Post-school education, research and skills: interim purpose and principles

A draft framework for building an excellent post-school education, research and skills ecosystem for further discussion and feedback.

Guiding values

Because there are direct correlations between societal value systems and policy choices, how Scotland balances its objectives for a skilled labour force, rewarding careers and fulfilled lives, greater social equity, balanced regional growth, active and engaged citizens, strong competitive institutions, attracting and retaining international talent, and global research competitiveness, matters.

Drawing on the recommendations in the SFC Review, from the National Strategy for Economic Transformation, and from our engagement to date, the following values underpin the approach we are taking to change:


We take great pride in our world-leading post-school education, skills and research system and while we know there are areas that can work better, we start from a position of strength and a strong belief in the intrinsic value and transformative power of knowledge and education.

Learner focused

Placing the needs of all learners of all ages, abilities, talents, throughout their active lives, at the centre of the ecosystem, enabling and facilitating opportunities and adapting to life circumstances over time.


Ensuring that the diverse needs of learners and people working in the ecosystem are listened to and responded to including across location (people living in rural, island and more deprived areas), the protected characteristics (age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation), and socio-economic disadvantage.

Diverse, competitive and open

We embrace the diversity and maturity of our post-school education, community learning, skills and research ecosystem and recognise its place in enhancing excellence when working collaboratively and responsibly. This includes the benefits that are able to be derived from being able to compete internationally, to attract, retain and exchange knowledge, ideas and talent, and to be able to build partnerships across international boundaries. 

System view

We should take a whole-system view of coherent education and skills provision and any necessary changes should take account of interconnections and impacts. We like the associated attributes set out in the SFC Review that look at coherence from the perspective of the learner, employer and for Scotland as a whole. We will bear these attributes in mind as we consider how we will articulate our broad policy intent for the sector, whilst recognising the distinct contribution of each part of the system. On research, we recognise the role we have in providing core, underpinning funding to uphold the dual support funding system for research in Scotland, and the relationship with research funding from UKRI, charities, industry and others this requires.


We will respect the unique roles and responsibilities that individual parts of the ecosystem have and the varied contributions that they make. We will use the policy, regulatory and financial levers available to government to create a clear framework that maximises and captures the collective impact of these efforts. This will require strengthened governance, assurance and accountability.



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