Roles and Responsibilities
5.1 Pupils, in consultation with their parent or carer, are responsible for their own curricular choices, including whether they wish to be considered for college courses. Pupils are also responsible for ensuring good attendance and a positive attitude to their learning.
Education Authorities and Schools
5.2 Education authorities and schools are responsible for the whole package of school pupils' learning and welfare. We are not extending to colleges the statutory responsibilities of education authorities (and schools) for school pupils. Pupils' curriculum needs will therefore remain entirely the responsibility of the education authority and school wherever those pupils are learning at any given time.
5.3 Education authorities have a crucial role in ensuring equity and consistency in the level and quality of partnership activities.
5.4 Education authorities and schools are responsible for ensuring that all pupils have safe and free passage to and from college.
Further Education Colleges
5.5 Further education colleges 25 are autonomous bodies. In encouraging partnership with schools we in no way seek to restrict this autonomy.
5.6 Colleges are responsible for the selection and enrolment of students, including pupils, and the particular learning opportunities they offer. Colleges also establish their own local priorities and balance of activity.
Scottish Further Education Funding Council
5.7 The Scottish Further Education Funding Council ( SFEFC) is responsible for distributing funding to Scotland's colleges and for the quality of college activity and works to improve and enhance it under a service level agreement with HM Inspectorate of Education. A Bill has been passed by the Scottish Parliament to merge SFEFC and the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council. The Further and Higher Education (Scotland) Bill is awaiting Royal Assent. Once the relevant provisions are in force, the new merged Council will have a full overview of further and higher education in Scotland. It will have a statutory duty to have regard to skills needs, issues affecting the economy, and social and cultural issues in Scotland. The new Council will present partners with greater opportunities for innovation.
5.8 Maintaining a coherent system of funding for colleges is in the best interests of pupils and adult students, and will bring a level of stability upon which evolutionary growth can be managed effectively. SFEFC (and its successor body) will therefore remain primarily responsible for funding school/college courses wherever that learning takes places.
5.9 The new Council's duties and powers in respect of further education set out in the Bill will generally apply irrespective of the age of the student concerned. Its powers to fund pupils' learning with colleges will be clear.
5.10 The provision of well-informed independent information, advice and guidance is crucial to the success of school/college partnership activity. One of the key messages from the research the Executive recently commissioned into the attitudes of school pupils to further education study 26 was that high quality information before embarking on a college course is extremely important. The need for advice and guidance will grow, particularly (but not exclusively) in helping pupils consider the curriculum options at the end of S2, S4 and S5 and in supporting pupils to evaluate their college learning in relation to post-school career opportunities.
5.11 Careers Scotland and other careers advisers will play a crucial role in helping pupils to make informed decisions in respect of school/college activities. Careers Scotland's range of products and services for schools and colleges aim to:
- help individuals become more aware of the world of work;
- develop the career planning and decision making skills of individuals;
- help individuals make informed curriculum choices; and
- assist individuals to enter appropriate education, training or work.
5.12 A national strategic partnership agreement is in negotiation between Careers Scotland and the further education sector through its representative body, the Association of Scottish Colleges. Careers Scotland also has partnership agreements with each school and college outlining the range of services that Careers Scotland provides, including career guidance support. They outline each organisation's respective roles and responsibilities and highlight areas of mutual benefit to achieve joined up delivery for pupils and students. Each school and college agreement will be revisited by 2007 in the light of this strategy and the accompanying guide for partnership to identify additional services that Careers Scotland could provide to pupils to support school/college partnership.
Scottish Qualifications Authority
5.13 The Scottish Qualifications Authority ( SQA) is the national body with responsibility for the development, accreditation, assessment, and certification of qualifications other than degrees. Its roles are to:
- devise, develop and validate qualifications, and keep them under review;
- accredit qualifications;
- approve education and training establishments as being suitable for entering people for these qualifications;
- arrange for, assist in, and carry out, the assessment of people taking SQA qualifications;
- quality assure education and training establishments which offer SQA qualifications; and
- issue certificates to candidates.
5.14 The SQA is responsible for ensuring that the administrative arrangements necessary to support the delivery of qualifications to pupils are as flexible as possible to avoid unccessary administrative duplication.
Network of learndirect scotland Branded Learning Centres
5.15 Learning centres offer different ways of learning which are often more informal and flexible than the traditional school or college environment. This is their unique selling point. The more informal nature of the centres can reinforce learning as a positive choice, and there is a range of opportunities available - including, for example, formal courses in a wide range of areas including vocational courses, such as hospitality, construction and care. Informal learning, and open and distance learning opportunities are also available. These learning centres are a valuable resource which have made great strides in supporting learners especially where there are no local college facilities. At present our remit for learndirect scotland extends to adults post-school.
5.16 School/college partnership in rural areas through the use of learning centres has the potential to provide a solid core of activity that may help support sustainable learning communities in such areas.
5.17 It is likely that in autumn 2005 the new corporate plan for learndirect scotland will acknowledge the role that learndirect scotland and learndirect scotland branded learning centres can play in the engagement between schools and colleges. This should allow learning centres to provide support for S3 pupils and above. Learning centres' own distinct ethos - which are neither schools nor colleges (though some are physically located within schools and colleges) - will be maintained as this is crucial to their success.
5.18learndirect scotland branded learning centres are not owned by learndirect scotland but are varied - some are owned by colleges, some are private learning providers, some are community organisations, etc. Schools and colleges will be able to work in partnership with appropriate learning centres to support pupils' learning. The extent to which schools and colleges choose to engage and fund learning centres is a matter for them and the particular learning centres to agree.
5.19 Arrangements for pupil welfare and support will be informed by the guide for partnership which accompanies this strategy.