Community learning and development plans: guidance - 2021 to 2024

Guidance document setting out our expectations for education authorities and their partners when meeting duties in community learning and development (CLD) planning for 2021 to 2024 as per The Requirements for Community Learning and Development (Scotland) Regulations 2013.

Impact of Covid-19 on CLD

In March 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic changed the way that learning was delivered by Scotland’s schools, colleges, third sector organisations and communities. Digital learning and engagement has become increasingly prominent as a method of delivering services and support.

The pandemic inevitably presented challenges for Scotland’s most vulnerable learners - digital poverty resulted in people being unable to access learning due to a lack of digital awareness, skills, devices or connectivity. In addition, the priorities of some learners changed from learning and development to a focus on health and wellbeing; and accessing essential services such as food, medicine or money advice.

CLD workers have been widely recognised as key workers during the pandemic, continuing to engage with young people, families, adult learners and community organisations, particularly in our most disadvantaged communities. The Scottish Government recognise that CLD practitioners have a vital role to play in rebuilding from the pandemic and responding to the new challenges ahead. There is an expectation that education authorities will take appropriate steps to:

  • Ensure that adequate and efficient CLD support is made available to assist disadvantaged communities to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic;
  • Consider the impacts on disadvantaged learners and communities as part of an ongoing assessment and reflect any changes in the planning and review process in 2021-22;
  • Embed priorities for recovery and renewal of local CLD services within Local Outcomes Improvement Plans (LOIP) and other relevant local plans.

The impact of Covid-19 in Scotland, and around the world, reminds us that the role of CLD and empowerment can help people engage in learning in our communities, schools, colleges, third sector and voluntary organisations as we move to recover from the pandemic.


The priorities for the delivery of CLD throughout the life span of the CLD plan (2021-24) should include, but not be limited to:

  • Priorities set out in LOIPs and other national policies, whilst taking account of an evidence base most relevant to CLD provision;
  • Working with partners in schools, colleges, third sector organisation and community planning partnerships to ensure services are adequate and efficient;
  • Identifying priority groups and target the most vulnerable and marginalised learners in schools, colleges and communities to engage with CLD services;
  • Protecting and improving health and wellbeing outcomes for young people, adults and families;
  • Creating additional opportunities and support for learning, employability and creating local wealth;
  • Recognising and taking appropriate action to support those most disproportionately affected by digital poverty ensuring they have the necessary tools, skills and support to access digital learning and services;
  • A commitment to incorporate the UNCRC into policy across CLD services;
  • Taking account of the need for community based adult learning, youth work and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) learning and embedding in provision across the local authority area.

A collaborative approach to ensuring the delivery of CLD practice is recognised as being key to achieving improved outcomes for young people, adults, families and communities within in the local authority area.



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