Education Reform: Expert Panel meeting minutes: 24 August 2021

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 24 August 2021.

Attendees and apologies

  • Professor Ken Muir (Chair), Independent Advisor to Scottish Government
  • Billy Burke, Head Teacher, Renfrew High School
  • Professor Graham Donaldson, University of Glasgow
  • Professor Louise Hayward, University of Glasgow
  • Professor Walter Humes, University of Stirling
  • Professor Anne Looney, Dublin City University
  • Khadija Mohammed, Scottish Association of Minority Ethnic Educators
  • Cathy McCulloch, Children’s Parliament
  • Dr Naomi Stanford, Organization Design author and consultant
  • Shirley Anderson, Secretariat
  • Sian Balfour, Secretariat
  • Gabi Gibson, Secretariat
  • Fearghal Kelly, Secretariat
  • David Roy, Secretariat


  • none

Items and actions

Welcome from Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills

Ken Muir welcomed panel members and invited Ms Somerville to say a few words. Ms Somerville thanked panel members for agreeing to contribute this work and highlighted the importance of achieving the goal of ensuring the highest quality of support for Scotland’s children and young people through consultation and collaboration. Ken Muir thanked Ms Somerville for giving up some of her time to welcome the panel before having to leave to undertake further engagements.


Ken Muir welcomed the panel and outlined the remit for the work. He then invited each of the meeting attendees to introduce themselves to the group.

Remit of expert panel and scope of work to January 2022

Ken Muir asked Naomi Stanford to lead the panel through a discussion exercise focusing on the principles of organisational design and the purpose of education reform. Ken then outlined the wider policy context for this work and the role of the Expert Panel.

Action Point:

  • panel members are encouraged to submit their notes from the discussion exercise to the Secretariat

Operational procedures for expert panel

Ken Muir invited David Roy to outline the operational procedures for the expert panel including the role of the Secretariat in supporting the consultation and engagement events.

Terms of reference for Practitioner and Stakeholder Advisory Group and relationship to expert panel

Ken Muir introduced the rationale for the Practitioner and Stakeholder Advisory Group (PSAG) and explained that the Terms of Reference for this group, and the Expert Panel, are currently out for consultation. The Panel discussed the membership of PSAG and how engagement with PSAG members will fit into the wider consultation activity.

Action Point:

  • panel members are asked to notify Ken of any recommendations for additional PSAG members

Timescales and project plan

Ken Muir outlined the planned draft meeting schedule and the panel discussed the feasibility of the approach. The Panel made suggested alterations which Ken will take into consideration with the Secretariat.

Action Points:

  • panel members to submit any potential diary clashes of the Expert Panel to the Secretariat
  • panel members are asked to share their availability for possible meetings with PSAG members
  • secretariat to review planned meeting dates against feedback from Panel members

Background papers

Ken Muir asked Anne Looney, Louise Hayward and Walter Humes to briefly outline the background to each of their papers. Members discussed the potential implications of each for the work of the panel.

Action Point:

  • secretariat to disseminate the additional papers submitted by Walter Humes to the panel

Draft consultation document

Ken Muir outlined the progress towards creating a consultation document. The draft shared is at an early stage and feedback is welcome from Panel members, including suggested questions and any amendments to those in the draft.

Action Point:

  • panel members to submit feedback and suggested questions to the Secretariat by 31 August

Draft plans for two half-day meetings of Practitioner and Stakeholder Advisory Group

Ken Muir outlined the plans to hold the first meeting of PSAG as a facilitated half-day virtual session. This will be held twice to help with members’ diaries as follows:

  • Tuesday 14 September 2021: 1pm to 4:30pm
  • Thursday 16 September 2021: 9:30am to 12:30pm

Action Point:

  • Ken Muir to work with Naomi Stanford on a draft agenda and share with Panel members

General discussion, including agenda and invites for future meetings of expert panel

The Panel agreed to invite the Chief Executives of SQA and ES to the next meeting of the Expert Panel.

Action Point:

  • secretariat to invite SQA and ES Chief Executives to the second Expert Panel meeting once the date has been confirmed



Date of next meeting

2pm to 4:30pm, 8 or 9 September 2021, MS Teams

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