CLDSC Members’ Bulletin – 1 April 2020

“The only thing that is constant is change.”

Heraclitus (535-475BC)

Yet frequently change comes as a surprise to us, a shock even. Whether it’s the depth, the range or its very existence, change never ceases to cause ripples to our perceived normality. Few of us, however, would have ever anticipated the impact created by the COVID-19 pandemic. As we begin to settle into the new normal, we have had, both as individuals and organisations, to respond to a wide variety of issues generated by the outbreak.

As your professional body, in our responses to these issues, concerns and quandaries, we have put our CLD Values and Ethics at the core. The health and wellbeing of CLD practitioners is central (Ethics: Duty of Care, Self-Care), yet we also must ensure, now more than ever, that the quality, professionalism and value of practice delivered by CLD practitioners is not weakened. As the professional body for Community Learning and Development, it is not only our mission, but also an obligation to our learners and communities, to drive high standards of professional practice in the sector through our approvals, registration and professional learning objectives.

As CLD Standards Council, we will, no doubt, need to respond to other issues which come to light as our society reacts to a fast-evolving situation. Maintaining standards is critical, but we will be open as to how this is achieved. To paraphrase Victor Hugo, we will change our leaves, but keep intact our roots.

News and updates

Latest Approvals News

CLD Approved Courses Practice Placement Guidelines

CLD Standards Council has developed guidance around how to manage practice placements during this current situation. This guidance relates to both Higher Education and Further Education courses which have been approved by CLDSC either through our Professional Approval Route or our Developmental Approval Route. In addition to the guidance, we have produced a list of Frequently Asked Questions. Both documents can be found on the CLD Standards Council website.

For CLD Students undertaking Practice Placements as part of approved CLDSC qualifications, some things will change – it may be the amount of practice placement hours required to complete the course, the type of work carried out and evidenced as practice, or the setting in which practice takes place. However, it’s important to recognise that some things won’t change; not least the quality of support CLD students can expect from both educational providers and CLDSC, and the standard of practice communities can expect from CLD practitioners.

New CLD approved course from the University of Edinburgh

From 2021, the University of Edinburgh will be offering a new course. Students studying for the new Bachelor of Arts (Ordinary) Learning in Communities can progress to a Master of Arts (Honours) Learning in Communities. The 3 year BA programme has been awarded Professional Approval by the CLD Standards Council. Whilst the MA (Hons) element is not an approved programme it will be recognised for Registration purposes with CLD Standards Council Scotland. The Approvals Review Panel were excited and positive about the programme whilst acknowledging that the course is still in the developmental stage. The CLD Standards Council are keen to support this process where they can. For further information about the course contact Stuart Moir at the University of Edinburgh.

Youth Highland awarded CLD Standards Mark

The CLD Standards Mark has been awarded to Youth Highland and will be valid from 2019 to 2022. The panel wished to thank Youth Highland for the quality of their submission. The detailed evidence submitted clearly demonstrated the strength of the organisation’s professional learning practice. The panel also commented that Youth Highlands approaches and processes show a clear commitment to the CLD profession.

Disclosure Scotland PVG Processing

Disclosure Scotland have announced that they are making a temporary change to the processing of applications.
Checks for those who have the most vital roles supporting the country during this time will be prioritised, and paper applications will no longer be accepted.
For further advice see the Disclosure Scotland web pages

Professional Learning Opportunity

If you are looking for useful reading material, remember that your CLD Standards Council Membership gives you online access to TES magazine. Details are available in the Members benefit page of i-develop. But you will need to login to access this.
Email us at if you have lost your username or password and are having difficulty resetting.

CLD Standards Council

Updated Guidance for CLD students and programme providers

The following guidance and Frequently Asked Questions has been prepared by CLD Standards Council in relation to the impact of COVID-19 on practice placements for CLD students at Higher Education Institutes or Further Education Institutes. Due to the evolving nature of the current situation, these documents may be updated, so please check back regularly to ensure you are referring to the latest version.

