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.

Developing the CLD Plan 2021-24

Education authorities and their partners should also ensure that they adhere to the expectations set out in Section 3 (Responsibilities) of the 2014 Guidance and the themes set out in the 2017 guidance note which illustrates key parts of the CLD planning process:


It is envisaged that education authorities will continue to develop a collaborative approach to delivering priorities CLD services in schools, colleges, third sector organisations and communities. CLD is an essential part of education recovery following the Covid-19 pandemic.

The plan should be developed in partnership with learners and communities. The needs of learners and communities should clearly inform priorities and there should be evidence of effective community engagement which is enabling learners and groups of all ages to have ownership of CLD priorities in the area.

Shared CLD Priorities

In creating the CLD plan, it is important to consult with and recognise the strength of CLD delivery provided by partners from schools, colleges and third sector organisations. This will help to ensure CLD provision is adequate and efficient and meets the needs of young people, adults, families and communities. Education authorities should:

  • Create a shared CLD plan which that sets out clear and coherent priorities for the delivery of CLD services across the education authority area. The plan should be developed with community planning partners from schools, colleges, third sector organisations and local authorities;
  • Demonstrate what steps community planning partners are taking to maximise the impact of CLD by focusing activity on the most disadvantaged learners and communities;
  • Describe the role of partners that will be involved in the delivery of CLD services from schools, colleges, third sector organisations and other partners across the local authority area;
  • Consider the outcomes identified by the Regional Improvement Collaborative;
  • Clearly articulate the contribution of CLD services in their area to the policy priorities outlined above and in ANNEX A.


During the planning process there are a range of considerations which will help to inform decision-making. Education authorities, in developing their CLD plans, should:

  • Consider the full impact of CLD in the wide range of environments and contexts where learning takes place;
  • Consider within the CLD plan 2021-24, the key messages from:
  • Ensure the CLD plans are consistent with existing and emerging priorities for young people, adults and their families within schools, colleges, third sector organisations and communities across the local authority area. CLD priorities should be embedded in school improvement plans, LOIPs and child poverty action plans;
  • Ensure that CLD plans have a timely Equalities Impact Assessment, in line with the public sector equality duty;
  • Consider how the CLD plans will connect as the following Programme for Government commitments emerge:
    • Lifelong Learning Framework 2022–27
    • Adult Learning Strategy 2021–2026
    • Youth Work Strategy 2021-26

The Scottish Government will continue to develop the above strategies throughout 2021. Leaders of education authorities should consider the impact of any updated strategies as part of their CLD plan review processes.


Governance is an important part of the CLD planning process and the following points should be reflected in building a CLD plan:

  • Clear, robust governance arrangements should be created for annual monitoring and reporting. This should include a timeline for reviewing and evaluating the impact and progress of the CLD plan and the services provided;
  • Barriers to adequate and efficient CLD provision should be identified and communicated. This is also known as the unmet needs of CLD provision;
  • The CLD plan and the reporting arrangements should be clear and accessible to local learners and communities.

Workforce Development

The education authority should ensure that CLD workforce planning is an integral part of the CLD plan and that the plan identifies the actions to be taken to support and develop the CLD workforce. In doing this, education authorities should:

  • Consider how the issues identified in the Working With Scotland’s Communities 2018 study, and the recommendations made at the Collaboration For Improvement event, (ANNEX D) apply in its specific context;
  • Identify specific actions required to demonstrate commitment to the CLD workforce, and to support this through strong partnerships with the range of providers delivering outcomes for young people, adults, families and communities across the local authority area;
  • Provide practice placements for CLD students;
  • Recruit qualified CLD practitioners, at the appropriate level of practice or leadership across all areas of Adult Learning, Community Development, Family Learning and Youth Work;
  • Support the CLD workforce in its area, across all sectors, to benefit from engaging with the CLD Standards Council through registered membership.



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