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Education Reforms An Education & Skills Committee Quick-Read

The Scottish Government is currently consulting on ideas to reform education in Scotland. The main aim of these reforms is to help close the attainment gap and they are suggesting a number of ideas to include in the Education (Scotland) Bill that will be introduced to the Scottish Parliament next year to turn these ideas into law.

The cross-party group of Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) on the Scottish Parliament’s Education & Skills Committee is looking at whether these reforms are a good idea and can suggest changes to improve them, including suggesting extra ideas.

The Committee can also look at how changes should be made, and what support schools, young people and parents need to make any changes a success.

As part of this, the Committee wants to hear from young people, parents and those who work in schools to find out your views. The aim of this quick-read is to give you an overview of the main ideas that the Government are suggesting so that you can tell us what you think – we want to hear:

• What you think of the ideas, including how they would impact on local schools

• What other changes you would make; and

• What support your school needs if it is to make these changes

Visit the Committee’s page on the Scottish Parliament’s website to find out about the different ways you can get involved

Ideas to reform education in Scotland

Headteachers' Charter

The Government is suggesting the creation of a Headteachers’ Charter to empower headteachers by enabling them to make key decisions in their schools in four key areas:

• Curriculum for excellence

• Improvement

• Staffing

• Funding

Key ideas across these four areas include:

• Allowing headteachers to decide how best to design teaching and learning in their schools

• Collaboration with other schools and partners

• Involvement of the school community in key decisions that affect them

• Making clear the role and responsibility of local authorities in decision making in schools

• Headteachers having greater input into how staff are recruited

The Government suggests that these changes will ensure that headteachers can run their own schools in the most effective way possible.

Parental and Community Engagement

The Government wants to make clearer the existing legal duties relating to parental involvement and encourage better collaboration between school leaders and parents, reflecting the changes also proposed within the Headteachers’ Charter.

There is already a strong legal basis for involving parents in their child’s school through the Scottish Schools (Parental Involvement) Act 2006 and the Government is seeking to make further improvements to this Act by:

• Strengthening the duties on headteachers to work collaboratively with their Parent Council on matters relating to school policy and school improvement & to update the duties on Parent Councils

• To provide duties on headteachers to communicate with the wider parent forum

• To update the legal definition of parental involvement and require regular reviews of parental involvement strategies

• Applying duties and powers in relation to parental involvement to publicly funded early learning and childcare settings

Pupil Participation

The Scottish Government wants to ensure that the principles of pupil participation are pursued in every school, giving young people opportunities to participate in decision making that will impact on their lives. This includes:

• Having a say in planning where and how learning takes place

• Helping young people understand their rights to contribute

• Supporting effective participation through key principles of collaboration & dialogue, authenticity and inclusion

Rather than achieving this through specific duties or the use of particular models (such as Pupil Councils), the Government is suggesting achieving this through a general duty to support pupil participation with headteachers choosing the best methods for their learners.

Regional Improvement Collaboratives

The Government is proposing bringing together a range of professionals in 6 new Regional Improvement Collaboratives to provide advice and support for teachers and other schools staff. This will help to support innovation and sharing best practice. Some key details of the proposed collaboratives include:

• Being led by a Regional Improvement Lead

• Having a detailed Regional Improvement Plan in place by January 2018 with follow-up reports to detail what has been achieved

• Collaboration between various parties involved in education provision

Education Workforce for Scotland

The Scottish Government is proposing replacing the General Teaching Council for Scotland and the Community Learning and Development Standards Council with an Education Workforce Council to register teachers and other education professionals with one standard setting body. The Government suggest that this will help to recognise the role and status of all of those working to support learning and teaching in Scotland and it will encourage collaboration and sharing between teachers and non-teachers.

The Government states that the Education Workforce Council for Scotland (EWCS) will be able to register the following professions:

• Teachers

• CLD practitioners

• Classroom assistants/ASL Support Workers

• Early Years Practioners

• School Librarians

• College lecturers and relevant support staff

• Home/School Link Workers

The Government also proposes that the EWCS should operate independently from Scottish Ministers rather than being an Executive Agency of the Scottish Government.

For full details and information about the Scottish Governments proposed changes, you can visit the consultation webpage by clicking the button below

If you want to find out more about the work of the Education and Skills Committee you can get in touch with us by email to es.committee@parliament.scot and you can keep up to date by following us on Twitter

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