Empowering Schools: education reform progress update

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

Chapter 4: Regional Improvement Collaboratives

Next steps 

In the Next Steps publication, we committed to:

  • Working in partnership with local authorities and partners to develop the shape and composition of the RICs. We will ensure that the experience of current and emerging partnership working informs the establishment of RICs.
  • Provide a clear vision and framework within which effective school level collaboration can take place. We will work with partners to develop this framework and support development of resources and tools to support collaborative approaches in the classroom. As part of their inspection process Education Scotland will look at how schools and establishments are working collaboratively with others and we will share evidence about what works.

Joint agreement

The Joint Agreement committed signatories to:


All six RICs delivered their first full Regional Improvement Plans in September 2018 (following initial, interim plans in January 2018). We have supported the delivery of those plans through additional funding from Scottish Government and through the provision of expert support from Education Scotland. Together with the commitment and support of Local Government, this has enabled each RIC to further develop its dedicated regional capacity for improvement and collaboration, thereby extending the reach, visibility and impact of the RICs over the 2018-19 school year. 

In addition, the RICs have significantly developed their regional capacity for collaborative improvement during the 2018-19 school year. This has been developed through the continued commitment and support of Local Government, through effective regional leadership, governance and programme management, and through the provision of additional Scottish Government funding of around £5 million, with further focussed support from Education Scotland. The early impact of this work is being evidenced through each RICs delivery of their September 2018 Regional Improvement Plans, including their significant and structured engagement with teachers and other partners, their promotion of teacher networks to share best practice and learning, and through the design and delivery of new regional interventions on attainment, curriculum development, leadership development and quality improvement. 

An interim review of the establishment of the RICs was published in February 2019. It recognised the significant early progress that had been made in establishing local governance, leadership and buy-in across each RIC area and identified areas for further development. 

Going forward

We remain committed to supporting collaborative working through the RICs which will embed and build on the early work that each area has taken to secure the expertise, and develop the infrastructure needed to deliver their regional improvement plan. 

The evaluation of early interventions and the effectiveness of the new collaborative networks and approaches will also inform further improvement in the support provided by each RIC. We therefore anticipate that the reach and the impact of RICs will develop further during the 2019-20 academic year, as they extend their operational impact, as envisaged in the September 2017 Joint Steering Group report. The Scottish Government is committed to supporting the continued development of each RIC.

Education Scotland is also continuing to strengthen its support to schools through the RICs. This includes the key appointment of a Senior Regional Adviser to each RIC area, to broker expert education support and guidance within and across RIC areas. To inform their continued development, and as agreed with Local Government, a further and fuller review on the reach and impact of RIC activity will be undertaken later in 2019. This will include a review of the RIC contribution to an empowered system as set out in the Joint Agreement.


Email: scott.miller@gov.scot

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