International Council of Education Advisers

Challenge to government ‘essential’ if reforms are to be robust - DFM.

Challenge from the Scottish Government’s International Council of Education Advisers is essential if we are to implement robust reforms that bring about improvements in Scotland’s schools, Deputy First Minister John Swinney has said at its second meeting.

The panel of experts, set up last year to help the Scottish Government improve education in Scotland, has joined the Deputy First Minister for two days of meetings in Edinburgh.

During proceedings, the council was due to update ministers on developing thinking around its three key themes –  capacity building in educational leadership and professional learning; building collaboration and collective responsibility in Scottish education; and outlining what works educationally to close the equity gap.

They were also expected to confirm how they will report to ministers as well as setting out areas of challenge that they expect the Scottish Government to respond to.    

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Mr Swinney said:

“We want to create a world-class education system that helps all of our children to succeed. In working towards that aim, Scotland is extremely fortunate to have access to the expertise of our International Council of Education Advisers - a powerful resource that will bring its own valuable and varied perspective to delivering excellence and equity in our schools.

"The first meeting of the council identified three key themes for consideration as it brings forward recommendations to help our efforts to drive improvement and close the poverty-related attainment gap.  I look forward to hearing the emerging thinking on those themes during our discussions, as well as confirming the reporting timetable for the recommendations to be published.

"We are taking forward a reform agenda based firmly on the OECD's independent review of Scottish education, which endorsed Curriculum for Excellence.  That report presented questions and challenges for the Scottish Government and it is essential that the ICEA presents similar challenges to ministers to ensure that our reforms are robust and deliver the improvements we need.”  


The International Council of Education Advisers (ICEA) was established in 2016 to advise Ministers on how best to achieve excellence and equity in our Scottish education system. It has two formal meetings a year and met for the first time in August 2016.

The panel members have extensive experience advising educators and governments on education leadership, school improvement and reform in countries including the US, Canada, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Malaysia, Australia and the UK.

The members of the International Council of Education Advisers are:

Dr Carol Campbell, Education Adviser to the Ontario Premier and Minister of Education and Associate Professor of Leadership and Educational Change at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.

  • Professor Chris Chapman, Chair of Educational Policy and Practice at the University of Glasgow and Senior Academic Adviser to the Scottish Attainment Challenge.
  • Professor Graham Donaldson, Consultant and international adviser for OECD  Jayne-Anne Gadhia, Chief Executive of Virgin Money
  • Dr Avis Glaze, former Ontario Education Commissioner and Senior Adviser to the Minister for Education.
  • Professor Andy Hargreaves, Thomas More Brennan Chair in the Lynch School of Education at Boston College and a member of the OECD team that recently reviewed Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence.
  • Professor Alma Harris, Department of Education at the University of Bath.
  • Dr Pak Tee Ng, Associate Dean, Leadership Learning, and Head of the Policy and Leadership Studies Academic Group at Singapore’s National Institute of Education.
  • Dr Pasi Sahlberg, former Director General of the Centre for International Mobility and Cooperation at Finland’s Ministry for Education and Culture, and a visiting Professor of Practice at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education.
  • Dr Allison Skerrett, Associate Professor in Language and Literacy Studies at the University of Texas.


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