Schools - Regional Improvement Collaboratives: review

This report sets out findings of a review of the Regional Improvement Collaboratives (RICs). The review was commissioned jointly by Scottish Government and COSLA.

Key themes

  • There was a high level of confidence in RIC structures and governance arrangements. During 2020 and 2021, many felt that governance and partnership working had strengthened, in part due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Overall RIC teams felt that they had access to the resource and workforce required, and that each local authority contributed well to the RIC.
  • RICs have enabled local authority officers to collaborate in new and enhanced ways. A few felt a significant cultural shift had taken place, with proactive, collaborative working becoming an accepted way of working in education.
  • Most school staff involved in this review were aware of RIC priorities and felt they had the opportunity to collaborate, share best practice, learn new things and develop their skills through the RIC.
  • Working with colleagues from Education Scotland, RICs played a key role in contributing to Education Scotland's national e-learning offer and supporting secondary schools with the SQA alternative certification model.
  • From this review, there is evidence that RICs are having an impact on:
    • developing the skills of school staff and delivery of lessons
    • skills and consistency around assessment and moderation
    • leadership and improvement planning skills
    • building a collaborative culture between local authorities
    • new online and blended learning opportunities for pupils.
  • RICs have been on a journey around evaluation and impact. It is important to recognise that RICs form part of a large system and there is a need to be realistic about the role of RICs in the context of a wide range of other activity to support improvement and equity in educational outcomes in Scotland.
  • Education Scotland regional improvement teams have co-produced, led and been involved in a wide range of RIC activities, including supporting networks, delivering learning, quality assurance, peer review and direct support to schools. Collaborative relationships have strengthened over time. Some felt that there remained some tensions in the relationship due to a lack of clarity around the role of Education Scotland in relation to RICs.
  • Stakeholders felt overall existing funding levels for RICs were broadly appropriate, but that a longer-term funding commitment would allow RICs to be more strategic and ambitious and manage staff resources more effectively.
  • Stakeholders felt that the policy direction around RICs so far had been clear, but it was important to have clarity on the future, including confirmation of how RICs fit into the education system in Scotland as broad changes are being made.



Back to top