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.

Annex B: Review of CLD Plans

This is the third time that education authorities have created a plan since the introduction of The Requirements for Community Learning and Development (Scotland) Regulations 2013, (“the CLD Regulations”).

Following the publication of CLD plans for the period 2018-21, a group of key national stakeholders came together to conduct a review of the plans. The group included representatives from Education Scotland, national youth work organisations, national adult learning organisations, Scottish Government policy officers and the CLD Standards Council for Scotland. The group developed a report based on their findings, which can be summarised as follows.

Key Strengths

  • Every local authority in Scotland was continuing to develop their knowledge of CLD, and that CLD partners were delivering a wide range of life-changing learning and development opportunities with learners of all ages.
  • Most CLD plans showed how disadvantaged or marginalised groups and communities were being targeted.
  • The majority of plans had a strong focus on most national policy priorities.
  • Many plans identified specific target groups, particularly for young people in relation to closing the Poverty Related Attainment Gap.
  • All plans considered and made reference to the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015.
  • A majority of plans set out specific outcomes for Health and Wellbeing.
  • Most CLD plans had outcomes related to activity resulting in achievement and accreditation for young people and adults.
  • Almost all plans set out local arrangements to evaluate and report on the progress of their plan.

Key Areas for Improvement

Whilst recognising the importance of the key strengths outlined in the previous section, the national stakeholder group also identified the following areas that could be improved upon or expanded in future CLD plans:

  • Some CLD plans did not give details about how learners and communities were engaged in the assessment, planning and evaluation of CLD provision;
  • Every plan included some reference to the partners involved in the process of developing the plan however, four plans provided no details on the range of partners involved and how partnership working was coordinated locally;
  • Although most plans make some reference to targeting disadvantaged or marginalised groups and communities, some equalities groups, such as disabled young people and their families were being given less consideration;
  • Evidence of Equality Impact Assessments being referred to was not found in any of the plans;
  • While the majority of plans have a strong focus on most national policy priorities, there are more gaps relating to adult learning. In particular, examples of specific actions around ESOL is not as widespread as would have been expected;
  • While many plans include a commitment to a range of early intervention strategies – for example around health or inclusion issues – the group found that only 8 plans had a focus on community safety; only 3 plans have explicit outcomes focused on reducing anti-social behaviour; and only one plan has a specific commitment to reduce levels of violence and knife crime with young people;
  • Most plans give a broad statement referring to unmet need, 14 plans give little detail on this and 3 plans did not appear to consider unmet CLD needs at all;
  • A small number of plans did not clearly set out local arrangements to evaluate and report on progress;
  • Not all plans provided detailed actions to support and develop the local CLD workforce.

Education authorities should work with CLD partners to consider the key strengths and areas for improvement identified in the Planning for Change report when developing their CLD plans for 2021-24.



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