Scotland Policy Conferences

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7951044809 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7538736244.
For delegates already booked on, we will send you the online joining instructions (including links, event numbers and passwords) five working days before your conference. If you cannot find these in your inbox please email

Reviewing Curriculum for Excellence

TO BE PUBLISHED October 2020

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference will assess the next steps for Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence.

It takes place as the OECD begin their Independent Review, commissioned by The Scottish Government and due to report in June 2021, which will look at Broad General Education (BGE), the Senior Phase and the transition between the two.

The seminar will also be an opportunity to discuss key priorities for the Review and its remit - as it begins.

Delegates will hear directly from Clare Adamson MSP, Convenor, Education and Skills Committee, Scottish Parliament, on the Committee’s ongoing work on Curriculum for Excellence.

Further keynote speakers include: Orlaith O’Connor, Assistant Chief Inspector, Department Of Education and Skills, Republic of Ireland; and Andreas Schleicher, Lead, Independent review of Curriculum for Excellence and Director, Directorate of Education and Skills, OECD (pre-recorded contribution).

Of course we expect discussion on the day to reflect the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Scotland’s schools and those working within the education system - and how schools are preparing to teach the curriculum when Scotland’s schools first reopen after the pandemic.

However the principal overall focus of this conference is the long-term future for Curriculum for Excellence following the completion of the Review.

Key areas for discussion:

  • How the curriculum is being designed and implemented in Scotland’s schools, what is working currently, and the key areas for improvement, with discussion on:.
    • where final responsibility for curriculum design lies
    • how well the Curriculum is being designed by schools
    • whether schools are using the flexibility that it aims to offer individual schools
    • if schools are collaborating with colleges and other partners
  • Ensuring consistency in delivery - whether there is a need for teachers to be given a more detailed framework for the curriculum to ensure greater consistency in its delivery in schools
  • The depth and breadth of learning - with concerns from the Education Committee, and some teachers and parents, that Curriculum for Excellence has led to a narrowing of subject choices provided by schools, delegates will consider:
  • Roles and responsibilities - where final responsibility for curriculum design lies, looking at:
    • the role of Education Scotland - with Education and Skills Committee concerns at the adequacy of support for practitioners when they implement the curriculum
    • ensuring the development of an effective relationship between Education Scotland and the Scottish Qualifications Authority, with further Committee concerns at an emerging ‘disconnect’
  • The transition from the Broad General Education to the Senior Phase, and whether S3 is being used effectively by schools as a transition year
  • Whether parity of esteem between academic and vocational routes is being achieved in schools

Why this is particularly relevant now - the context:

  • The ongoing Independent Review of Curriculum for Excellence led by the OECD
  • Scrutiny of the curriculum’s implementation in schools by the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Skills Committee, with the Committee finding:
    • that subject choice has narrowed under Curriculum for Excellence
    • an increase in ‘multi course’ teaching in secondary schools
  • Concerns from some teachers and parents around the curriculum’s implementation

The agenda:

  • Progress of the independent review of Curriculum for Excellence - with Andreas Schleicher, Lead, Independent review of Curriculum for Excellence, OECD (pre-recorded contribution)
  • The implementation and current performance of Curriculum for Excellence in Scotland’s schools - with Clare Adamson MSP, Convenor, Education and Skills Committee, Scottish Parliament
  • Raising attainment at secondary level - improving the transition towards the Senior Phase, tackling regional gaps in attainment, and achieving parity of esteem for vocational qualifications
  • An international case study in curriculum design and reform - with Orlaith O’Connor, Assistant Chief Inspector, Department Of Education and Skills, Republic of Ireland
  • Priorities for reforming the Scottish curriculum - improving curriculum design, widening the breadth of learning and raising the consistency of delivery
  • Outlining the future vision for the Curriculum for Excellence

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders.

Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government and regulatory officials involved in this area of policy, as well as from representatives of arms-length and delivery bodies, school and college leaders, local authorities and community groups, exam boards, subject associations, charities and advocacy groups and academics, together with reporters from the national and specialist media.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Price: £95 PLUS VAT

Shortly after every Scotland Policy Conferences seminar, a briefing document is produced. This is distributed to all delegates on the day as well as to our policymaker contacts in government, and to stakeholders more widely.

A seminar publication provides a timely record of proceedings, and acts as a guide to the latest thinking on current policy issues for those unable to be at the event.

This publication includes


Contributions from keynotes and panellists, including accompanying slides*
*Subject to approval

Delegate Pack

Information from the day, including delegate list, biographies and agenda


Transcript of questions and comments posed to speakers from attending delegates


Supplementary articles from speakers
and delegates