THE new Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) model in Scottish schools has had a “significant negative impact” on children’s achievement, a new report claims.

In a report published yesterday, Professor Jim Scott of Dundee University claims that if the full extent of CfE was known in 2006, it would have been delayed or even cancelled.

Looking at national, local authority and individual school data, he found attainment in Scottish national qualification levels three to five in S4 pupils has dropped by at least 32.9% for each level since CfE was introduced in 2013.

The report said: “Had representatives ... suggested to minsters of the then Scottish Executive around 2006 that the outcome of the introduction of the impending Curriculum for Excellence and ‘new’ National Qualifications initiatives would be a decline of a third ... it is to be assumed that the implementation of these initiatives might have been significantly delayed, or even cancelled.”

Scott also found the number of Higher passes in S5 has dropped by 10% in the past four years – a reduction, the report claims, “Scotland cannot afford”.

According to Scott, every set of learners has seen a negative impact, but the worst affected pupils were those who are “less than average”.

In the report, he said: “Least able and ‘lower-average’ learners have suffered to a significantly greater extent than the able, and particularly the most able, in S4.

“It should be a matter of national concern that levels of ‘zero attainment’ have risen sharply and that this has reached over 3% (effectively, one child in every S1 comprehensive class) in a quarter of local authorities, as Scotland’s future depends upon a well-educated workforce.”

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A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said: “Improving the education and life chances of all our children and young people – irrespective of their background – is one of the defining missions of the Scottish Government.

“That’s why we are investing £750 million during this Parliament to ensure every child has an equal chance to succeed.

“The gap between the most and least deprived communities for young people entering work, training or further study is half what it was in 2009-10, while a record number of students from the most disadvantaged areas gained a place at university last year.”

Scottish Labour education spokesman Iain Gray said: “The catastrophic drop in attainment in recent years presents us with the possibility of a Scotland lacking in new scientists, teachers, doctors and nurses.

“The SNP needs to realise these numbers are not mere statistics but the future workers and voters of Scotland.

“Only by taking a critical look at the issues hindering the success of CfE, and by listening to teachers and students, can we return Scottish education to the standard it once enjoyed.”