Education reform legislation published

New qualifications body and independent inspectorate to be established.

Legislation to create a new national qualifications body and an independent inspectorate of schools and other educational providers has been published.

The Education (Scotland) Bill includes provisions to replace the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) with a new national qualifications body, Qualifications Scotland.

If passed by the Scottish Parliament, the legislation will also establish the office of His Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education in Scotland, with enhanced independence, to undertake the education inspection functions which currently sit within Education Scotland.

While not part of the Bill provisions, Education Scotland’s role as the national education agency is also to be refocussed as part of the reform process - including taking a lead on curriculum design, delivery and improvement which will cover the provision of resources to support high quality learning and teaching.

Education Secretary Jenny Gilruth said:

"I am determined to drive further improvements across Scotland’s schools, and the changes being set out in this Bill will strengthen the national education landscape to better support pupils and teachers.

"The governance processes for the new national qualifications body will ensure the knowledge and experience of pupils and teachers are central to decisions taken on qualifications and assessment.

"Greater independence for the new inspectorate body will see the power to set the frequency and focus for inspections moving from Scottish Ministers to His Majesty’s Chief Inspector.  This is a significant change and will  increase confidence in the independent role of inspections in assessing and identifying strengths and areas for improvement across our education system.

"The Scottish Government’s programme of education and skills reform will drive improvement right across the education system. That's why we've taken time to engage with learners, teachers and other professionals across the education and skills sector to ensure these changes meet the needs of future generations."


The Education (Scotland) Bill  will see Qualifications Scotland replace the SQA and it is expected to become operational in Autumn 2025. The Bill creates strengthened governance arrangements and increased accountability to learners and to the teaching profession. It places a requirement on Qualifications Scotland to establish dedicated committees for learners and for teachers, and for it to create two specific “charters” to set out what learners and teachers should expect from Qualifications Scotland to ensure its processes are fair and transparent and that the organisation can be held to account by those it serves.

Once appointed, HM Chief Inspector, will lead the new education inspectorate, which is expected to become operational in Autumn 2025. The new inspectorate will operate independently, but it is intended that Scottish Ministers will retain oversight authority and Ministers will be able to request inspections are carried out by the Chief Inspector.

The revised remit of Education Scotland, which is not part of the Bill’s provisions, will see it continue as the national education agency.



Media enquiries

Back to top