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

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

8. How have the findings outlined in questions 1-3 influenced the development of the relevant proposal?

Analysis of the evidence

Qualifications Scotland

To inform this impact assessment we have undertaken an analysis of feedback from learners, parents and their representative stakeholder bodies that responded to the Muir and Education Bill consultations. This includes the evidence gathering set out in the above sections. Much of the evidence and responses provided by these and other stakeholders focus on operational matters relating to the types and parity of qualifications available to children and young people, how they are assessed, and the way they are communicated and engaged with. For example, opportunities for Qualifications Scotland and its operational decision-making focused on aspects such as parity of esteem across all qualifications and learning programmes, especially between academic and vocational and technical routes, diversity of learner

pathways, reforming courses for qualifications, and better integration of qualifications into the full 3-18 curriculum and assessment system. All of this is intended to improve opportunities and outcomes for all children and young people, through them being able to obtain qualifications in a manner that supports their progression in life.

Given that a significant portion of the feedback for both consultations focused on the operational changes that Qualifications Scotland should establish, the legislative provisions will ensure the organisation is able to create, deliver, assess for and award different types of qualifications which meet the evolving needs of children and young people. Ongoing design work, underpinned by this legislation, will enable Qualifications Scotland to implement improved products and services that better meet the needs and expectations of their stakeholders, and support the implementation of future changes in respect of any reforms to the qualification and assessment system. It will be this improved delivery of qualifications and assessment services that will further support our children and young people by having an organisation that consistently listens to them and delivers in their best interests.

Responses to the Muir report highlighted that 51% of respondents disagreed that there is sufficient trust from all stakeholders, including children, young people, parents and carers, that they could be genuinely involved in decision making.

Respondents felt that trust from stakeholders would increase if they could be assured that their input was valued. In particular, clarity and communication about how input informed decisions and how decisions were made were highlighted as important. Many respondents felt that involving learners and their representatives in consultation would increase engagement and trust and ensure this is accessible to stakeholder groups such as pupils.

Similar views on sufficient representation of stakeholder views within the bodies were expressed in the Education (Scotland) Bill consultation. It is this evidence that has informed the development of legislative measures to involve children and young people, alongside other learners and indeed the teaching profession, more effectively in the governance structure of the organisation. It also supports plans for a more transparent processes for engagement and communications with children and young people and how this informs decision making alongside their role in governance structures. For instance, the Bill stipulates that one member of the Board must have relevant experience and knowledge of the interests of young people and other learners. This involvement from a representative of children and young people is expected to help improve the qualifications and awarding services and products that will be offered by Qualifications Scotland, enhancing the learner experience.

New Inspectorate

To inform the assessment, we have undertaken analysis of feedback from learners and parents (including representative stakeholder bodies) who responded to the Muir and Education (Scotland) Bill consultations, as detailed in the above sections. Much of this evidence relates to the detailed operations of the inspectorate, which will not be specified in legislation.

In line with the views expressed by many respondents to the Muir consultation and related engagements, in March 2022, the then Cabinet Secretary for Education and

Skills announced that Education Scotland would be replaced by a new national agency for education and an independent inspectorate.

The Bill consultation included a request for feedback on whether to take forward the new approach to inspection by establishing the inspectorate as a separate executive agency or by establishing an independent officeholder. Whilst there was no clear consensus on this point, among those who supported the appointment of an independent officeholder, many commented that legislation would make accountability and independence more obvious and more stringent which, in turn, could maximise public and professional confidence in the inspection process. We have therefore set out to establish a new officeholder in the Scottish Administration in the Bill: the HM Chief Inspector of Education in Scotland.

A range of statutory functions will be conferred on the HM Chief Inspector. They will lead the Inspectorate of Education in Scotland to take forward the education inspection functions that currently sit within Education Scotland. We have therefore sought to create an independent inspectorate with flexibility in legislation. The Bill seeks to strength the role for the voice of children and young people in how the HM Chief Inspector sets out the inspectorate's operations, including setting the plan for inspections (detailed in Section 6) by requirement for the HM Chief Inspector to establish (and consider the views of) an Advisory Council - in setting its membership, HM Chief Inspector must endeavour to ensure it is representative of those likely to be affected by inspections.



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