EDUCATION Secretary John Swinney has announced plans to expand the review of Curriculum for Excellence.

In a vote in Holyrood last month after a debate led by the Scottish Conservatives, opposition parties passed a motion calling for the review into “broad general education” – the first phase of secondary school.

In a letter to Clare Adamson, chairwoman of the Education and Skills Committee, Swinney confirmed the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) will lead the expanded review – which will be incorporated into an ongoing investigation into the performance of the senior phase.

Swinney said the wider review will take longer to report, with conclusions due early in 2021.

The letter said: “I can confirm that I am making arrangements to broaden the planned review of the senior phase curriculum to a full review of Curriculum for Excellence, covering the broad general education (BGE), the senior phase and the articulation between the two.

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"I can also confirm that the OECD has agreed to lead this review and we are working closely with its education directorate to determine the terms of reference for the review.

"I am committed to ensuring that the issues highlighted by the committee, in its subject choice inquiry report and in your letter of December 23, are considered in that process and would like to invite any further comment you may have in regard to this work.

"Given the broader scope of this work, the review will now not conclude until early 2021 and it is important that a terms of reference is finalised swiftly in order that the review can commence as soon as possible.

"I would, therefore, welcome your feedback by Friday, February 14.”

Scottish Tory education spokeswoman Liz Smith said: “I welcome this move from the Scottish Government following the Scottish Conservative debate three weeks ago, in which the opposition parties voted to re-set the Curriculum for Excellence.

“John Swinney has already agreed to review the senior phase on the back of the Education Committee’s recent report, but it was very clear that this could not effectively happen without also reviewing broad general education and how the two articulate. It is vitally important that the issue of subject choice is central to these reviews.”