Foreword by the Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills
It is a great privilege to be appointed the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills. As the First Minister has made clear, education is the defining mission of this Government. There can be no greater responsibility than working to improve the life chances of our children.
There are many strengths in Scottish education, reflecting the hard work and commitment of teachers, parents and young people across Scotland. This was confirmed by the recent OECD review, Improving Schools in Scotland: An OECD Perspective. Scotland has been bold, innovative and collaborative in its approach.
However, there is further important work to do, to deliver both excellence and equity. I am committed to raising attainment and making demonstrable progress in closing the gap in attainment between our least and most disadvantaged young people over the lifetime of this Parliament.
This Delivery Plan outlines the steps the Scottish Government will take to achieve these improvements, building on the work contained in the National Improvement Framework which was published in January, and addresses the recommendations of the OECD review. It requires action from us all, across all the drivers of improvement outlined in the Framework. This action will be coupled with reforms to deliver a transformational expansion in early learning and childcare, fairer funding for our schools and empowered teachers who have the space and time to deliver. I am committed to ensuring unnecessary and unintended workload is removed from the classroom, so teachers have the freedom to teach.
This plan will provide clarity and focus to all of our work on improving Scottish education and take strong and decisive action where it is needed.
The recent Education Summit highlighted the need to work together, beyond the school gates and across Scotland as a whole, to deliver this national endeavour. I will continue to engage widely on this plan over the summer and early autumn. These conversations will also inform a review of school governance, to be announced alongside the Programme for Government in September.
We will build on Scotland's strengths, so powerfully highlighted by the OECD, and make further progress. We will be guided by what the evidence is telling us, drawing on the advice of a newly-established International Council of Education Advisors. I will work hard to build consensus and partnership, but I intend to move forward with clarity, with purpose and with pace. Our children deserve nothing less.
Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills