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

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

5. What evidence have you used to inform your assessment? What does it tell you about the impact on children's rights?

CRWIA Stage 2 –Assessment of Impact and Compatibility

In 2020 the Scottish Ministers commissioned a review to be undertaken by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), to help better understand how the curriculum is being designed and implemented in schools and early learning and childcare in Scotland, and to identify areas for improvement. This review was subsequently expanded from an initial review of the senior phase curriculum to a full review of the 3-18 Curriculum for Excellence (CfE), covering the broad general education, the senior phase, and the articulation between the two.

The OECD reported in June 2021. The report recognises that Scotland's CfE was among the pioneers of 21st century learning. It set out 12 recommendations and a number of actions that should be taken to strengthen CfE and tackle its ongoing implementation challenges as part of a structured approach to the future of CfE. A particular concern noted in the OECD report was the difficulty in Scottish education in taking account of the views of stakeholders and in particular the voices and perspectives of learners on curriculum reform and recognising those voices in decision making.

The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills appointed an independent adviser, 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[5] recommendations.

Professor Muir's report was published in March 2022[6], and included recommendations on the governance and functions of a qualifications body and his view that Education Scotland having an inspection function within the same organisation charged with supporting improvement created potential conflicts of interest and compromised the organisation's ability to perform both roles well.

The Scottish Government accepted Muir's recommendations in relation to the qualifications body in full and accepted the recommendation to establish a new inspectorate to be underpinned by legislation in principle[7]. The Education (Scotland) Bill has been developed to set the legislative framework to replace the SQA and remove the inspection function from Education Scotland, thus creating two new organisations.

The Muir review and National Discussion on Education identified a broad appetite for meaningful engagement with stakeholders across the wider education landscape. In advance of the introduction of the Bill, the Scottish Government has undertaken extensive consultation both in relation to the Bill[8] and wider Education Reform programme, including with Children and Young People's organisations – the results of this engagement will be laid out over the course of this document. Surveys of the numbers and groups of children and young people who will be affected by this Bill are set out in the Equalities Impact Assessment, published in parallel to this document.



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