Building the Curriculum 4 - a perspective

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Building the Curriculum 4 - a perspective
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Building the Curriculum 4 is the latest in a series of information papers intended to help schools and education centres implement Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence.

While previous publications, in particular Building the Curriculum 3, set out the building blocks and framework of Curriculum for Excellence, Building the Curriculum 4 represents a change in the nature of advice and guidance for schools, since the focus of this new publication is the learner.

Building the Curriculum 4 reminds us that it is learners who are at the heart of this transformational change in our education system, and it places particular emphasis on skills development as a means to enable all children and young people to reach their full potential.

The central theme of Building the Curriculum 4 is the development of skills in young people – a wide variety of skills, but also generic and cross-cutting skills that fall into 3 broad categories:

  • Skills for learning
  • Skills for life
  • Skills for work

Developing skills

So what are these key skills?  In what ways do they make a contribution to a young person’s journey through school education?  How do they combine and inter-connect?  And, most importantly, what can schools do to nurture and foster such skills in young people?

In broad terms, the key skills identified in BC4 are as follows.


  • Reading and writing, listening and talking
  • Interpersonal and communications skills
  • Developing an effective vocabulary
  • Critical literacy


  • Confidence and competence using numbers
  • Analysing information and making decisions
  • Estimating, measuring, managing time and money
  • Developing mental agility


  • Critical thinking
  • Classifying
  • Enquiring
  • Creative thinking

Working with others

  • Contributing ideas
  • Sharing roles and responsibilities
  • Learning collaboratively
  • Supporting others

Personal and learning

  • Self-evaluation
  • Setting goals
  • Planning next steps in learning
  • Metacognition

Health and wellbeing

  • Not just about physical health
  • Social health
  • Emotional health
  • Mental health

Problem solving

  • Analysing
  • Evaluating
  • Assessing solutions
  • Making decisions


  • Taking the initiative
  • Persuading and influencing
  • Making decisions
  • Leading others

Enterprise and employability

  • Influencing and negotiating with others
  • Taking the initiative and leading others
  • Working as part of a team
  • Discussing, setting and meeting roles and expectations


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