Education (Scotland) Bill: child rights and wellbeing impact assessment

Child rights and wellbeing impact assessment(CRWIA) for the Education (Reform) Bill.

1. Brief Summary

The Education (Scotland) Bill forms part of the wider policy to reform education in Scotland, in this case by providing the legal underpinning to support a new qualifications body to replace the Scottish Qualifications Authority and the removal of the inspectorate function from Education Scotland, thereby creating a new independent inspection body. The remainder of Education Scotland will be replaced with a new national education agency. There is no rationale to include provisions related to this agency in the Bill, as it will be an executive agency exercising the functions of the Scottish Ministers.

The then Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills appointed an independent advisor, Professor Ken Muir in August 2021 to engage widely with stakeholders and report findings and recommendations to the Scottish Government on the implementation of the OECD's recommendations relating to the implementation of the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) across Broad General Education (BGE) and the Senior Phase. Professor Muir's report, Putting Learners at the Centre: Towards a Future Vision for Scottish Education[3], was published in March 2022 (see Stage 2 for further details).

Following on from this report, the then Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills announced in March 2022 that Education Scotland would be replaced by a new national agency for education (which does not require legislation) and an independent inspectorate.

In addition to targeted consultation on the Scottish Government's proposals with stakeholders in early 2023, a public consultation on the proposed content of the Bill was undertaken between 7 November and 18 December 2023.[4] The consultation sought specific views on the detail of creating a new qualifications body and approaches to enhancing the role inspection plays in improving education, including potentially through legislation. The consultation incorporated tailored consultation of children and young people – this is set out below.

The policy aims of the Education Reform programme are to:

  • Design and deliver a national organisational infrastructure for education in Scotland that more effectively supports the system to deliver the vision for education in Scotland;
  • Achieve the right balance of responsibility and autonomy between the different parts of the education system, including national and local government, national education bodies and schools themselves;
  • Revise, simplifying where possible, the articulation of CfE, so that it is as widely shared and understood as possible; and
  • Have in place a system which supports a coherent learner journey, within which curriculum and assessment are aligned at all levels.

The National Outcomes which the provisions in the Bill will seek to support are:

  • We are well educated, skilled and able to contribute to society.
  • We grow up loved, safe and respected so that we realise our full potential.
  • Public services treat people with dignity and respect.

Start date of relevant proposal: This work stemmed from the independent review by Professor Ken Muir, which was commissioned by the Scottish Government in August 2021.

Start date of CRWIA process: The CRWIA implications have been considered concurrent with the decision to legislate for a new qualifications body and independent inspectorate which was announced in March 2022.



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