Coronavirus COVID-19 Learner Journey Ministerial Task Force minutes: 23 March 2021

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 23 March 2021.

Attendees and apologies

  • Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, Richard Lochhead (Chair)
  • Shona Struthers (Chief Executive, Colleges Scotland)
  • Andy Witty (Director of Sector Policy, Colleges Scotland)
  • Alastair Sim (Director, Universities Scotland)
  • Sir Paul Grice (Chair of Learning and Teaching Committee, Universities Scotland)
  • Gill Stewart (Director of Qualifications Development, SQA)
  • Fiona Robertson (Chief Executive, SQA)
  • Marion Allison (Director, CLD Standards Council)
  • Karen Watt (Chief Executive, SFC)
  • Martin Boyle (Director of Policy, Insight and Analytics, SFC)
  • Mary Senior (Scotland Official)
  • Gillian Ritchie (HMI Inspector, Head of Scrutiny, Education Scotland)
  • Neville Prentice (Senior Director, Service Development and Delivery, SDS)
  • Lauren McNamara (Director of Strategy and Innovation, SAAS)
  • Matt Crilly (President, National Union of Students Scotland)
  • Lorcan Mullen (Head of Higher Education, Unison)
  • Stuart Brown (National Officer for FE, EIS)
  • Gavin Gray (Deputy Director of Young Person’s Guarantee, Scottish Government)
  • Lorna Gibbs (Director of Advanced Learning and Science, Scottish Government)
  • Susan Pryde (Team Leader for SFC Review, MLG and Learner Journey Taskforce, Scottish Government)
  • Linda Pooley (Deputy Director of Colleges, SFC Sponsorship and Post-16 Programmes, Scottish Government)
  • Nicola Dean (Head of Policy and Governance, SG)
  • Susan Gallacher (Head of College Policy, Scottish Government)
  • Jennifer Finn (Student Support Review Programme Manager, Scottish Government)
  • Shona MacPherson (Policy Manager, Scottish Government)
  • Kathryn Chisholm (ELC Workforce Team Leader, Scottish Government)
  • Susan Downes (Senior Policy Officer, Scottish Government)
  • Simon Hewitt (Principal, Dundee and Angus College)
  • Blair Reavely (Ministerial Group Secretariat, Scottish Government)


  • Carol Turnbull (Chair of College Principals’ Group, Colleges Scotland)

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

The Minister welcomed members to the fourth meeting of the Learner Journey Taskforce and thanked members for their continued support in taking forward the work to maximise the number of learners being able to continue their courses.

The Minister acknowledged that this would be the last meeting he would chair before the pre-election period and made members aware that this taskforce would be chaired by a government official moving forward.

The Minister made reference to the recently issued letter from Scottish Funding Council to college principles and thanked colleagues for the work that went into this.

Members agreed the full and short version of minutes from the third taskforce meeting.

Discussion on action plan

There were updates and progress reports provided by Taskforce members on each of the action plan items for discussion by the group.


The Minister thanked members for their contribution and the progress being made to get students through their courses. The next meeting is on 14 April at 13:00-14:15 which will be chaired by a senior Scottish Government Official due to being within the pre-election period.

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