International Council of Education Advisers: report 2016-2018

This is the first formal report of the International Council of Education Advisers (ICEA) following the initial two-year period of their appointment.

Capacity Building

84. The ICEA acknowledges that schools do not necessarily or automatically improve because of the new policies and the programs they adopt, but that capacity building is also necessary at all levels in the system. The Scottish Government has rightly decided to use capacity building as a primary means of school and system improvement.

85. The Scottish education system aims to be a self-improving system. This will require effective capacity building based upon a culture of collaboration. The ICEA recognises that, if the school system in Scotland is to improve, there must be an investment in developing people. In this regard, the ICEA commends the Scottish Government for the financial investment it has made towards professional learning and human development, while recognising that there is a continuing need to support the ongoing development of the teaching profession.

86. The Scottish Government has, since its acceptance of the Teaching Scotland’s Future report in 2011, been working to develop many of the key components that result in system-wide capacity building. The ICEA welcomes the Scottish Government’s proposals for a Headteachers’ Charter which will empower headteachers so that decisions that most affect children and young people’s outcomes are made in a collaborative way at the school level. The ICEA also welcomes the Scottish Government’s continued focus on leadership, and leadership development, along with its commitment to the best use of high quality evidence.

87. The ICEA notes the progress being made regarding the development of leaders at all levels. The ICEA was already familiar with work of the Scottish College for Education Leadership ( SCEL) and, in its inaugural meeting with the First Minister, commended the work that SCEL was doing. SCEL is now part of Education Scotland and is taking forward an enhanced leadership development offer, and is extending its work to encompass wider professional learning needs across Scotland. This additional emphasis upon, and investment in, professional learning, will ensure that education leaders within the school system have the support and professional development required to make the most of their new powers, and to ensure they are able to maximise the impact they have on children and young people.

88. Ultimately, the success of the Headteachers’ Charter and further empowerment of schools will be intrinsically linked to appropriate leadership development and building leadership capacity across the system. The ICEA notes, however, that empowering headteachers and creating more professional pathways is only the first step in developing a leadership pipeline that flows smoothly and is sustainable. The ICEA suggests, therefore, that the Scottish Government needs to consider how, in the medium to long term, its education system will ensure that the right leaders are in the right places in the right numbers at the right time. This is a consideration for all the leadership pathways at different levels, not just at the level of the headteacher.

89. The ICEA notes that the efforts, thus far, to put in place capacity building measures are moving in the right direction to create the necessary cultural shifts within the Scottish education system. The next challenge, however, is how to embed these measures deeply, in order to secure long-term positive outcomes for children and young people in Scotland.


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