The curriculum and qualifications system in Scotland continues to be subject to significant reform.

The NASUWT has led the profession in highlighting the problems faced by teachers and school leaders in implementing these reforms in ways that are manageable, support their work with pupils effectively and do not add to their workload burdens.

The NASUWT has issued a specific action short of strike action instruction on Curriculum for Excellence (CfE). Implementation of this instruction ensures that you are protected from some of the most substantial CfE-related risks to teacher and school leader working conditions.

These instructions are entirely consistent with the Scottish Government-commissioned Curriculum for Excellence Working Group on Tackling Bureaucracy.

The instructions also focus on protecting teachers and school leaders from unreasonable impacts on their terms and conditions of employment arising from qualifications reform.

Help and advice is available from the NASUWT Scotland Centre on ensuring that the action instruction is implemented in your school.

Curriculum for Excellence

The ongoing process of CfE implementation continues to present significant challenges for teachers and school leaders across Scotland.

The NASUWT has taken the leading role in highlighting the workload impacts of CfE and has used its position on the national CfE Management Board to press for more appropriate approaches to implementation.

The Curriculum for Excellence Working Group published two reports in 2013 and 2015 on ways in which schools and local authorities should seek to minimise CfE-related workload for teachers and school leaders. The NASUWT was represented on the Working Group alongside the Scottish Government, Education Scotland, the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) and other stakeholders.

The Working Group recognised that the implementation of CfE had led to excessive and unnecessary workload burdens for teachers and school leaders. It set out clear recommendations for schools, local authorities and national agencies on reducing these burdens. The Group’s follow-up report reviewed progress towards its original recommendations and found that, while some progress had been made, more action needed to be taken to address the Group’s concerns.

The NASUWT has continued to press the Scottish Government, other national bodies and local authorities to deliver on their commitments to exert downward pressure on CfE-related workload. However, teachers and school leaders have continued to report that too many schools are failing to implement those recommendations of the Group that are within their control and influence.

The purpose of the NASUWT action instructions on CfE is to ensure that all schools review and, where necessary, revise their policies and procedures to ensure that they are consistent with these recommendations. The instructions cover issues including:

  • the recording of formative assessments;
  • forward planning;
  • submitting daily and/or weekly plans for internal scrutiny and audit; and
  • addressing bureaucratic burdens that can arise from systems of self-evaluation.

Qualifications reform

The development of new qualifications in Scotland continues to create significant challenges for teachers and school leaders.

The NASUWT has expressed its profound disappointment at the failure of the Scottish Government to agree effective solutions to address the immediate problem of excessive teacher workload associated with the new qualifications.

The NASUWT continues to engage directly with the Scottish Government and other national bodies through its participation in the national Curriculum and Assessment Board. Issues raised by the Union in this forum include arrangements for National 4 and 5 qualifications and ensuring that teachers and school leaders can gain access to effective information, advice and guidance on the implementation of revised qualifications frameworks.