Fast-tracking education reforms

Landmark agreement reached with councils.

The reform of education in Scotland will be fast-tracked following a joint agreement with local councils, Deputy First Minister John Swinney has announced.

In the coming months, the Scottish Government will work to give headteachers more control over the important decisions about how to raise standards and improve attainment in their classrooms.

The agreement with COSLA will deliver on the principles of school empowerment and achieve a school- and teacher-led education system, without the need for an 18 month delay while legislation is passed.

In a statement to Parliament, Mr Swinney said a draft of the Education (Scotland) Bill had been published and it will be introduced if sufficient progress is not made over the next twelve months.

Mr Swinney also confirmed a £46 million three-year funding package to support education reform and continue improvements in attainment.

The Deputy First Minister said:

“Our focus on relentless improvement has already seen progress made towards closing the attainment gap. This landmark agreement creates the opportunity to fast-track education reforms - giving schools and teachers more control, more quickly than could be achieved through legislation.

“This decision to take a more collaborative approach chimes with the views of the International Council of Education Advisers and takes on board the feedback from our consultation on the Bill.

“I am confident that this approach, one that builds consensus and fosters collaboration, is the right approach for Scotland. However if sufficient progress has not been achieved over the next academic year, I will return to Parliament with legislation and introduce it.”

The Scottish Government also confirmed it will work with the General Teaching Council for Scotland to explore what can be done – within the scope of existing legislation – to provide the benefits of regulation and registration to a wider group of education professionals.


Full text of the Deputy First Minister’s statement to Parliament.

Full details of the agreement with COSLA.

The draft Education Bill and associated documents

The International Council of Education Advisers’ first formal report.

The £46 million funding package includes:

  • £10 million to enhance the regional capacity for improvement through the Regional Improvement Collaboratives and Education Scotland,  and to support headteachers and regional collaboration to close the poverty-related attainment gap and address rural deprivation.
  • £32 million over three years from the Scottish Attainment Challenge targeted at Looked After Children. This is in addition to funding already provided through Pupil Equity Funding and Challenge Authorities and Schools Programmes.
  • £4 million Education Scotland funding over three years for an enhanced leadership development programme.


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