Seal of Approval

CLD Standards Council Approvals Committee are happy to announce that they have approved Fife College for the HNC Working with Communities.

Fife College have received full approval from the CLD Standards Council for their part time hybrid HNC Working with Communities. For any practitioners interested but are out with the local Fife area, classes will be available to join online via Microsoft Teams. The course will be 1 day per week in college/online (Thursday 9am-4pm) and 1 day per week on placement (minimum of 6 hours per week). This does not need to be one full day and can be made up of a variety of working/voluntary hours throughout the week and weekends either during the day or in the evenings. It is suggested that those joining from out with the local area would be in suitable employment, or able to source their own placement opportunity (Support can be provided, if necessary).

If you earn under £25k, part time funding is available through the SAAS Part Time Fee Grant. This does leave £206 payable by the student, which can be paid in instalments using Fife College’s payment plan.

To apply for the course, please do so on the Fife College website.

We are delighted that the UHI (University of the Highlands and Islands) BA (Hons) Child and Youth Studies with Community Learning and Development has received accreditation with the CLD Standards Council Scotland. This builds on the well-established BA (Hons) Child and Youth Studies degree and provides an opportunity for individuals in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland to gain a professionally recognised qualification in the sector. UHI are looking forward to welcoming the first cohort in September 2024!

Find out more on the UHI website.

Views on the News

We want to provide an update regarding Wednesday’s public announcements from Scottish Government about Scotland’s Education Reform Programme (news release).

Firstly, the Education (Scotland) Bill was published on the Scottish Parliament website which begins the process of the Bill being scrutinised by Parliament. The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills also provided an update on the future of Education Scotland in response to a Government Initiated Question (GIQ) published on the Scottish Parliament website. The Bill published provides the legal underpinning to support the design and delivery of a national organisational infrastructure for education in Scotland that more effectively supports the system to deliver for Scotland’s learners.

These updates are a significant step forward for Education Scotland, with whom the CLD Standards Council holds a Framework Agreement as per Ministerial requirements. As yet, the position and standing of the CLD Standards Council will need to be considered together with any recommendations that are accepted from the independent review of CLD in Scotland. By way of assurance, please note that the CLD Standards Council staff team continue to engage positively with Scottish Government and Education Scotland colleagues.

The following points provide further information that may be useful for CLD Standards Council Members when considering the impact and implications of these changes for CLD Standards Council members.


Part 1 of the Bill establishes Qualifications Scotland. The new agency will change name from Scotland’s Qualification’s Agency (SQA) to Qualifications Scotland and will:

  • replace the Scottish Qualifications Authority, which is dissolved by the Bill
  • develop and award qualifications (other than university degrees)
  • have an independent Accreditation Committee to regulate qualifications (other than university degrees) and the organisations that award them
  • give advice to Scottish Ministers
  • produce charters setting out what learners, teachers and practitioners should expect from Qualifications Scotland
  • involve learners, teachers and others in decision making through a Board of Management, committees and an advisory council

Part 2 of the Bill establishes the Chief Inspector and sets out what they will do and how they will operate. The new inspectorate is to be called His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education.
The Chief Inspector will:

  • inspect places where education is provided and education services
  • have an Advisory Council
  • publish an inspection plan and reports on inspections
  • publish an annual report, and reports on the performance of the Scottish education system
  • tell Scottish Ministers when a school or education authority is not making necessary improvements

The Bill sets out the following key measures in relation to the inspectorate:

  • ensure the inspection of education provision can continue to be carried out by HM Inspectors in the full range of establishments and services as are currently inspected, from early learning and childcare to adult learning 
  • Give HM Chief Inspector powers to set the frequency and focus for inspections 
  • Retain some limited power for Scottish Ministers to initiate inspection in all areas of the Inspectorate’s remit 
  • Require HM Chief Inspector to report annually on the performance of Scottish education so far as within HM Chief Inspector’s remit   

Education Scotland will:

  • retain the same name and remain as the national education agency with its primary focus on curriculum and providing curriculum design, delivery and improvement which will cover the provision of resources to support high quality learning and teaching.
  • support professional learning through a national framework and build on existing and well-regarded national leadership professional learning programmes, including curriculum focused professional learning.
  • work with local authorities to inform approaches to wellbeing, inclusion, behaviour and also enabling better support for those with additional support needs.
  • use its unique national perspective to inform, share and promote wider approaches to improvement to close attainment gaps as set out in the National Improvement Framework.  
  • deliver change and improvement to achieve excellence and equity in education, including Gaelic Medium Education.

The Bill will now be examined by the Scottish Parliament which is a lengthy process, and we will continue to keep you up to date with progress regarding the CLD Standards Council and Scotland’s Education Reform.

As always, thank you for your continued support and contribution to the CLD Standards Council.

CLD in Scotland Conference – a 21st Century Profession!

What do you get when you take 120 CLD leaders, 12 amazing speakers, 1 central Glasgow venue and throw in a bucket load of passion, enthusiasm and critical thinking? The “CLD in Scotland Conference” of course!

On 17th April, CLD Standards Council and CLD Managers Scotland jointly hosted the CLD in Scotland Conference. It aimed to bring key stakeholders in the CLD sector together to consider strategic issues affecting CLD in Scotland and to consider how these issues should be addressed by the review of CLD.

