Scottish Education Council


The Scottish Education Council is the key forum for oversight of improvement in education in Scotland, as defined by the National Improvement Framework.

Its role is to work collaboratively to ensure that there is a system-wide focus on improvement and to agree priorities for improvement activity and delivery. The Scottish Education Council has been paused since early 2020 following the establishment of the COVID-19 Education Recovery Group as an early response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Council will reconvene on 8 October 2021. As with before, the Council will meet every two months. 


The remit has been updated to include the involvement of children and young people on the refreshed Council, the focus on the key reports published in 2021, and the ongoing work on educational reform and child poverty. 

The Council, in pursuit of collaborative partnership and supportive of social dialogue, will:

  • bring together the main decision makers, key influencers, and children and young people’s representatives with a strong focus on excellence and equity for all, and be a forum for frank and open discussion and challenge
  • ensure children and young people’s voices are at the heart of discussions about improvement and reform of the education system, alongside those of teachers
  • promote, protect and defend the rights of children and young people in order to ensure they are incorporated fully across the Scottish education system
  • provide comment and professional advice on the strategic direction, vision and outcomes of key education policies and initiatives. The Council will not be a decision making body
  • use key evidence and data about what is working nationally and locally to drive improvement, and what more is required in the context of the pandemic and future educational reform
  • consider progress and provide views on how the recommendations and actions from key reports have been taken forward (ICEA, Equity Audit, Audit Scotland, SAC progress report and OECD review)
  • provide leadership and advice to Ministers and local government in developing the strategic approach and vision for improvement across Scottish education, as defined by the National Improvement Framework
  • have a primary focus on issues related to the school years, including the provision of community learning and development, but have the ability to focus on wider education issues as and when required. This will include a focus on the partnership between education settings, such as the link between schools and colleges/ ELC settings
  • provide guidance and advice at all levels of the system, working across organisational and structural boundaries to support the development of key improvement priorities for Scottish education and ensuring those priorities are reflected in national, local and regional improvement planning
  • work closely with Regional Improvement Collaboratives via agreed governance arrangements to oversee progress towards delivery of those national, regional and local improvement priorities and outcomes
  • contribute to cross governmental work on child poverty to ensure that there is a whole system approach to improvement and recovery


  • Shirley-Anne Somerville, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills - Chair
  • Councillor Stephen McCabe, COSLA Children and Young People spokesperson 
  • Graeme Logan, Director of Learning, Scottish Government 
  • Fiona Robertson, Scottish Qualifications Authority Chief Executive 
  • Larry Flanagan, General Secretary, The Educational Institute of Scotland
  • Gayle Gorman, Chief Executive of Education Scotland and Chief Inspector of Education 
  • Pauline Stephen, Chief Executive, General Teaching Council for Scotland 
  • Margaret Wilson, Chair of the National Parent Forum of Scotland 
  • Professor David Smith, Chair of the Scottish Council of Deans of Education 
  • Douglas Hutchison, President of the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES) 
  • Grace Vickers, SOLACE lead for Children and Young People
  • Audrey May, Regional Improvement Collaborative Lead, Tayside Collaborative
  • Laurence Findlay, Regional Improvement Collaborative Lead, The Northern Alliance
  • Dr Gillian Brydson, Regional Improvement Collaborative Lead, South West Collaborative
  • Fiona Robertson, Regional Improvement Collaborative Lead, South East Alliance
  • Lorraine Sanda, Regional Improvement Collaborative Lead, Forth Valley and West Lothian Collaborative
  • Tony McDaid, Regional Improvement Collaborative Lead, The West Partnership
  • Professor Mark Priestley, University of Stirling 
  • Kay Sillars, UNISON Scotland
  • Liam Fowley, Vice Chair of Scottish Youth Parliament 
  • Dr Colin Morrison, Co-Director of Children’s Parliament 
  •  Juliet Harris, Director of Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights)
  •  Jim Thewliss, General Secretary, School Leaders Scotland 
  • Shona Struthers, Chief Executive, Colleges Scotland 
  • Alan Sherry, Chair of CLD Standards Council for Scotland 
  • Jane Brumpton, Chief Executive, Early Years Scotland 




Scottish Education Council
c/o Learning Directorate
The Scottish Government
Victoria Quay

Tel: 0131 244 4000 or 0300 244 4000 (for local rate throughout UK and for mobile)

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