Conclusion and Recommendations
In summary, the ICEA feels that Scottish education exhibits many strengths. It values equity as well as excellence. It has an excellent standing internationally. It is investing effort and resources to narrow attainment gaps, working with and strengthening the teaching profession, and developing collegial Regional Improvement Collaboratives.
COVID-19 is both a disruption and an opportunity. In moving towards a post-pandemic Scottish Education, the ICEA recommends:
- an education system that is universally designed and pandemic-proof;
- a commitment to system change that is driven by collaborative professional relationships and underpinned by peer challenge rather than external demands;
- superior digital pedagogies and universally accessible, high quality, and interactive national learning platforms;
- cyclical reviews of Curriculum for Excellence and the realisation of its core capacities;
- deliberate development of increased student capacity for self-directed learning;
- a shift towards continuous professional assessment supported by investment in appropriate professional learning;
- an asset-based view of students, families and communities that avoids stereotypes like Generation C, and refrains from scapegoating marginalized youth;
- a theory of change and leadership approaches that emphasise distributed responsibility and engagement, professional judgment and agency, robust collaborative professionalism, and local energy and ownership;
- integrated learning, health and wellbeing within a place-based holistic educational approach;
- a Networked Learning System to enhance connections among schools and professionals, designed-based research and practice-based professional learning;
- support for leaders in their work and wellbeing through mentoring as a professional entitlement;
- a teaching profession with certification, terms, conditions, support, and professional learning that enhance digital competence, capabilities concerning teaching outside, and strengthened collaborative professionalism.
Even as Scotland works through the immediate changes brought about as a response to the pandemic, it should keep an eye on the future. With thoughtful planning and management, the destructive effects of COVID-19 may be converted to positive developments within Scottish education in the longer term. Building on its foundational belief in equity and excellence, there is every chance that Scottish education can be a global standard bearer of education in a post-pandemic world.