Improving the education and life chances of our children and young people is the defining mission of this Government. That ambition is shared widely across the education system and remains central to our improvement agenda. Our annual statutory review of the National Improvement Framework in autumn 2017 confirmed that there is universal support for the vision, strategic priorities and drivers of improvement that have been at the heart of our school improvement agenda over the past two years. For that reason we must maintain a consistent approach over the term of this Parliament and focus on our agenda of empowering schools, strengthening the profession and working to close the poverty-related attainment gap.
Tackling inequity is at the heart of the Scottish Government's education reform agenda and there is a collective responsibility to ensure continuous improvement for children and young people. The new Scottish Education Council will play a key role in delivering a system-wide focus on improvement and the forthcoming Education Bill will support a genuinely school and teacher-led system. Decisions that shape the education of children and young people will be made in classrooms, schools and establishments, by those working with learners, their parents and communities.
The ability of children and young people to learn in the classroom does not exist in isolation from their wider circumstances at home and in their community. The new regional improvement collaboratives, made up of experienced and talented educators from schools, local authorities and Education Scotland will work with partners to identify particular areas for improvement and ensure that interventions are put in place to address them.
The National Improvement Framework is now giving us more data than ever before, enabling a deeper understanding of educational strengths and weaknesses at all levels of the system. Our consultation on a framework for assessing our progress in closing the poverty-related attainment gap has established consensus that a single measure cannot describe the attainment gap appropriately. It has also confirmed general support for a package of indicators and improvement goals that build on the range of measures we already have in place.
We must work together across school, local authority and national boundaries to ensure that support for improvement is consistent across the country. If our shared ambition is to ensure that Scotland is the best place in the world to grow up then it is nothing less than our children and young people deserve.
Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills