Standards in Scotland's Schools etc. Act 2000: statutory guidance

Statutory guidance covering provisions under the Education (Scotland) Act 2016 which amend the Standards in Scotland’s Schools etc. Act 2000.

Glossary of terms

Within the context of this statutory guidance, the following terms have the following meanings:

Attainment refers to the measurable progress which children and young people make as they progress through and beyond school. This progress is in relation to curriculum areas and in the development of skills for learning, life and work.

Achievement refers to the totality of skills and attributes embedded within the four capacities of Curriculum for Excellence and developed across the curriculum in school and through learning in other contexts. This includes successes recognised by other groups and bodies as well as strengths identified by the individual.

The attainment gap refers to the gap in attainment and achievement between those living in Scotland’s least and most disadvantaged homes. Many children and young people from lower-income households do significantly worse at all levels of the education system than those from better-off homes. Success in closing the attainment gap will be reflected in improved levels of attainment and achievement across a number of identified measures.

Corporate Parenting is defined in the statutory guidance with reference to Part 9 of the 2014 Act as an organisation's performance of actions necessary to uphold the rights and safeguard the wellbeing of a looked after child or care leaver, and through which physical, emotional, spiritual, social and educational development is promoted.[17]

Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) is the curriculum in Scotland for children and young people aged 3 to 18 years old. Curriculum for Excellence aims to transform

education in Scotland by providing a coherent, flexible and enriched curriculum which will prepare children and young people for learning, life and work in the 21st century.

CfE levels refer to the levels of learning within CfE. There are two phases of CfE- broad general education (early learning and childcare? to S3), then senior phase (S4 to S6). Across the BGE there are five levels of learning: Early, First, Second, Third and Fourth.

Data are facts and statistics collected together for reference or analysis.

Education authority means a council constituted under section 2 of the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994, in the discharge of its education functions.

Education authority annual plan is a plan which must be prepared and published under section 3F of the 2000 Act (introduced by section 3 of the 2016 Act). The annual plan must set out three different things:

(a) steps proposed to reduce inequalities of outcome for pupils experiencing them as a result of socio-economic disadvantage;

(b) the steps proposed to comply with authorities’ duty to consult with and advise the persons specified in section 3B(4) when making decisions of a strategic nature about the carrying out of their school education functions, and;

(c) steps proposed in pursuance of the NIF (the five key NIF priorities)

The plan must be published before the 12 month planning period commences (see below).

Education authority annual report is a report which must be prepared and published under section 3H of the 2000 Act (introduced by section 3 of the 2016 Act). The report must set out:

(a) steps taken to reduce inequalities of outcome for pupils experiencing them as a result of socio-economic disadvantage;

(b) steps taken to comply with authorities’ duty to consult and advise those persons specified in section 3B(4);

(c) steps taken in pursuance of the NIF (the five key NIF priorities), and;

(d) any resulting educational benefits for pupils.

The report must be published as soon as is reasonably practicable following the end of the planning period.

Employability is the combination of factors and processes which enable people to progress towards employment, to stay in employment and to move on in the workplace.

Equity is the result of treating people fairly, but not necessarily treating people the same. Equity in education means steps are taken to ensure that, as far as is possible, personal or social circumstances such as gender, ethnic origin or family background are not obstacles to achieving educational outcomes and that all our young people are well supported to secure wellbeing, skills for learning, life and work and the best possible post-school destination.

Equality is the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, opportunities or outcomes. This means every individual having an equal opportunity to make the most of their lives and talents regardless of characteristics such as their age, race, where they live and come from or socio-economic background.

Family learning is one aspect of parental involvement and is a method of engagement and learning which can foster positive attitudes towards lifelong learning, promote socio-economic resilience and challenge educational disadvantage. Family learning encourages family members to learn together as and within a family, with a focus on intergenerational learning. Family learning activities can also be specifically designed to enable parents to learn how to support their children's learning.

Inequalities of outcome is the term used to describe a measurable difference in the attainment and achievement of children who fall within groups that share certain characteristics and those who do not.

National Improvement Framework (NIF) sets out the Scottish Government’s vision and priorities for Scotland’s children’s progress in learning [18]. The most recent NIF, at the time of publication of this updated guidance, was published on 12 December 2023.

NIF drivers provide a focus and structure for gathering evidence which can then be analysed to identify where further improvements can be made in Scottish education.

NIF key priorities, as set out in the most recent NIF, are:

  • Placing the human rights and needs of every child and young person at the centre of education
  • Improvement in children and young people's health and wellbeing
  • Closing the attainment gap between the most and least disadvantaged children and young people
  • Improvement in skills and sustained, positive school-leaver destinations for all young people
  • Improvement in achievement, particularly in literacy and numeracy.

National Outcomes describe what the Government wants to achieve over the next ten years. They help to sharpen the focus of government, enable priorities to be clearly understood and provide a clear structure for delivery.

Parent is any person (including a guardian) who is liable to maintain or has parental responsibilities (within the meaning of section 1(3) of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995) in relation to, or has care of a child or young person. This is a wide definition which might, by way of example, include: non-resident parents who are liable to maintain or have parental responsibilities in respect of a child; carers who can be parents; others with parental responsibilities, e.g. foster carers, relatives and friends who are caring for children and young people under supervision arrangements, and; close relatives, such as siblings or grandparents caring for children who are not looked after or are under home supervision arrangements. Everyone who is a parent has rights to receive advice and information about their child’s education, general information about the school, to be told about meetings involving their child, and to participate in activities, such as taking part in decisions relating to a Parent Council.

Parent Council is defined in the Scottish Schools (Parental Involvement) Act 2006 as the statutory body responsible for representing parents’ views in the life and work of the school. Members of the Parent Council must be members of the school’s Parent Forum. That is, they must have a child attending the school.

Parent Forum – Parent Forum is defined in the Scottish Schools (Parental Involvement) Act 2006. All parents who have a child attending a public school are automatically a member of the Parent Forum for that school. Membership of the forum allows parents to have a say in the local arrangements to enable their collective view to be represented on matters such as the quality and standards of education at the school. When considering how and in what ways to involve and work in partnership with parents, schools should consider how to involve the wider Parent Forum as well as the Parent Council.

Partners include all individuals or organisations that deliver learning and contribute to the life and work of schools and early learning and childcare settings. These may include community learning and development services, colleges, universities, employers, third sector, community organisations and libraries.

Planning period is an annual 12 month period of activity, the dates of which are to be prescribed in regulations to be made by the Scottish Ministers[19]. Education authorities will take action over the 12 months in line with the annual plan it has published and will subsequently report on the progress made against the plan once the planning period has concluded.

Pupils are those children and young people aged 3-18 who receive education provided by the education authority whether that is in the early years through nursery, through primary school or secondary school, or other means.

Socio-economic disadvantage describes disadvantage caused as a result of a combination of inter-related social and economic factors such as poverty as a consequence of low income, health, housing or education.

Stakeholders are those who are affected by the carrying out of the duties outlined in this guidance and, while not exhaustive, may include Headteachers, pupils, parents of pupils, Parent Councils and the wider parent forum within schools, teachers, teaching staff unions, voluntary organisations and, where applicable, church representatives.

Standards and Quality report is a term used within most education authorities to describe the annual report on school improvement activity that is produced by most education authorities under section 6(4) of the 2000 Act.



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