The Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010 sets out special safeguards for rural schools, which reflect the particular importance of schools to fragile rural and remote communities in Scotland.
These safeguards for rural schools were substantially amended and strengthened by section 80 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014. Those amendments came into force on 1 August 2014. The detail of this, and the transitional arrangements for consultations that were already underway on 1 August 2014, are set out in the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 (Commencement No. 2, Transitional and Transitory Provisions) Order 2014.
The Statutory Guidance on the Act provides specific advice on meeting the requirements relating to rural school consultations.
Rural School List
The Scottish Government is required to maintain a Rural School List, setting out every school in Scotland that is designated as a rural school. This List is periodically updated and was most recently updated in May 2017. This followed a review of how the List was compiled in order to address a small number of anomalies, as recommended by the Commission on the Delivery of Rural Education.
An explanation of how the Rural School List is compiled and maintained is also available.
Commission on the Delivery of Rural Education
The Commission on the Delivery of Rural Education, an independent Commission, established by the Scottish Government and COSLA and chaired by Sheriff David Sutherland, sat between 2011 and 2013. It reviewed the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010 and its application, and examined how the delivery of rural education can maximise the attainment and life chances of young people in rural areas and the link between rural education and rural communities. Its Report made 38 recommendations.
The Scottish Government published a Response to the Commission on the Delivery of Rural Education. This was followed by the amendments to the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010 in the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, as well as revised Statutory Guidance on the Act.