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 C: Scrutiny

HM Inspection Findings 2016 - 2019

During the period September 2016 to June 2019, HM Inspectors of Education carried out inspections in all 32 local authorities in line with The Requirements for Community Learning and Development (Scotland) Regulations 2013: Guidance for Local Authorities and the Strategic Guidance for Community Planning Partnerships: Community Learning and Development, which states:

  • Education Scotland will provide public accountability through inspection, challenge and support to local authorities and partnerships.

HM Inspectors used the quality improvement framework, “How good is the learning and development in our community?” (2016) to evaluate the quality of:

  • Strategic leadership of community learning and development; and
  • Learning and development in an identified geographic community.

The main findings are outlined in the Improving life chances and empowering communities Community learning and development in Scotland: Findings from inspection evidence 2016-19 report. A summary of the findings include:

Key Strengths

  • CLD is contributing strongly to local communities in almost all local authorities.
  • CLD partners across Scotland demonstrate major strengths in improving life chances through building community capacity and delivering the learning offer for young people and adults.
  • Volunteering is providing important opportunities for people to progress their learning.
  • Targeted provision is improving basic skills, reducing social isolation and improving wellbeing for those overcoming social and economic disadvantage.
  • The CLD approach is increasingly valued by senior leaders, schools and other education providers. Strong strategic leadership of CLD is driving improvement across the majority of local authorities.

Key Aspects for Improvement

  • The measurement of performance against aims, outcomes and targets and the use of appropriate data to drive improvement and inform progress needs to be improved in around half of local authorities.
  • Joint self-evaluation for improvement within and across CLD partnerships should be strengthened.
  • Community-based adult learning needs to be strengthened to ensure that there are sufficient opportunities available for adults across Scotland to learn, achieve and progress.
  • In a few local authorities, aspects of the leadership and governance of CLD, and planning for change, requires significant improvement.
  • In a few local authorities, the tracking and monitoring of young people’s achievement is not sufficiently systematic and CLD progression routes for learners are not always sufficiently planned or clear.

The strengths of CLD outlined in this report are encouraging with some examples of outstanding practice which is making a difference for learners and communities. However, it is also clear that there is further work to do, such as strengthening CLD partnerships in terms of self-evaluation for improvement and using data and other information to measure and improve performance.

The report is intended to help and inform education authorities, local and national CLD providers, policy makers and CLD partners to reflect on practice and to engage in professional dialogue in order to bring about further improvements to CLD provision.

This process is vital in ensuring that good quality CLD provision continues and that areas for improvement are addressed as part of the review process and development of new CLD plans. HM Inspectors are also taking cognisance of these findings in developing their new arrangements for inspection and in updating “How good is the learning and development in our community?” (2016) evaluation resource.

Governance, Reviewing, Monitoring and Reporting on Progress and Impact

The CLD Regulations stipulate that each CLD planning process must identify how the education authority will co-ordinate its provision of CLD with other CLD providers within the local authority area. Some local authorities, but not all, have a strategic CLD partnership or equivalent, although these strategic groupings may have differing roles. Whatever governance structures a local authority puts in place it is important that there is clear strategic oversight of the CLD Plan. This should include regular monitoring and reporting of progress to stakeholders and arrangements to ensure that any barriers to progress are identified and addressed. In order to maintain its effectiveness, the CLD plan, like any other plan, including the Local Outcomes Improvement Plan, requires to be reviewed on an on-going basis. The process for reviewing and reporting on progress and impact should be clearly outlined. This review process is even more important if in the first year the CLD plan is focussed on supporting recovery. CLD plans must clearly outline priorities, the process and associated timeline for reviewing and updating of plans.

Education Scotland have set out scrutiny arrangement for the recovery of education following the Covid-19 pandemic. These arrangements and further information can be found in the Implementation of the Corporate Plan as a Result of COVID-19 (September 2020).



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