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.

Wider implications

Professor Muir’s recommendations (17, 18 and 19)

17. The SCQF Partnership should be brought into the proposed national agency for Scottish education in order that its Framework and staff can play an enhanced role in planning learner journeys and providing greater parity of esteem.

18. The online tool Insight should be further developed in order that it can help drive change in Scottish education, and in particular, support the learner journey and enhance parity of esteem across academic and non-academic qualifications and awards. Consideration should be given as to whether the Insight tool should be placed within the proposed national agency for Scottish education.

19. Scottish Government and other national bodies should collaborate more effectively to ensure that policies align well with each other and with any revised vision for Scottish education. Arrangements should be put in place that allow for the active monitoring of the volume of policy expectations on local authorities, schools and senior leaders to ensure that these are realistic, manageable and well understood.

Initial response

Accept in principle: we accept and continue to recognise the value of insight. We will work to better understand how this can be further developed and used alongside existing data and evidence tools, such as the National Improvement Framework, to support improvement in the classroom. We need to consider further the value of data and evidence tools being placed within a national agency for Scottish education or remaining as part of Scottish Government, but recognise that clearer roles and more collaboration between all involved in the delivery of education can support more effective application of this data and evidence. The importance of improving the use of data and evidence across Scottish Government and the new national agency will inform further consideration.

We agree with the need for our national organisations to collaborate more effectively to ensure policies align. We will act on this as an opportunity to join up initiatives, simplify our policy expectations and provide a clearer single voice to engage with education authorities, schools and their senior leaders. We will engage directly with the Scottish Education Council to work towards an arrangement that is manageable and realistic for those delivering our education policies, but which is ambitious and provides the information and evidence on performance to ensure the whole system is being held accountable to children, young people, learners, parents and teachers.

We welcome Professor Mur’s recognition of the value of the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework in driving forward a cohesive learner journey from early years to postgraduate study. The Framework widens access to lifelong educational opportunities by recognising prior learning and ensuring parity of esteem across assessed learning. We accept his premise that the embedding of the SCQF within the education system should be further strengthened.

However there are a number of ways that this may be achieved within a simplified system and integrating the SCQF within the new agency carries significant risks, particularly through the loss of the SCQF Partnership’s independent and non-sectoral status which is central to its ability to broker a holistic approach across the learner journey. While we will not therefore take forward Professor Muir’s specific recommendation to merge the SCQF Partnership with the new agency, we will seek to achieve the intent behind his recommendation and strengthen the impact of the Framework. This will begin through engagement with education and skills stakeholders.

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