A vision for the future
229. We recognise that we have a system of education and skills that works well for many. It is also clear that the system has worked hard to better align itself over the last ten years. We see this in the numerous examples of school-college partnerships and in the progress with college to university articulation.
230. We also note some of the 'sticking-points' which are beginning to suggest the limits of progress than can be reached by existing collaboration. There are also increasing expectations placed upon the system by the need to do more for our young people. We hear this through the voices of young people themselves. We see this through the expectations of the Commission on Widening Access and also in the ambition of the Developing Young Workforce programme. We also see it in a changing external environment, and in, for example, the challenges expressed within the Scottish Government's Mental Health Strategy, 2017 and the ambitious set out in, Every Child, Every Chance: the Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan 2018-22, the first Child Poverty Delivery Plan under the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017.
231. Interestingly, we also see new emerging partnerships, seemingly taking shape in response to the limits of the system and increasingly linked to employer need. For example, the work of the South East Scotland Academies Partnership as evidenced in the submission received from Universities Scotland.
232. These new collaborative approaches to engender new ways of working and overcome the existing limitations of the current system suggest an appetite for deeper and more purposeful collaboration between schools, communities, colleges, training providers and universities. This is critical since, within an aligned education and skills system, there should be fair and equal responsibility shared across its respective parts.
A Fully Aligned 15-24 education and skills system
233. Throughout this report we have made reference to our longer term vision. This is an attempt to set out a course of travel that we know will take time and that will develop incrementally as levels of collaboration increase.
234. At the heart of this vision is the need for:
- Scotland to see itself as possessing a unified learning system in which practitioners across all sectors are working toward the same vision. This includes CLD, training providers and all teaching that takes place out-with the classroom.
- Leaders of sectors, institutions and agencies to guide and support staff toward contributing to this shared goal and make decisions to achieve it. This will require a strengthening of behaviours to prioritise a learner's entire journey and the development of cross-sector collaborative practice in support of this.
- Greater shared understanding and a common language fully embracing the SCQF to describe and chart progress of our young people as they move through the different forms of learning.
- The measurement of the system to consider the added value of each part with an equal focus on the shared ownership of impact, rather than a focus on institution or agency success; and, that this is used to foster collaboration, measuring SCQF attainment rather than specific qualifications.
- A balanced curriculum across the Learner Journey that gives sufficient value to work based learning and is well matched to local and national current and projected economic needs that avoids duplication and makes maximum use of shared approach to estates, resources and expertise.
- A curriculum offer that is mutually agreed by partners in the system and informed by need and opportunity.
- The delivery of the curriculum that maximises blended approaches, with digital solutions embedded as appropriate for different groups of learners, and which is structured and scheduled together from the outset.
- That this curriculum is underpinned by an embedded approach to learner support and guidance and partnership working with business.
235. We are at an important point in time, with the recent education reforms providing the opportunity to develop and enhance regional collaboration between schools and with their partners and with the development of digital learning approaches showing how this collaboration can be extended to all parts of the country.
236. Our ambition has to be greater than the promotion of good partnership practice.
237. Our test should be that alignment within the system is sustainable and guarantees the equity of learning opportunity across Scotland. This is because Scotland's education and skills system can only justifiably be world class if it systematically works together for all.