CfE: Broad General Education (S1-S3)

Curriculum for Excellence

Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) is the curriculum followed in all Scottish establishments and is built on the Scottish Parliment values of wisdom, justice, compassion and integrity. All children and young people should develop skills for life, skills for learning and skills for work which will prepare them for a world that is changing very fast. The curriculum in our schools will continue to develop over coming years to ensure that all our children and young people become successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors.

The curriculum follows two phases – the broad general education (S1 – S3) and the senior phase (S4 – S6)


Broad General Education

One of the key entitlements of CfE is that all children should receive a rounded education, known as the broad general education (BGE), from early years to the end of S3, before moving to a senior phase in S4 to S6 which will include studying for qualifications. This BGE should provide young people with a wide range of knowledge, skills and experiences that they can draw on as their lives, careers and job opportunities continue to change.

The BGE phase of CfE is closely connected to the senior phase with the learning undertaken until the end of S3 providing a strong foundation for choosing and specialising in a range of subjects. In the senior phase, young people will have the opportunity to take qualifications and courses that suit their ability and interests.

The curricular areas which will be followed within the BGE are:


  • Literacy, numeracy and health and well-being (responsibilities of all)
  • English, mathematics, modern languages, sciences, social studies, technologies, expressive arts and religious and moral education.


It is expected that by the end of BGE (S3) most young people will:


(i) achieve outcomes at level 4 in literacy and numeracy.

(ii) achieve outcomes at level 4 in a range of curriculum areas.

(iii) be undertaking, or be ready to move on from, learning at the fourth curriculum level.


We acknowledge that some pupils may not achieve the expectations set out above by the end of S3. It is critical that the needs and entitlements of these young people are met and it is therefore expected that they will:

(i) experience all of the experiences and outcomes, across all curriculum areas, up to and including the third level.

(ii) be provided with an appropriate and relevant curriculum which provides a rich and stimulating experience, and is focused on the needs of the learners.

(iii) continue to have access to experiences which have a focus on improving literacy and numeracy.


Class Organisation

In the BGE in Johnstone High classes will be mixed-ability, but in a number of subject areas, timetabling arrangements will allow for departments to organise classes into sets if this is felt to be appropriate.

Within mixed-ability classes (and, indeed, within sets) differentiated work will be provided to allow pupils to work at an appropriate level of pace and challenge.



We offer the following subjects in S1 – S3:



French or German

Social Subjects – History, Geography and Modern Studies

Science – Physics, Chemistry and Biology


Home Economics





Religious Education

Personal and Social Education


As mentioned, classes in S1 and S2 are organised by mixed ability. Some subjects have the opportunity of grouping them by ability but this is dependent on staffing levels (usually Maths and English). Pupils in S3 (through personalisation and choice options at the end of S2) will be placed in classes with pupils of similar ability, where possible, in order to ensure a smooth transition into the Senior Phase.


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