Shirley-Anne Somerville was appointed Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills in May 2021.
The Cabinet Secretary is responsible for:
- COVID-19 Education and Development recovery
- school standards, quality and improvement
- school infrastructure and staffing
- attainment, and closing the attainment gap
- reform of the curriculum
- National Improvement Framework
- teaching profession
- removing barriers to education and supporting digital inclusion
- behaviour and measures to combat bullying
- protection of vulnerable groups
- Education Scotland (ES)
- school learning and support
- education analytical services
- education strategy and performance
- additional support for learning
- lifelong learning
- cross-government support for learning disabilities, autism and neurodiversity
- learning difficulties
- National Digital Academy
- Scotland's languages, include Gaelic, Scots and BSL
- Minister for Children and Young People
- Minister for Higher Education and Further Education, Youth Employment and Training
Educated at Kirkcaldy High School, she then graduated from the University of Strathclyde with a BA (Hons) in Economics and Politics (1996), followed by a Diploma in Housing Studies at the University of Stirling and a Diploma in Public Relations from Queen Margaret University College.
She has worked as a parliamentary researcher, a Policy and Public Affairs Officer at the Chartered Institute of Housing, and as a Media and Campaigns Officer at the Royal College of Nursing.
Shirley-Anne was previously an MSP for the Lothians region from 2007 to 2011, and returned to the Scottish Parliament in 2016 as MSP for Dunfermline. Shirley-Anne Somerville was previously Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, and was appointed Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People in June 2018.