Centre Stage

Yesterday, the report by Prof. Ken Muir CBE “Putting Learners at the Centre: Towards a Future Vision for Scottish Education” was published, alongside the Scottish Government’s response to the report and its recommendations. The recommendations are all either fully accepted, broadly accepted or accepted in principle.

The headlines, of course, are on what is to become of Scotland’s national agencies. In summary:

  • The Scottish Qualifications Authority is to be replaced by a new body with the same role, provisionally called “Qualifications Scotland” – which will have a governance structure which allows for more participation by pupils, teachers and other stakeholders. (I note that the URL “www.qualifications.scot” already redirects to the current SQA website)
  • There is to be a national agency for Scottish education, which will take on all of the current functions of Education Scotland (apart from the inspection functions), plus some other education bits and bobs (including the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) Partnership).
  • There will be new Inspectorate body established, with its independence guaranteed in legislation.
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Potential Energy (Part 10)

The ninth, and final, theme within the ASL Review is “Assurance mechanism and inspection” – which sounds dull, but it extremely important. After all, there is little point in having a review and publishing a report filled with recommendations if no-one is making sure that those recommendations are actually being put into practice and making a difference for children with additional support needs.

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Recover Version

Education Scotland have issued an update of their Corporate Plan for 2019-2022, to take account of the impact of the recent interruptions to learning caused by school closures etc.

The document is called “Education Scotland: Our Recovery Year 2020/21” which does sound like they are struggling with addiction or something.  To educational jargon perhaps?

It is a relatively short and easy to read document, which recognises that the pandemic has had “huge implications for the education system”. They propose therefore to “lead and support the [education] system during a ‘recovery year’ up to June 2021”.

While noting the changed context, there are some things which remain constant, including the commitment to Education Scotland’s four values (which I had not heard of before): integrity, respect, excellence and creativity. I might quibble over whether “excellence” is really a value, but there we are…

There is clearly some concern that we are not out of the woods yet, and so one of the aims is to “increase the system’s resilience to continue to support learning in the event of any future national or local lockdowns.” and one of the ES outcomes listed is that the “education system is responsive and able to move into / out of lockdown smoothly if / as required.”.

This is most obviously reflected in the commitment to “continue to develop support for remote learning”, with Glow, Scotland Learns and e-Sgoil being name-checked specifically.

To free up capacity, the school inspection programme remains “on hold” though “targeted and risk based inspections” will be carried out as required.

This is a corporate plan document, so it’s fairly high level stuff, and perhaps not wholly surprising to see no mention of the particular impact on pupils with additional support needs – though there is a recognition in the introduction that “the impact of COVID-19 has not been felt equally .. for our different groups of learners”.

Image by Jagrit Parajuli from Pixabay