International Council of Education Advisers

Closing the attainment gap focus of discussions over two days.

The first meeting of the Scottish Government’s International Council of Education Advisers has concluded, with discussions focused on how to bring about success for every young person in Scotland, regardless of their background or circumstances.

Chaired by the First Minister, day one of the Council meeting saw the group discuss the current state of Scottish education, with a review of the OECD findings led by Professor Andy Hargreaves.

Day two’s session, chaired by the Deputy First Minister, focused on the way forward, with an in-depth discussion about how to address the attainment gap and the Scottish Government’s school governance review.

During the two-day event, the Council carried out visits to primary and secondary schools, meeting pupils, teachers and parents, as well as speaking to education stakeholders such as Cosla, teachers’ unions and the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland.

After the meeting, the Council confirmed it would take forward work examining:

• Capacity building in educational leadership and professional learning.
• Building collaboration and collective responsibility in Scottish education.
• What works educationally to close the equity gap.

The Council will meet again in February.

Mr Swinney said:

“My absolute focus is to bring about success for all of Scotland’s young people, while at the same time closing the attainment gap caused by poverty that persists in our schools. We are already taking a range of actions but we want to go further and find innovative, proven methods that can be used in Scotland.

“That is why we have appointed a distinguished panel of international experts, each of whom has a unique perspective on what works to ensure we see improved performance.

“The first meeting of the panel was extremely valuable, with discussions on the current state of Scottish education before analysis of the areas in which the council can help us make the reforms we need to deliver our ambitions.

“The Council has now identified three key themes it wishes to explore in further work and I look forward to engaging further with them as we continue our programme for education reform in Scotland.”

In a joint statement, the Council members said:

“We have been deeply impressed with the schools we have visited during our two day programme and we would like to thank all of the teachers, headteachers, pupils, parents and others who have taken the time to give us their perspective on Scotland’s education system. We have learned a great deal.

“The discussions we had with the First Minister and Deputy First Minister were open and free and we were able to establish and demonstrate our broad support for the direction that the Scottish Government has laid out for Scotland’s schools and wider education system.

“Scotland has a strong education system that is committed to its own improvement and is now moving in a bold direction that offers real opportunity to bring about success for all of the country’s young people, irrespective of their background.

“In the months ahead, we look forward to engaging with the First Minister and Deputy First Minister to help them realise the high ambitions that they, the education profession and wider civic Scotland has for their children and young people.”

Notes to editors

The full list of education experts on the International Council can be found here -

Pictures of the Council meeting can be found on our flickr page here -


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