View previous Guidance versions

The COVID Challenged Conference

Message from Dr Marion Allison

In an alternative world I am in Edinburgh. At the John McIntyre conference centre to be precise. I am with 200 members of the CLD Standards Council Scotland, sharing in our professional pride. I am inspired by Gavin Oattes, Director of the Tree of Knowledge, sharing his enthusiasm for youth and community work. I am reminded of the power of Paulo Friere’s works on community empowerment by Andy Turner from Goldsmiths, University of London; and I am revelling in the excellent work of Members whose every day professional practice supports learners, communities and young people to transform their lives through collaborative educational programmes, learning opportunities and action for change.

Picture of delegates at the 2019 conference
Delegates at the 2019 CLD Standards Council Conference.

Instead, I am part of the matrix, connected to society via the computers and ‘phones that have become our lifelines. For years we’ve talked about Digital CLD. What system best meets our needs? Are we confident in using it? Are the young people or our learners ahead of us? What about ethics and safeguarding whilst online? In the space of one week our sector is responding rapidly to these questions and many more. No longer can we rely on our teams’ digital champions. Now we are all digital champions. Whilst conquering our fears and developing our technical skills and knowledge, we are managing a deluge of online information and mastering a multitude of digital platforms to provide community information, online learning programmes, drop in chat rooms and coffee breaks for Scotland’s young people, learners and communities. This support by our Members is crucial to so many at this time.

Never before has CLD leadership been so visible. Leading and contributing to board and executive meetings to ensure service continuity across the third and local authority sectors, driving partnerships to ensure CLD students meet their assessment requirements and engaging with people face to face to bring local solutions with, and for, learners and communities facing the consequences of social distancing and self-isolation. As our Chair Alan Sherry OBE writes in his current article for TES, “the ongoing role of CLD workers has been essential in developing the capacity of groups and in the creation of such local network structures across Scotland.”

By maintaining CLD competences and ethics, members are responding to these and other professional demands whilst juggling personal, family and neighbourhood circumstances. Working from home, home schooling, house-work, shopping for food and medical supplies, helping parents and neighbours is challenging on many levels. Central to CLD practice, now more than ever, Ethic number 12 guides us to “ensure CLD practice is consistent with the safety, health and wellbeing of CLD practitioners.” So, with that in mind I hope you all go well, keep safe and thank you for your dedication.

Dr Marion Allison


Guidance for CLD students and programme providers

This guidance has been revised. Please see Updated Guidance


Please see the following advice from the CLD Standards Council Scotland (CLDSC) in response to the disruption to delivery of CLDSC approved programmes caused by the current COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak. Due to these exceptional and rapidly changing circumstances, this guidance is intended to manage and minimise disruption to CLD students attending Scottish Further Education Institutions (FEIs) and Higher Education institutions (HEIs) whilst seeking to ensure that the quality of CLD learning programmes is not compromised.

This guidance has been designed to provide clarity and consistency to educational providers, students, practice supervisors and employers and aligns with the Joint Education and Training Standards Group that oversees the mutual recognition process across the UK and Ireland. Application of these guidelines will ensure that mutual recognition remains in place.

The Professional Practice Panel of the CLD Standards Council agreed to recognise that all CLD placements ended on the 17th March 2020 and will remain closed for the remainder of this academic session (2019-20).

This has been agreed in the context of CLD learning providers moving to alternative methods of programme delivery. Programmes approved via the Professional or Developmental approval routes require a minimum percentage of the CLD programme to have supervised practice, with awards contingent upon the practice being completed to a required standard. The necessity of supervised practice is a core element of the CLD learning that prepares students for CLD practice. The standards for Professional and Developmental Approvals state the following:

Supervised Practice:

  • include the extent of supervised practice-based learning within the course. (This must be equivalent to 40% – 50% of the overall programme)

Guidance on how to evidence this percentage can be found within Professional Guidelines, Annex 3 page 29 within this Approval Process Page

It is recognised that the potential consequences of COVID-19 (including the temporary closure of practice agencies/activities) are that some students may be prevented from completing the required assessed supervised professional practice.

