Education governance – next steps

Scottish Government’s vision for education and the reforms we will take forward following the review of education governance.

5. Delivering an Empowered System - The Next Steps

5.1 Delivering changes over the short, medium and longer term

We have set out a clear vision for education, one which is led by teachers and schools, where collaboration is key to driving improvement, and where all children and young people are able to reach their potential. In the previous chapters, we have set out a number of actions which we believe are necessary to deliver this, and in practice, this will lead to a number of changes for everyone involved in education. A number of these changes will require legislative change. Whilst national Government has a role to play in directing and supporting many of these changes, it is clear that collective and shared effort will be required from all partners if the system is to be open, responsive and dynamic. However, we are clear that this work must begin now.

In the short term, our focus will therefore be to engage with teachers and practitioners, with parents, children and young people, and with all partners involved currently in the delivery of education, to take these changes forward. Work will begin immediately to ensure that enhanced improvement services are available to teachers and practitioners as early as possible, and so that when the legislation and structural changes are in place, this support is widely available to schools and functioning well.

Specific priorities in the short term will include:

  • Commencing appointment in summer 2017 of a substantive Chief Executive in for a strengthened Education Scotland, with the appointment of Regional Directors, to follow thereafter.
  • Working in partnership with local authorities and partners to develop the shape and composition of the regional improvement collaboratives. We will ensure that the experience of current and emerging partnership working informs the establishment of regional improvement collaboratives.
  • Strengthening of parental involvement and parental and community engagement, consulting on legislative changes to strengthen, expand and improve the Scottish Schools (Parental Involvement) Act 2006. We will consult on these changes as part of our consultation on our Education Bill in autumn 2017.
  • Strengthening parental and community engagement by working with the Scottish Parent Teacher Council over the next year to learn from their Partnership Schools initiative to ensure that schools support parents to play an active part in school improvement.
  • Strengthening the voice of children and young people by supporting all schools to promote and support pupil participation, consulting on a requirement that every school pursues the key principles of pupil participation. This will be included in our consultation on our Education Bill in autumn 2017.
  • Consulting on an approach to fair funding, as set out in Education Governance - Fair Funding to achieve Excellence and Equity in Education, published alongside this document.
  • Developing the Headteachers' charter and consulting on a proposed approach to the legislation to underpin this, in time for the introduction of an Education Bill by June 2018.
  • Beginning work from June 2017 on transferring relevant functions from national bodies, ensuring that there is continued stability for schools, children and young people during this period. This will include national support for professional learning and leadership development which will become part of Education Scotland.
  • Establishing a Scottish Education Council by October 2017, chaired by the Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, to ensure a system-wide focus on improvement can be delivered.
  • Consulting on establishing an Education Workforce Council for Scotland which will take on the responsibilities of the GTCS, the Community Learning and Development Standards Council and register other education professionals. The full scope of the functions to be undertaken by this body will be included in our consultation on our Education Bill in autumn 2017.
  • Working with the wider school workforce to introduce professional standards for these staff. We will start this work from September 2017 onwards.
  • Making clear our expectations by early autumn 2017 of the SQA, including the importance of listening and being open to the voices of learners, teachers and parents. We will ensure that the Chair regularly reports to Ministers on the improvements being made in relation to these matters. We will request that SQA outline in their annual corporate plan their strategic communications and engagement plans.
  • Working with our partners, and particularly the profession, to establish new career pathways for teachers allowing greater opportunities for development and progression into leadership, specialist or improvement roles. We will start these discussions in September 2017.
  • Enhancing the leadership support package to build the capacity and culture for teachers and headteachers to take on their new more empowered roles. This is an ongoing commitment but one we will start working on from August 2017.

In the medium to longer term, we will embed these changes, ensuring that capacity is built and developed across the system, to ensure schools and teachers are fully empowered to take on their new role. Specific actions across the medium to longer term will include:

  • Developing a specific recruitment campaign for headteachers building on the Teachers make People campaign in spring 2018.
  • Developing a mechanism by end of 2018 to identify aspirant headteachers early in their career and develop a programme of professional learning and work experiences to lead them to the Into Headship course - this will provide a fast-track leadership route for talented teachers providing a clear pathway to headship.
  • Developing by the end of 2018 new Executive Consultant Head and Cluster Leader roles with partners to strengthen school leadership.
  • Developing by the end of 2018 a new Systems Leadership role to provide clear progression opportunities and to strengthen educational leadership at all levels in the system.
  • Ensuring by 2019 that every school has access to a home to school link worker to support parents and families who find it challenging to engage in their child's learning and feel excluded from the work and life of their child's school.
  • We will strengthen school, parental and community engagement by requiring from 2019 that every school has a teacher or professional who has responsibility for promoting parental, family and community engagement.
  • Working with Education Scotland and the Care Inspectorate to develop by the end of 2018 a single shared inspection model for early learning and childcare and a commitment that each institution will only be subject to a single inspection per cycle.
  • Developing an approach to funding that truly empowers schools, and provides the framework of support which schools need, based on the outcome of the consultation. We are launching our consultation on funding today and will set out our proposals by summer 2018.

