Building a New Scotland: Education and lifelong learning in an independent Scotland

This paper sets out the Scottish Government's vision for Education and Lifelong Learning in an independent Scotland.


This paper has set out how taking decisions in Scotland, for Scotland, could improve the lives of the people who live here.

The Scottish Government is committed to making Scotland the best place in the world for children and young people to grow up, and the journey towards achieving this ambition has gathered pace since the Scottish Parliament was re-established in 1999.

This paper has explained how we could go further and faster towards making this a reality in an independent Scotland. But still, too many decisions impacting our young people are being left to the UK Government – from social security policies pushing children into poverty, to cuts to capital budgets limiting investments the Scottish Government can make, decisions made at Westminster are holding back Scotland's young people from meeting their full potential.

Making decisions on education in Scotland, for Scotland has seen a transformation in the life chances of our children and young people: from the offer of a baby box, to the most generous ELC offer across the UK, to investing more per pupil than anywhere else across the UK, to free tuition fees. Building on our achievements to date, this paper has set out the actions the Scottish Government could take in an independent Scotland to enable every child and young person, and every learner whatever their age, to flourish.

Independence would place the normal economic levers that other countries enjoy in Scotland's hands and, crucially, open up a range of opportunities to do things differently. As this paper has described, different choices could be made on a range of key issues, like children's rights, tackling child poverty, support for childcare costs and parental leave.

Independence would mean Scotland could apply to rejoin the EU as a Member State in its own right. Re-joining the EU at the earliest opportunity represents the best future for Scotland. This paper sets out how EU membership would widen educational opportunities for future generations, including through access to Eramsus+.

The shape of future Scottish governments, and the decisions they take, would be solely up to the people of Scotland. Ending the democratic deficit which sees decisions made at Westminster would improve the life chances for our children and young people, giving future governments real power to enact the transformative change needed to protect our future generations.



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