The assumption is that programme design will not change as a result of the outbreak of COVID-19 but that FEIs and HEIs will use the available flexibility as to how practice is embedded in the curriculum over the duration of a programme. In applying this flexibility, FEIs and HEIs will wish to ensure that no students are put at risk of not achieving the standards as a result of insufficient time being afforded to them in practice, whilst ensuring due care to students’ wellbeing and safety. The following guidance is issued for FEIs and HEIs to help plan for any scenarios where planned practice hours may be impacted adversely with particular reference to students who would have anticipated completing their awards in academic year 2019/20:

CLDSC Guidelines: applicable from 17th March 2020

Guidance for non-final year students
For students at Year 1 or Year 2 of their programme (likely to be SCQF 7 or 8) whose practice is disrupted, the CLDSC would advise that universities progress them to the next year/level without having undertaken all the required supervised practice. This is on the condition that they undertake additional supervised practice to make up the hours, and the learning outcomes associated with them, at a later stage in their programme. Individual educational providers should work with placement providers and the student to best identify when this will be possible. Consideration should be given to the use of time outside typical University/College teaching terms/semesters.

Guidance for final year students
Year 3 or 4 students (BA/BA(Hons) (SCQF 9/10) are more likely to have completed most of their practice hours but will also face the greatest interruption. Due to the exceptional circumstances presented by COVID-19, the CLDSC is proposing that a revised total of 35 – 44% of assessed supervised professional practice is accepted as a qualifying standard, rather than 40 – 50%, providing students have demonstrated a consistent pass in previous practice assessments and there are no concerns about their CLD practice or conduct. These percentages reflect the calculations taken by the National Youth Agency England on their hours of practice standards and ensures alignment with our JETS colleagues and maintains our mutual recognition agreement. This allowance would not apply for students on the pass/fail borderline where the provider would require to find alternative practice evidence in order to support a pass and/or defer a programme pass. CLDSC staff will provide advice on what alternative evidence is appropriate should that be required.

Guidance for post-graduate students
The CLDSC recognises that postgraduate students have a more compact timescale and a disruption of 2-3 months could risk the non-completion of their programme. However, in this case we consider the required 40 – 50% placement practice as the absolute minimum requirement for a pass in CLD supervised practice. Therefore, if a student is on a one-year programme, HEIs may require to consider extending the programme and, if necessary, revise the graduation date to ensure students have time to complete assessed professional practice.

As with BA students, individual universities should work with placement providers and the student to best identify when this could be possible, extending into university holiday periods if necessary.

Guidance on individual circumstances
Where a student has the necessary experience from wider evidence of supervised practice (for example, if a student is also employed in an appropriate CLD setting/organisation), an exemption to the requirements may be possible providing a case is made that compensatory practice hours provide relevant evidence. However, the learning outcomes of supervised practice will require to be clearly evidenced and any decision should be taken with approval from the appointed External Examiner for CLD practice.

Note on wider impact of University/College closures or travel restrictions
The CLDSC recognise there may also be a wider impact on the development and approval of programmes during any closure of Universities/Colleges/other educational providers or travel restrictions imposed as a result of the continued outbreak of COVID-19. Further guidance is detailed below, concerning scheduled approval and/or re-approval activities:

Guidance on scheduled re-approvals
If an HEI, FEI or other educational provider is closed when a scheduled approval is due to take place, CLDSC will consider extending the existing validation period for a maximum of a year at the HEIs, FEIs or other educational providers request. In these exceptional circumstances, a request for extension must be put in writing at the earliest opportunity and addressed to: and cc to

Guidance on new programmes in the Professional Approvals route
For new programmes the CLDSC Approvals Panel considers it a necessity to meet with the relevant HEI personnel and stakeholders to inform them of the outcome. If a scheduled panel cannot take place because the HEI is closed (or travel is prohibited) or the Approval Panel is prohibited from convening, a postponement to the approval will be required until a date can be rescheduled and the proposal will remain subject to approval until full approval sign off by CLDSC Approvals Committee has been gained. The CLDSC Approval panel will make every effort to schedule this event prior to commencement of the new academic year. Use of digital technology communication methods for undertaking panel visits will be explored with each individual institution.

The issue of further guidance
The CLDSC recognises that there is continuing uncertainty with regards to the situation that is developing as COVID-19 spreads. With the situation being fluid and contingent upon official guidance from Scottish Government, UK Government and Public Health Scotland, this guidance will be reviewed periodically and if required any updated information will be issued in a timely manner.

Further information and guidance can be found via the web-links to the following organisations.

