All Learners in Scotland Matter - national discussion on education: summary report

A summary of the final report of the National Discussion on Education.

3. Vision and Values

3.1 Following the recommendations of the Muir Review, our task was to develop a compelling and consensual renewed vision for the future of Scottish education. Given the scale and variety of responses, there were inevitable differences of opinion within the views expressed about what needed to be included in a future vision. There were also some individuals, groups, and organisations offering strong positions on what they wanted to see in the vision that differed from what we heard from the majority of submissions to the National Discussion. Hence, we had to take care in how we responded to such advocacy. Consequently, the vision and values in this summary report reflect the broad findings and key themes from the National Discussion and do not reflect the positions or set views of any one individual, group, or organisation.

3.2 To assess whether the proposed vision and values resonated with children and young people, parents, and those working in and with the education system, during March 2023, we tested the vision at some key stakeholder meetings, including the Teacher Panel, the Education Reform Stakeholder Group, and the COSLA Children and Young People’s Board, as well as with individuals, groups, and organisations that we had been in contact with throughout the National Discussion. The feedback from testing was generally positive with constructive feedback on the positioning and wording of the vision and values. Where appropriate, this feedback has prompted some changes to the vision and values presented in this summary report.

3.3 Overwhelmingly, the phrase that sums up the main message from the National Discussion is: All Learners in Scotland Matter. This message has informed the vision, values, and Call to Action. The vision places children and young people at the heart of Scottish education and underlines the importance of valuing

collaborative partnerships with all those working in, or connected to, the education system. The vision commits to a Scottish education where all learners matter by providing an inclusive learning environment and high-quality learning experiences for each child and young person. The vision is provided below:

All Learners in Scotland Matter:

Vision Statement for the Future of Scottish Education

Children and young people are at the heart of education in Scotland. The Scottish education system values collaborative partnerships that engage all learners, the people who work within and with the education system, parents, and carers to ensure that all learners in Scotland matter.

All learners are supported in inclusive learning environments which are safe, welcoming, caring, and proactively address any barriers to learning and inequities that exist or arise. Education in Scotland nurtures the unique talents of all learners ensuring their achievement, progress, and well-being.

Each child and young person in Scotland has high-quality learning experiences which respect their rights and represents the diversity of who they are and the communities they live in. Each child and young person receives great teaching, resources, and support for joyful learning that builds their confidence and equips them to be successful and to contribute in their life, work, and world, so they know how much they matter.

3.4 The vision speaks directly to the voices of the children and young people who said again and again that they wanted a safe, inclusive education system that valued everyone and celebrated all kinds of success.

3.5 Not everything in the vision, values, and call to action is new; indeed we heard about features of the Scottish education system that must be continued and further enhanced, such as a commitment to valuing children and young people’s views, a broad-based education, the foundational importance of literacy and numeracy, the development of wellbeing, the pursuit of equity and equality, respect for a graduate-level teaching profession, the importance of the work and working conditions of all members of the education workforce, and partnership with parents, carers, communities, and relevant agencies, specialists and service. In many cases, however, there was a recognition that more could be done to support the quality and consistency of implementation of existing policies and practices, as well as to be proactive about changes to meet the future needs of all learners and to improve the Scottish education system. The vision needs to balance the realism of what is needed now with an inspiring optimism for education in Scotland that equips children and young people for a rapidly changing world.

3.6 While the vision could potentially apply to learners of all ages, and we recognise the importance of children’s development from birth to adult education to lifelong learning, the remit of the National Discussion was for those aged 3-18 during the period of early learning and formal schooling.

3.7 Alongside a compelling vision, we heard about the importance of core values informing and underpinning the work of the Scottish education system. Scotland currently uses the phrase “excellence and equity” to encapsulate its aspirations for the Scottish education system and for its learners. There remains a deep commitment to these principles, but we heard that it was time to recraft and re-establish what values lie at the heart of Scottish education, both now and in the future. Hence we propose the following guiding values for education in Scotland.

3.8 We also heard that the outcomes of the National Discussion needed to go beyond a vision statement and values to inform actual actions. Next, therefore, we provide a summary of the Call to Action which maps out the key steps that need to be taken to achieve the vision and to uphold the values.

All Learners in Scotland Matter – Guiding Values

Ambitious – The Scottish education system will be ambitious by having high expectations for all learners and enabling each child and young person to develop and achieve their ambitions.

Inclusive – The Scottish education system will value, respect, recognise, and represent the diversity of all children and young people, and provide equitable educational experiences and opportunities for all learners.

Supportive – A hallmark of the Scottish education system will be to enagage each child, young person, and adult meaningfully and appropriately in an education process that provides the necessary supports for all learners to progress, achieve, and realise their personal ambitions.



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