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.

Stakeholder engagement approach

December 2022 – Spring 2023

We are sharing this Interim Purpose and Principles to show our working and to share our thinking and current direction of travel and the areas we want to focus the discussion on in our next phase of engagement. Our approach to stakeholder engagement during the next period will centre the voices of those who use and deliver the ecosystem, recognising that these groups hold the answers to how best to deliver and implement the reforms that are needed.

We will continue to engage with people across Scotland to further develop the Purpose and Principles prior to a final publication in spring 2023.

We will have two strands of focused engagement;

  • targeted engagement with those delivering in the ecosystem
  • user centred engagement and design with a focus on lived experience

Targeted engagement with those delivering in the ecosystem

We know that we are entering into a period of significant challenge and uncertainty as we seek to reimagine and redesign a post school education, skills and research ecosystem that is sustainable and fit for the future. We must do this by drawing on the collective knowledge and wisdom of those who have the experience and knowledge of how to deliver that change. This will include discussions with colleges, universities, their staff and unions, with our NDPBs and with employers and other training providers. We will seek their views at a strategic level on policy direction, collaboration, design, outcomes and implementation. We will ensure that we engage across the country, taking account of the different local and regional perspectives, and across the full range of the post school education, research and skills development ecosystem.

User centred engagement and design with a focus on lived experience

We will actively seek to hear from those with lived experience of the ecosystem, including those most likely to face barriers to entry. This will include those who are system users including learners, students, apprentices and employees, as well as those with experience of delivery including staff - both front line and support staff across different areas of the ecosystem.

If we want to work towards a fairer and more equal society, we need to work to ensure the system works for those furthest away from engagement. If we can make it work for them, it will only lead to improvements for the system as a whole. We will continue to do targeted engagement with groups we know face barriers to engagement. This will also inform our approach to the development of relevant Impact Assessments, ensuring that the Purpose & Principles uphold and expand equalities within post-school education, skills and research.

We will embrace the spirit of the Scottish Approach to Service Design, wherein ‘the people of Scotland are supported and empowered to actively participate in the definition, design and delivery of their public services. We know this will add incredible value to the development of the Purpose and Principles, allowing us to  better understand existing barriers and pain points as well as areas of good practice.

Through our continued engagement on the interim Purpose and Principles, we will continue to seek out the voices of the people at the heart of this system. We are grateful for the support to date from unions, membership bodies, institutions, public bodies, charities, employers and individuals who have given us their feedback to help shape this document. We will also continue to seek out and learn from the experiences of those who face the greatest barriers to accessing the system and take action to address their concerns.

While these are two different strands, we will work to ensure we make the most of what people tell us and will seek to pass on feedback and share learning with those leading on other stands of system reform including the National Discussion on Education, the Independent review of Qualifications and Assessment and the Independent review of the Skills Delivery Landscape. 

By 2023, we will have published a discussion guide to offer a structure for those whom we are unable to engage with in person, or where further discussion with wider groups of interested people are required.

If you would like to host your own event to discuss the interim Purpose and Principles or if you would like the team to support your event.




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