Education and skills reform

Views sought on new qualifications body and inspectorate.

People are being asked to share their views to create a new national qualifications body and new approaches to inspection, as part of reforms to Scotland’s education and skills system.

Legislation will be introduced to Parliament in 2024 to implement the Scottish Government's commitment to replace the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) with a new organisation. Views are now being sought on how this new body will involve pupils and students and the teaching professions in its decision making, as well as being accountable and transparent.

The public consultation on reform of the education and skills sector is also seeking views on changes in relation to inspection, which currently sits with Education Scotland - to maximise the positive impacts of inspection and ensure high levels of confidence in the system among teachers, other professionals, parents and carers and the public.

It was announced during a wide ranging statement on Education and Skills reform where Education Secretary Jenny Gilruth also announced the publication of the third report from the First Minister’s International Council of Education Advisers, which sets out the need for investment in education professionals to address the changing needs of young people. The Education Secretary also gave an update on planning for the proposed Centre for Teaching Excellence.  

Ms Gilruth said:

"The case for reform is clear and we need to deliver tangible action, setting out the steps which are right for our education system now. 

“This consultation is an important opportunity for young people, parents and carers and, crucially, teachers to make their voices heard and is an important step in designing our national education and skills landscape in its totality.

“The new qualifications body and approaches to inspection are the foundations of delivering meaningful reform, meaning better outcomes for young people and adult learners, ensuring that the views and needs of pupils, teachers and others who rely on this service are at the heart of what they do, and how they deliver support.

“I am determined to continue to build the consensus for change. We need the system to work better for children and young people as well as the profession, ensuring it continues to support everyone to positively contribute to our country.”


Read the Education Secretary’s statement to the Scottish Parliament.

The consultation runs until 18 December 2023 and the proposed Education Bill will be introduced later this Parliamentary year.

Read the First Minister’s International Council of Education Adviser’s third report.

The Education Secretary will also chair a ministerial group on Education and Skills reform to ensure there are new, robust governance arrangements in place to support the delivery of reform with the professional advice of teachers and practitioners at the centre.  

A report by Professor Kenneth Muir on the replacement of the SQA and reform of Education Scotland was published in March 2022. It recommended the establishment of a revised national infrastructure to simplify the education landscape and to ensure that all teachers and practitioners have greater clarity on the roles and functions of the national bodies.

The latest consultation is part of a wider programme of reform Scotland’s education and skills sector and follows publication by Professor Louise Hayward in October 2022 of a review of qualifications and assessments in Scotland, as well as a review of the skills delivery landscape by James Withers published in August 2022.

Ms Gilruth also set out that Mr Dey would provide a further update to Parliament on plans for post school reform.


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