Key national agencies Education Scotland (ES) and the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) will be reformed as part of ambitious plans for Scotland’s education recovery.
Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP said the role, remit and purpose of both organisations will be considered as a key priority, as well as their functions and governance arrangements.
Ms Somerville announced the reforms as she outlined wide-ranging plans for education recovery in the first 100 days of government and beyond. They include:
· Investing over £1 billion to close the poverty related attainment gap
· Recruiting 3,500 additional teachers and classroom assistants
· Ensuring every schoolchild has access to the technology needed to support their education
· Making free school lunches available to all P4 children before extending to all primary school children, all year round
· Expanding free early learning and childcare and developing the provision of wraparound care and after-school clubs
· Increasing the school clothing grant and the Best Start Food grant
· Providing interim support – including a £100 payment near the start of the summer holidays - for eligible children before the formal expansion of the Scottish Child Payment next year
· Offering a £20 million Summer Programme to help restore the wellbeing of children and young people, particularly those worst hit by COVID-19
· Removing charges for core curriculum activities and music and arts education
· Working with colleges and universities to ensure they remain sustainable and at the forefront of global education and research.
This next phase of recovery activity builds on almost £400 million of investment committed in this area to date. Ms Somerville said:
“I want to look at options for reform which ensure that schools get the best possible support and challenge to enable them to improve further and to do the very best for the children in their care.
“We want to provide the highest quality of learning and teaching for our children, and ensure that those working in education outwith schools are fully focused on doing everything they can to provide the highest quality of support.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“Education recovery provides an excellent opportunity to improve the workings of both ES and the SQA and I look forward to seeing how input from those on the front line will be taken into account, along with the OECD review findings into Curriculum for Excellence, which is due to be published on 21 June.
“In addition to the reforms, I know the £1 billion investment is a massive stride to further decrease the attainment gap, while the recruitment of 3,500 classroom assistants will help every child to flourish in school to the best of their ability.”