With thanks and best wishes

Dr Marion Allison

Versions of guidance updated at 27 March 2020

For most up to date versions see the Updated Guidance

CLDSC Working from home

From Wednesday 18 March 2020, the CLDSC staff team will be home-working in accordance with recent COVID-19 advice.

CLDSC is still operational but please be patient as the tech systems settle in! Our main phone number and direct staff land line numbers will be unavailable. The best modes of contact are staff mobiles and emails. Please email any general enquiries to and a member of the team will respond.

Lecture and Conference postponed

Following the most recent advice and guidance, the annual Members’ Lecture and Conference due to take place on 24 and 25 March 2020 have been postponed until further notice.

We will be in touch regarding revised dates. We very much hope to see you then and look forward to celebrating CLD, our fantastic Standards Council Membership and taking part in some exciting professional learning discussions!

CLD Standards Council is operating in line with Health Protection Scotland and Scottish Government guidance on the Corona Virus COVID 19 situation. See links for further information:

Consultation on replacement of EU Structural Funds

The CLDSC submitted a response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on a replacement funding vehicle for the current EU “Structural funds” – the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund. Scotland benefits from over £780m under the current 2014-2020 programme, and key aspects of both the existing EU priorities and those that the Scottish Government is considering relate closely to CLD interests and activities.

The CLDSC response benefited from contributions by members with direct experience of applying for and using the Structural Funds. It argued that a future funding programme should:

  • Have a strong focus on community capacity building and active citizenship in support of the Inclusive Scotland policy objective;
  • Support community-led local development, enabling and empowering people to drive change locally, with recognition of the support needed for this to happen;
  • Strengthen the connections between economic and social objectives and activities.

Information on the use of structural funds in Scotland, and issues on post-Brexit replacement funding, is available in this SPICe (Scottish Parliament Information Centre) briefing:

Information about the consultation (which is now closed) is available on the Scottish Government website –

Annual Lecture and Conference Registration OPEN!

CLD Standards Council Members’ Annual Lecture and Conference 2020 Registration is now OPEN!

The Lecture and conference will take place on Tuesday 24 and Wednesday 25 March 2020 respectively, and will be held at the John McIntyre Centre, Edinburgh.

Having taken account of feedback from previous events, we have extended the Conference experience with the option for members to attend a CLD Values in Theory Lecture the evening before. You can choose to attend either the Lecture OR the Conference OR BOTH!

We have packed agendas at both events. Key highlights include:

CLD Values in Theory – Tuesday 24 March 6-8pm

  • Andy Turner, Lecturer, Goldsmiths University of London – Empowerment, Tension and Social Movement
  • Dr Louise Sheridan, Lecturer, University of Glasgow – Embodying ‘Alfirmo’

CLD Values in Action – Wednesday 25 March 9.00am – 4.30pm

  • Ministerial Keynote – Mr Richard Lochhead, Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science
  • Keynote – Gavin Oattes – Tree of Knowledge
  • Keynote – Dynamic Earth
  • Community Empowerment – a Human Rights Approach
  • Equalities and Inclusion – CLDSC Workforce Research findings; Implications and Actions for CLDSC

This is a members only conference. An email has been sent to members with the lecture and conference booking link.

If you are a member but have not received the email, please contact us on for the conference booking link.

The conference was over-subscribed last year so do book early to avoid disappointment.

Response to GTCS’s draft Professional Standards and Code

GTC Scotland invited views from anyone with an interest in education on a refreshed set of Professional Standards for teachers as well as a new Professional Code for teachers.

The Professional Standards and Professional Code are integral to the working lives of teachers. These documents guide teachers through their careers, ensuring high standards and encouraging professional learning in order to continually update and develop skills
The Professional Standards have been refreshed and the Code revised to reflect the changing educational landscape and the needs of teachers and, importantly, children and young people.
The consultation opened on 30 September 2019 and closed 20 December 2019.

See further details on the GTC website

THE CLD provided comments in response as follows: –

The GTC will publish their response in April 2020.

Read “A New Approach for Adult Learning”

The latest thinking on adult learning looking forward to the development of a new national strategy from Richard Lochhead, Mhairi Harrington OBE and our own Dr Marion Allison.

Read at –

Article in Reach the College Development Network magazine


There is still time to get your adult learners to contribute to the development of the National Strategy by completing the Adult Learning Survey