Foreword By The Deputy First Minister And Cabinet Secretary For Education And Skills
Improving the education and life chances of our children and young people is the defining mission of this Government. Our vision for education is to close the unacceptable gap in attainment between our least and most disadvantaged children and to raise attainment for all. We know that education is by far the most effective means we have to improve the life chances of our young people. Our education system must enable children to achieve their full potential regardless of their background. In addition to being a moral imperative it is critical for the future success of our country on the world stage.
We know that to achieve success our education system needs excellent school leaders and teachers, strong curriculum and improvement support, more transparent measures of progress, and engaged pupils, parents and communities. The reforms set out in this consultation will strengthen all of these elements of Scotland’s education system and empower our headteachers, enabling them to adopt a relentless focus on improving learning and teaching.
We accept that the responsibility of this Government is to work with our partners in local government to create the culture and capacity for teachers and practitioners to improve the learning outcomes in their classrooms – and across our schools and early learning centres. We expect to be held to account for this, just as parents expect schools to be accountable to them.
Building on advice from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the International Council of Education Advisers, responses to the Education Governance Review and the commitments set out in the Next Steps paper, we will introduce a Bill to create a school and teacher-led system, centered on the child. As a result, decisions that shape the education of young people will be made in classrooms, schools and establishments, by those working with young people, their parents and communities.
Headteachers, their staff and schools will be supported by three key elements: enhanced career and development opportunities; new Regional Improvement Collaboratives to provide consistent, high quality support and improvement services; and world class educational support services from local authorities.
We will continue to trust and invest in teachers and practitioners as empowered, skilled, confident, collaborative and networked professionals. To ensure that they flourish, we will transform the support available to teachers and practitioners at every level of the system.
The legislative reforms on which we are consulting will aim to strengthen flexibility at school level while also addressing unacceptable variability in attainment across the country.
Teacher professionalism and judgment remains at the heart of our approach. That is why we are taking steps to enable teachers and headteachers to collaborate and drive forward improvement. Our aim is to enable all headteachers to determine the resources and approaches best suited for their own learners’ journeys and – most importantly – to become leaders of learning in their schools.
This Bill will not simply increase the freedom of headteachers to make choices while leading learning and teaching in our schools. Teachers and schools need consistently excellent education support services and consistently excellent improvement services. It is a collaborative effort, which starts with leadership in our schools and should be complemented by our local authorities and supported by new Regional Improvement Collaboratives which are relevant to, designed by, and close to the communities they serve.
Our determination is clear: to deliver the world-leading education system our children and young people deserve. This Bill will be instrumental in achieving that aim and I am keen to hear views from schools, parents, pupils and education professionals about our proposals.
Deputy First Minister and
Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills
Email: David Hannigan
Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House