Education recovery: next steps
SQA and Education Scotland to be reformed.
Key national agencies Education Scotland (ES) and the SQA will be reformed as part of ambitious plans for Scotland’s education recovery.
Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said the role, remit and purpose of both organisations will be considered, as well as their functions and governance arrangements.
Ms Somerville announced the reforms as she outlined wide-ranging plans for education recovery in the first 100 days of government and beyond. They include:
- investing over £1 billion to close the poverty related attainment gap
- recruiting 3,500 additional teachers and classroom assistants
- ensuring every schoolchild has access to the technology they need to support their education
- making free school lunches available to all P4 children before extending to all primary school children, all year round
- expanding free early learning and childcare and developing the provision of wraparound care and after-school clubs
- increasing the school clothing grant and the Best Start Food grant
- providing interim support – including a £100 payment near the start of the summer holidays - for eligible children before the formal expansion of the Scottish Child Payment next year
- offering a £20 million Summer Programme to help restore the wellbeing of children and young people, particularly those worst hit by COVID-19
- removing charges for core curriculum activities and music and arts education
- working with colleges and universities to ensure they remain sustainable and at the forefront of global education and research.
Laying out the Scottish Government’s visions and ambitions for education, the Education Secretary said the priority was to continue to deliver excellence and equity, despite the pandemic, with the health and wellbeing of pupils at the forefront of the plans. This next phase of recovery activity builds on almost £400 million of investment committed in this area to date.
Ms Somerville said:
“I hope this programme outlines our determination to deliver improvements with pace and urgency. I am open to considering what further reform is necessary, with the clear purpose of doing all we can to improve outcomes for children. This includes reducing variability in the outcomes children and young people achieve across the country.
“I want to look at options for reform which ensure that schools get the best possible support and challenge to enable them to improve further and to do the very best for the children in their care; to enable them to focus relentlessly on providing the highest quality of learning and teaching for our children, and to ensure that those working in education outwith schools are fully focused on doing everything they can to provide the highest quality of support.
“I want to signal my intention to start this process by considering how to reform the SQA and Education Scotland. This will be a key priority for me.”
Ms Somerville said the reform plans would be informed by the findings of the OECD review into Curriculum for Excellence, which is due to be published on 21 June.
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