Empowering Schools: education reform progress update

Progress update on delivery of the Scottish Government's programme of education reform.

Chapter 3: Learner Participation

Next steps 

In the Next Steps publication, we committed to:

  • Strengthen the voice of children and young people by supporting all schools to promote and support pupil participation. As part of this we will consult on a requirement that every school pursues the key principles of pupil participation.

Joint agreement

The Joint Agreement committed signatories to:

  • Build on good practice so that schools ensure that children and young people participate meaningfully in their own learning, in decision making relating to the life and work of their school, and in the wider community.


The Headteachers’ Charter places a central requirement on headteachers – and through that to the wider empowered system – to support and encourage children and young people to participate in decisions about their own learning and the life of the learning community.

In April 2018, in advance of the School Empowerment reforms, Education Scotland published practical guidance to schools. Education Scotland continues to promote this guidance and support to schools in order that they can better support learner participation. Guidance on learner empowerment will be included in School Empowerment guidance which will be published later in 2019. Early work on this guidance took place in spring 2019, and involved a wide range of young person organisations, academics, system leaders and young people themselves. 

As a means of ensuring children and young people play a much stronger role in informing national education policy, the Scottish Learner Panel has been established. The Panel’s initial report will be published later in 2019. The Panel joins a range of established young person policy forums and groups such as the Young Ambassadors for Inclusion in relation to additional support for learning. This work will take full account of the wider policy and practice landscape, not least the central importance of learner voice and participation within the curriculum as well as the Scottish Government’s commitment to ensure that children’s human rights are embedded in all aspects of society.

Going forward

The Learner Empowerment section of the School Empowerment guidance will be published later in 2019. 

Further information on the extent and effectiveness of learner participation and empowerment will be gathered through the empowered system local authority self-evaluation and school inspection processes, and via the Education Scotland thematic inspection on Parent and Pupil Participation published in June 2019. We will work with Local Government, Education Scotland and other partners in building on that work.


Email: scott.miller@gov.scot

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