Thousands of school children across Scotland are starting to head back to school from today – the first term in which Curriculum for Excellence will be in practice in secondary schools.

Cabinet Secretary for Education Michael Russell marked the term with a visit to Cardinal Newman High School in Bellshill, a front-runner in introducing the new curriculum, where he witnessed the new learning and teaching approaches in action.

Mr Russell said:

“The modern world is changing rapidly and what Scottish employers are looking for from job seekers is evolving at the same rate.

“Our young people will need to be creative, resourceful, flexible, confident and responsible to succeed in the new global economy.

“Curriculum for Excellence is designed to do exactly this by bringing a new focus on the skills we want pupils to develop and changing the way they’re taught to maximise the opportunities to build these skills.

“I know that teachers have been working hard to prepare for Curriculum for Excellence and I’ve already seen some fantastic examples of the type of imaginative teaching that will be its hallmark.

“Cardinal Newman High School is ahead of the curve in embedding the new approach and I was delighted to see so many examples during my visit.

“There is a great deal of support available for teachers, schools and local authorities to help them make the most of Curriculum for Excellence, including new films of the curriculum in action from the Scottish Government and tailored support where requested from HMIE as promised in my ten point plan.

“As well as a new curriculum, let’s also remember that thousands of young children are going to school for the first time this week. I would like to wish them – and the many thousands who are returning – the very best of luck for the coming year.”

Isabelle Boyd CBE, head teacher of Cardinal Newman High School said:

“I was delighted to welcome the Cabinet Secretary to Cardinal Newman High School at the start of session 2010-11. He was able to experience first hand our vision and values and how these create a curriculum offering real choice. As a school we continue to take every opportunity to develop and enhance learning that improves outcomes for our young people. Teachers, pupils and families get opportunities, experience success and that in turn generates more excitement for learning.”

Support available for teachers, schools and local authorities includes:

* New films of CfE in action which have been produced by the Scottish Government to be launched shortly
* Tailored support where requested from HMIE
* Learning Teaching Scotland’s web refresh and Support campaign for practitioners and curriculum planners
* The Scottish Qualification Authority’s development work on CfE qualifications
* The new National Assessment Resource.

The Engage for Education website is an online public participation project to enable people across Scotland’s education community to engage directly with the Scottish Government about the issues important to them.