Curriculum for Excellence

Interdisciplinary learning


Interdisciplinary learning provides a stimulating and self-motivating context for learning and is both enjoyable and relevant. It leads to a better, more rounded understanding of important ideas and increased competence in using knowledge and skills in transferable ways.  CfE Briefing 4


The Global Storylines methodology is a planned approach to learning which uses the expressive arts to deepen learning within the social subjects, sciences and technology, and enhance the development of literacy, numeracy and Health and Wellbeing.  

By exploring global issues and making connections to our own lives, and then imaginatively role-playing how these issues affect their characters, pupils develop and apply what has been taught and learned in new and different ways.  They have repeated opportunities to build on their prior learning and progress their  knowledge, attributes, and capabilities including higher-order thinking skills. 



Experiences and outcomes


Each Global Storyline has an expressive arts outcome, which demonstrates the driver for the one or two key experiences and outcomes from either Social Studies or Science/Technology which should be assessed carefully throughout.  Opportunities for developing literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing are included, as are opportunities for touching on other relevant experiences and outcomes across the curriculum.  Opportunities for learning outwith the classroom are also included, as are contexts for developing a Global Citizenship ethos to the life of the whole school, and for celebrating personal achievement. 

Click below to see download the experiences and outcomes for the following Global Storylines:

The Water Source (Second/Third Level)

Our Crop, Our Land (Second/Third Level)

The Giant of Thistle Mountain (First/Second Level)

The Discovery (Second/Third Level)


Principles for curriculum design


The principles of curriculum design apply at all stages of learning with different emphases at different stages. The principles must be taken into account for all children and young people. They apply to the curriculum both at an organisational level and in the classroom and in any setting where children and young people are learners. Further consideration to applying these principles is given in the sections of this paper looking at the different stages of learning.  Building the Curriculum 3


Global Storylines ensure breadth of learning by including experiences and outcomes across the curriculum, including links to global citizenship, enterprise and creativity.

Overwhelming evidence from our research with both teachers and learners demonstrate that the demanding affective experiences within Global Storylines provide the basis for challenge and enjoyment.

Without doubt, Global Storylines offer learners depth and progression beyond the traditional notion of advancement from one block of knowledge to the next.  Emphasis is placed on the importance of discussion, debate and exploring multiple perspectives on the issues out of character.  This time pays dividends when pupils return to the drama, providing the space for pupils to apply their developing skills, values and understanding.

Global Storylines promote coherence by supporting learners to see the links between different aspects of their learning through the interdisciplinary approach.

All contexts for learning within Global Storylines are relevant, as the teacher and learners grapple with the complexities of real world issues. The supportive planning frameworks allow teachers to personalise learning and identify opportunities to assess progress across the breadth of learning, in challenging aspects and when applying learning in different and unfamiliar contexts.

Out of character, pupils take appropriate responsibility for planning their learning, ensuring personalisation and choice are promoted throughout each Global Storyline experience.



Personalised learning focuses on the individual learner from the earliest level through to lifelong learning. It is key to taking forward the ambitions of CfE and Getting it Right for Every Child. CfE Briefing 5

The Global Storylines planners are broad frameworks which identify the two or three key experiences and outcomes which should be assessed throughout.  It is important that the generic planners are used as a springboard for teachers’ own planning, which should ensure that the needs of all learners are met, and that they are looking closely at progression over time in knowledge, attributes and capabilities, and skills (including higher-order thinking skills). 


Space within each Global Storyline planner is provided to encourage practitioners to involve their learners as fully as possible in planning, identifying their own next steps and building these into the planning from the outset.  Click below to see examples of planning:




The values that underpin Curriculum for Excellence must inform all aspects of assessment. These values are that the curriculum must be inclusive, must be a stimulus for personal achievement and must, through broadening of experience, be an encouragement towards informed and responsible citizenship.Building the Curriculum 5


Each Global Storyline offers teachers many opportunities for assessing deep learning, which goes beyond the acquisition of knowledge and embraces understanding and the application of skills, values and attitudes. When planning each learning experience within the episodes, teachers are encouraged to ask:

  • What must be assessed? And why?
  • How will I assess this learning?
  • What aspects can the learners themselves evaluate through self or peer assessment?
  • How can learners be supported to reflect purposefully on these assessments?
  • What will I do with my results? Do my learners need further opportunities outside the Global Storyline to develop the particular skill/ value/ attitude?
  • On return to character (and vice versa) - can my learners transfer their newly developing cognitive and/or personal skill to the story context?

The Global Storyline planners offer examples of how our pilot teachers assessed learning within the episodes, but do not provide a prescriptive bank of assessment activities.

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