Putting learners at the centre: response to the independent advisor on education reform's report

Response to the report by the independent advisor on education reform, Professor Ken Muir.

Next steps and timescales

Immediate next steps

Having provided this initial response to Professor Muir’s recommendations, we will immediately move to the next phase of our education reform programme, which will lead to the creation of the new qualifications body, the creation of a new national agency for Scottish education, and an independent inspectorate body. These will replace SQA and Education Scotland.

Discussions have begun on the programme structures to support this phase with the affected organisations. Following further engagement, including with relevant trade unions, detail on these structures will be published in the spring.

We will also immediately begin work to identify a facilitator to play a key role in delivery of Professor Muir’s recommendations on vision.

While we have provided clarity where we can, some aspects of Professor Muir’s recommendations do require further consideration and engagement. Final decisions on the future location for the accreditation and regulation function (currently located within SQA) and the Registrar for Independent Schools (currently located within Education Scotland) will be made in the coming months.

Work on how the impact of the SCQF can be increased will be taken forward through stakeholder engagement, starting in the summer of 2022.

A consultation on options for inspection of the ELC sector will be brought forward before the summer.

Timeframe for organisational reform

The development and establishment of new bodies, significantly reframed, will necessarily entail wide consultation and engagement. While this means that timeframes at this stage remain indicative, we currently expect that:

  • engagement will begin immediately with stakeholders, including the Scottish Education Council and International Council of Education Advisers, in relation to the development of the Inspectorate, the new national agency and qualifications body
  • operating models will be developed for the new organisations by winter 2022
  • there will be a period of shadow operation for the new bodies before they become fully operational, with a view to new organisations becoming operational in 2024. In the case of the qualifications body we expect this to be following the completion of the 2024 exam diet. At these points, SQA and ES will cease to exist in their current forms
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