one of the original version of CfE’s architects Keir Bloomer, has suggested that the review can contribute to reassuring the public about the quality of Scotland’s schooling.

The Commission has identified a number of problems in the implementation of CfE, particularly in secondary schools, and has indicated that there is insufficient focus on knowledge in the teaching of Scotland’s children.

The Commission’s membership can be seen here.

The truth is that the schools which perform best at the moment are those which have largely ignored the 20,000 pages of guidance which accompanied the implementation of CfE.

“It is critical that this third OECD review of CfE understands the differences between the curriculum as conceived and the curriculum as implemented, which are stark and consequential.”

“Scotland’s educational performance has evidentially been moving in the wrong direction during the tenure of CfE. The OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) recorded a substantial decline in maths, reading and science. Our own Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy has recorded a decline in literacy and numeracy at all levels.”

“It is now time we stop pretending that we are doing well, and we hope that OECD will, this time, open the bonnet of CfE rather than simply adjudicating on the bodywork.”

Keir Bloomer