International Council of Education Advisers report

Expert view on Scottish education.

The second report of the International Council of Education Advisers (ICEA) has been published.

The ICEA report notes that Scottish education exhibits many strengths and that it values equity as well as excellence. The report acknowledges the impact COVID-19 has had on the education system and highlights the need to create a more resilient education system for the future. Among other things, the Council recommends:

  • cyclical reviews of Curriculum for Excellence
  • development of increased student capacity for self-directed learning, and the importance of addressing the digital divide
  • a greater role for internal assessment in determining formal qualifications

The Scottish Government has also published the updated 2021 National Improvement Framework (NIF), which sets out improvements needed to deliver on Ministers’ vision of closing the attainment gap and providing excellent education for all. The main focus of the 2021 NIF is on education recovery, continued support for the teaching profession and the health and wellbeing of young people.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:

“The International Council of Education Advisers recognises the effort and resources going in to narrow attainment gaps and strengthen the teaching profession. It reinforces the issue of equity as the defining agenda of our time, says we have an excellent standing internationally and that Scottish education can be a ‘global standard bearer in a post-pandemic world.’

“That is no easy task and the report provides a series of detailed recommendations to help us not just get back to normal, but to use the pandemic as an opportunity to develop a more resilient education system for the future.

 “I am grateful to every member of the Council for giving us their time and their experience to help improve education  We will consider the report carefully, discuss with our partners and publish a full response in the new year.”

ICEA member Professor Chris Chapman, Chair of Educational Policy and Practice at the University of Glasgow, said:

“Despite the challenges that we have faced during the global pandemic it has been a pleasure to work with ICEA colleagues to offer challenge and support to the Scottish education system so that all children and young people of Scotland can achieve their full potential.”


Read the International Council of Education Advisers report.

Read the 2021 National Improvement Framework.

The International Council of Education Advisers (ICEA) was established in 2016 to provide advice regarding education policies and practices to the First Minister and Deputy First Minister to advance equity and excellence in the Scottish education system. This is the second formal report of the ICEA relating to the ICEA’s second two-year term (2018-2020) of work.


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