Funding, trialling of outdoor learning facilities and General Teaching Council queries: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

1. How much funding was allocated for the Scottish Trade Union Congress ‘Better way to work project’ in 2019-20, 2020-21, 2021-22 and 2022-23?

2. Whether £7 million has been provided to the schools programme to support [to] an additional 73 primary and secondary schools?

3. Whether any trials for outdoor primary learning facilities have taken place in Scotland and on what dates?

4. What work has the Scottish Government [has] done with the General Teaching Council for Scotland regarding the climate emergency and ensuring it is properly reflected in initial teacher education?


I will address each of your queries in turn.

With regard to your first query on funding for the Scottish Trades Union Congress, the total grant funding allocated from the Scottish Government for the STUC 'Better way to work project', also called 'Unions into Schools', for the financial years you specified are detailed in the table below.

Financial Year





Grant Funding Allocation (£)




To be agreed

We are actively working with the STUC and are awaiting their finalised proposal for this year, with the intention that funding will be trebled as per the commitment made in the Bute House Agreement. However the Scottish Government does not currently hold the precise information you have requested for the financial year 2022-23 as the figure is still to be finalised. This is a formal notice under Section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not hold the information you have requested.

On your second question relating to the Schools' Programme, all of the information you have requested is available from Scottish Attainment Challenge: FOI release - ( Under Section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you. If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.

It may be useful to note that the Scottish Attainment Challenge has been refreshed from 2022/2023, recognising that poverty exists in all local authorities, therefore the 32 local authorities will receive a share of £43 million via Strategic Equity Funding to tackle the poverty-related attainment gap. Details of Strategic Equity Funding from 2022- 2026 have been published here: Pupil attainment: closing the gap - Schools - (

In response to your third query on trials for outdoor primary learning facilities, we have begun the initial work to conduct the scoping of the commitment, as contained within page 44 of the ‘Programme for Government’. The Scottish Government's Learning Estate Strategy, which sets out the strategic approach for managing Scotland's school estate, makes clear that learning environments should be greener, more sustainable, and that outdoor learning, and the use of outdoor learning environments, should be maximised. Our work to plan and to implement this commitment will include engagement with Education Scotland and with Learning Through Landscapes, drawing on their expertise and accompanying data and evidence on the current primary learning estate across Scotland.

I turn now to your final question regarding our work with the General Teaching Council for Scotland.

Learning, teaching and professional development for teachers and senior leaders in relation to the climate emergency is brought together under the overall banner of Learning for Sustainability (LfS). I can confirm that the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) is one of the key partner agencies for LfS, primarily through its role in overseeing the standards for teaching.

In accordance with our PfG commitment to work with “the GTCS to ensure that the climate emergency is properly reflected through initial teacher education”, the Scottish Government engages with the GTCS in relation to LfS on an on-going basis. The following provides a detailed summary of the joint interests and links between Scottish Government and GTCS in relation to Learning for Sustainability over the past three years:

  • In late 2019/early 2020, Scottish Government policy teams provided their reflections on the place of LfS within the Professional Standards for Teachers, which were being refreshed at that time. On 6 November 2019, a Scottish Government policy officer with a brief in relation to LfS attended a GTCS-led workshop on the review of teaching standards. This engagement was in support of the following action from within the Scottish Government’s National LfS Action Plan: “The Scottish Government will work with the General Teaching Council of Scotland (GTCS) to ensure that strengthened references to Learning for Sustainability are included in their refreshed standards for registration, career-long professional learning and leadership and management.”
  • On 1 June 2021, Scottish Government officials facilitated a meeting between the GTCS, wider Scottish Government officials with a policy brief on initial teacher education and pupil representatives from the Teach the Future campaign. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the Teach the Future campaign’s request for 'Inclusion of the climate emergency and ecological crisis in teacher education and a new professional teaching qualification'. An Education Advisor from GTCS attended the meeting and confirmed the range of actions being taken forward by GTCS under the auspices of Scotland’s action plan on Learning for Sustainability. In particular, it was confirmed that GTCS was creating an LfS microsite as part of the broader GTCS site (the microsite is now available here). GTCS also confirmed its plans to develop two professional learning programmes on LfS, as well as broader work with Education Scotland’s Professional Learning and Leadership team to develop a programme aimed at head teachers.
  • We are currently working to strengthen our Learning for Sustainability Action Plan to ensure that all of our learners continue to receive their entitlement to Learning for Sustainability. This wil involve an engagement exercise with a number of key stakeholders, including the GTCS.

GTCS provided Scottish Government with the following summary of how it supports Learning for Sustainability:

Learning for Sustainability – Professional Standards for Teachers:

Learning for Sustainability has been given prominence in the refreshed and restructured Professional Standards which came into mandatory use for all teachers as of 2 August 2021. This demonstrates the commitment of GTC Scotland to support teachers, schools and learning communities to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to ensure learning decisions are cognisant with a sustainable future in a just and equitable world.

Learning for Sustainability has been highlighted in the Standards for Middle Leaders and Standard for Headteachers to ensure it is part of the strategic vision for the learning community to assist the development of cultures that support all learners. These Professional Standards support leaders to
critically engage with policy and research, to build and sustain professional and personal credibility by modelling their commitment to on-going professional learning, integrity and ethical practice through enacting the principles of sustainability to inform school-based decision making.

Through embracing the values of global education and social values of sustainability, equality, equity and justice, teachers recognise children’s rights to an education that helps them to develop their knowledge, skills, attitudes to contribute to and promote the principles of sustainability through their actions as global citizens.

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