International Council of Education Advisers

Effective collaboration key to close attainment gap.

Scotland’s commitment to collaboration within education is impressive, the International Council of Education Advisers (ICEA) have said.

The implementation of Regional Improvement Collaboratives and appointment of Regional Improvement leads is welcome – and progress has been swift. Next steps should focus on developing further shared understandings and ensuring practice underpinned by evidence continues to be developed.

The Council conducted two days of discussion in Inverness, focused on the three priority areas they have previously identified as key to delivering further improvements in Scottish education – what works educationally to close the attainment gap; capacity building in education leadership; and building collaboration and collective responsibility.

In a joint statement the Council members said:

“We continue to be impressed by the direction of travel within Scottish education. Our first trip outwith the central belt has given us another great opportunity to see the system in action from a range of perspectives and we would like to thank the staff and students involved in both days of activity for their warm welcome.

“In particular the implementation of the Regional Improvement Collaboratives is a very welcome development since our last visit. We have spoken previously about structure, culture and capacity. With the appropriate structure now in place we would encourage the focus to now move to attending to issues of culture and capacity.

“There are already some interesting examples where collaboration is working well but we are clear that collaboration in itself is not enough to bring about the changes that are needed. Education professionals in Scotland need to not only share best practice but ensure they continue to develop new practice which is underpinned by the best evidence to ensure excellence and equity for all.”

The ICEA will now draft a final report to the Scottish Government, informed by their previous four visits, setting out the detailed actions it believes will help the Scottish Government deliver the best possible outcomes.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:

“Scotland is extremely fortunate to have access to the extensive experience of our International Council of Education Advisers. In our efforts to create a world-class education system that delivers excellence and equity for all, their advice and insight is an extremely powerful and trusted, independent resource.

“I would like to thank them for giving up their time to offer their invaluable expertise and a wide range of perspectives on the improvements we have made so far and I look forward to receiving their final report which will include further recommendations on how we can continue to ensure Scottish education goes from strength to strength, delivering the best possible start in life for every child regardless of their background.”


More information on the International Council of Education Advisers is available on the Scottish Government website.


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