5.2 What the system will look like in practice

As we have made clear, and based on international evidence of what works, we want our system to be open, responsive and dynamic. We accept that if we are to achieve that, and empower our schools, parents and communities, we cannot prescribe exactly how the system will look. We are clear, however, on how our system should feel and work for every person and at every level of the system. The table below sets out our expectations.

Children and Young People

  • Realising their potential, being placed at the centre of learning
  • Successful, confident, responsible and resilient young people equipped for future success in learning, life and work
  • Closing the attainment gap with no pattern between living in poverty and lower attainment
  • Giving every child from lowest to highest performing the chance to do even better
  • Every child's needs met with all services in the school and community working together well
  • Giving children and young people a greater say in school decisions which affect them through enhanced participation
  • Supporting children with additional support needs with expertise at a regional level


  • Engaging in their own child's learning and to understand their child's progress
  • Making decisions as equal partners with teachers on what is in the best interest for each child
  • Empowering Parent Councils to play a full role in school governance
  • Helping schools work in partnership with the parent community to shape and steer matters such as school improvement
  • Supporting parental and community engagement with new roles within the teaching profession and education workforce


  • Being the leaders of learning in their classrooms
  • Helping develop new career pathways allowing greater opportunities for career development and progression into leadership, specialist or improvement roles
  • Being supported by streamlined professional learning so that there is a coherent learning offer to teachers
  • Using professional autonomy to lead learning
  • Engaging in a refreshed and re-energised profession
  • Being supported by a renewed "offer" from Government to teachers, including:
    • new career pathways into leadership, specialist or improvement roles
    • improvement of ITE and professional learning
    • professional learning expanded and available at regional level
  • Enhancing support from all levels of the system including:
    • hands on, highly credible support from regional improvement collaboratives
    • increasing peer-to-peer and school-to-school support focussed on the core business of improving teaching and learning
    • support is increasingly about collaborative working rather than paperwork or written guidance

Headteachers and Schools

  • Being the leaders of learning in their schools
  • Being supported through a revolutionised offer of support and improvement
  • Raising attainment and closing the poverty-related attainment gap
  • Delivering quality and improvement at school level
  • Selecting and managing the teachers and staff in their school
  • Deciding school management and staffing structure, including business managers
  • Deciding curriculum content and offer
  • Working with partners to meet learners' additional support needs at school level
  • Collaborating for school improvement at school, cluster and regional level
  • Leading self-evaluation and improvement of school performance
  • Monitoring school progress and reporting
  • Managing defined and greater proportions of school funding (this will be part of the accompanying consultation on funding)

School Clusters

  • Connecting early years, primary and secondary schools around a learning cluster. Providing dedicated resource to support transitions
  • Ensuring learning clusters are supported by a senior leader within each cluster
  • Empowering headteachers to share resources and staffing to meet the needs of children across the learning cluster
  • Working together and with other public services and the third sector to provide family learning and support for children and families beyond the traditional school day

Local Government

  • Providing education support services, including: the supply of schools; the provision of denominational and Gaelic-medium schools where required; the administration of placing and admissions procedures, including for children with additional support needs (including independent sector where appropriate); such as HR functions; planning for future requirements; and securing excellent headteachers for the schools in their area
  • Providing HR services for all school staff and respond to HR requests from headteachers
  • Being the employer of the education workforce within their schools and local authority early learning and childcare settings
  • Supporting the provision of early learning and childcare delivered by funded providers (in the private and voluntary sector) as well as local authority nurseries in various establishments to maximise its educational benefit to young children
  • Appointing headteachers
  • Being accountable to local communities for the provision of education support services including early learning and childcare in their area
  • Appointing a Chief Education Officer as set out in the Education (Scotland) Act 2016 in order to fulfil their responsibilities in relation to education support services
  • Having a new duty to collaborate to support improvement on a regional basis
  • Being responsible for improvement through their provision of education support services, their regional collaboration and securing leadership in their schools
  • Collaborating with other local authorities and national agencies to provide staff (including headteachers and teachers) to work within the regional improvement collaborative
  • Ensuring that other local authority provision, such as Children's Services and Library and Community Services work effectively with schools and regional improvement collaboratives to provide care and education to children and their families

Regional improvement collaboratives

  • Providing a relentless focus on improvement and closing the attainment gap
  • Identifying and reporting on regional educational priorities with regional plans under the National Improvement Framework
  • Providing dedicated teams with sole focus on supporting collaboration and improving standards in all schools in the region
  • Providing professional learning
  • Providing clear accountability with Regional Directors reporting to the Chief Executive, Education Scotland


  • Supporting the new system with increased frequency of inspection - a new framework provided clarifying expectations on inspection and reporting. A single shared inspection model for early education and childcare

Scottish Government

  • Providing strategic vision and national leadership of education
  • Providing accountability for national education bodies
  • Providing national standards and national priorities for education through the National Improvement Plan
  • Funding education
  • Recommending legislation to Parliament
  • Providing accountability for the performance of the regional improvement collaboratives
  • Providing accountability to Parliament for the performance of the overall system


Email: Stephanie Gray

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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