Foreword by the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills
Having spent a decade working in education, I know that it is by far the most effective means we have to improve the life chances of our young people. Our education system must enable everyone to achieve their full potential regardless of background or where they live.
As I set out to Parliament in June, education and skills reform presents a golden opportunity to rebuild and reshape our approach, and to set a long-term direction for the way in which we provide support.
The case for reform is clear. We must address the changing needs of children and young people, teachers and practitioners, and adult learners, now and for the years ahead in a sustainable way.
Change of this scale cannot happen in isolation. Nothing short of holistic reform across the education and skills system will deliver what is needed. We must improve educational outcomes for our children and young people, and adults in learning, to ensure we deliver excellent learning and teaching for all. This means we need to work together in partnership to achieve this.
Our national education organisations are critical to our reform ambitions. They must be established with clear roles, responsibilities and functions. Yet, that alone is not enough. How they operate is also imperative, ensuring that the views and needs of those they serve are at the heart of what they do, and how they deliver support.
I am grateful to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Professor Ken Muir, Professor Louise Hayward and James Withers for their careful and thoughtful reports on the approach to Qualifications and Assessment and the skills delivery landscape. Also, my thanks go to Professors Alma Harris and Carol Campbell who facilitated our ‘National Discussion on Education’ which received an overwhelming response and demonstrated a clear appetite for reform. Taken together they have provided extensive evidence to help inform our plans for the national education infrastructure in Scotland. The recommendations contained in these reviews have all helped to inform the case for change for almost every part of the education and skills landscape. It is vital that the Government continues to take time to consider the proposals thoroughly. I will continue to keep Parliament updated on the Government’s approach to these reports.
This consultation paper specifically focuses on the new qualifications body and new approaches to inspection. Building on all the work and engagement to date, we have developed a number of proposals as to how we could establish a new qualifications body and the ways in which we could maximise the positive impact of inspection. We look forward to hearing reflections on the options set out. I place huge importance on an open and consultative approach to the future of Scotland's education and skills system and welcome your views through this consultation on the approach to the national education bodies. Your views will greatly assist our decision-making and ensure that we deliver reform that makes a positive difference across Scotland.
I look forward to receiving your responses as we continue our work for the benefit of Scotland's children, young people and the wider learning community.
Jenny Gilruth MSP
Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills
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