To get us thinking, we were joined by an array of speakers from across the academic, economic and education spheres.

Some of the key messages they shared and questions they posed include:

CLD in Context – Dr Rachel Shanks, University of Aberdeen 

  • Connecting Freire, Kahneman, Fielding 
  • Cognitive bias, and intuitive unconscious bias decision 
  • Individual agency and self-awareness to become agents of change   

Delivering Positive Outcomes – Professor Sinead Gormally, University of Glasgow

  • How do we increase the visibility and recognition of CLD as a sector, whilst still supporting each of our 3 domains of practice and specialist roles?
  • If we are to deliver positive outcomes – what then is our (CLD’s) unique role and contribution to the Scotland we want? And how do we evidence and articulate this?
Professor Sinead Gormally holding a mic to the left of a lectern. CLD Standards Council pop up banner is behind her right shoulder. To her left, is a large screen with a page of a presentation on The Changing Landscape of Scottish Education.

CLD: Ready for the Future – Pauline Radcliffe, Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework Partnership

  • Recognising real learning’s worth – and where that happens 
  • How can your voices be more effectively heard in other “languages” (i.e. different professional contexts)? 

Capturing the Impact of CLD – Professor Emeritas Karen MacArdle, Sue Briggs and Kirsty Forrester

  • What can we do about Social Justice? Counter hegemony with critical education for us and them; Sharpen up our language and speak truth to power; Amplify and interpret voice and stories; Be political/change driven.
  • What are the key outcomes against which we wish to be assessed, known, measured?

Scotland’s Labour Market and the Role of CLD – Chris Brodie, Skills Development Scotland

  • Scotland has a shrinking labour pool. Prioritising investment in skills through data and insight-led decision making will be increasingly important for people and the economy!
  • What opportunities and challenges to these labour market conditions present for the CLD sector itself?

You can see the social media feedback by clicking on the #CLDinScotland hashtag.

Conference slides and resources will be available on i-develop soon.

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much

Picture of large black graffiti on white paint, which has been done on side of a red bricked building. It says Together We Create

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Together We Create…. and they most certainly did when the CLD Standards Council standing committees came together in February.

Our Committee membership is drawn from across the full spectrum of activity and contexts in CLD. We believe that their combined knowledge, skills, and experience is our most valuable asset, ensuring we are a peer led body working in the interests of the field.

We have an Executive Committee which oversees all our work and ensures that we are fulfilling our responsibilities and effectively representing the CLD sector, alongside three standing committees which correspond to our core responsibilities. Each of the three standing committees are supported by a CLD Standards Council development officer. Here is a brief insight into their current work.


  • Three new approvals in the pipeline
  • Review of Developmental Approval and Standards Mark processes

Professional Learning:

In 2011, the Standards Council published the first national Continuing Professional Development strategy for CLD. It promoted a “learning culture”, where practitioners, paid or unpaid, are involved in a continuous process of learning, development and improvement. It was updated in 2015 and published with the title “Growing the Learning Culture in CLD: A Strategy Statement and Framework for Action”. This update provides the focus for the next stage of support for CLD practitioners, their employers, learning providers and national partners to work together to achieve the vision of a learning culture. And now it’s time to refresh the strategy again. The content is still very much relevant, but we’ll be having a look at how we can make sure the information is clear, easy to find and directly relevant to those in our sector.

And as if that wasn’t enough, we’re delighted to announce that registration for our next Professional Induction Programme is now open! The Professional Induction Programme (PIP) was developed by CLD Standards Council members to help those joining take advantage of all the benefits available as part of CLD Standards Council membership. The programme takes approximately 15 hours to complete over a 12 week period and is due to begin late summer.

Our current PIP participants took part in their first workshop a few weeks ago and here’s how they’re feeling about finding out more about the benefits of membership, support with professional learning and making connections.

Screenshot with the question "How are you feeling about the start of your PIP journey". 18 responses. Word cloud with the following words : exited; connected; motivated; enthused; intrigued; inspired; happy; uplifted; grateful; supported; educational

If you’d like to join the next PIP course, give us your details on this short form and we’ll be in touch!


The registration committee’s strategic objective is to maintain and develop the Registration system and establish members’ services for practitioners delivering and active in CLD. To do this their key outcomes are:

  • Promote registration and membership of CLD Standards Council, ensuring equality and inclusion policies are embedded.
  • Increase and improve internal and external communications regarding registration, membership, public register, and all registration processes.
  • Support cross committee working to improve registration and membership policies and processes.

At present, the registration committee members are working hard on developing new up to date promotional material, following on from the new Information Flyer. They delivered a fun and interactive seminar at SCVO The Gathering last year, and are currently finalising a new presentation, with guidance, for all members to access and use in their areas. This will help increase awareness of the CLD Standards Council, raise the profile of the profession and help members and potential members understand the range of benefits from being part of the professional body for CLD in Scotland.

There are also exciting developments regarding a new digital registration form and the processes to support that. Alongside these activities they are planning to record some suites of vlogs and promotional videos, some on the committees themselves and others on the benefits membership and to highlight the vast array of practitioners and talent that makes up the CLD workforce across Scotland.

Defenders of Rights

Purple circle with CLD Standards Council logo and the words Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Members' Forum

There is a lot happening with the CLD Standards Councils Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Members Forum, following on from such a brilliant and busy year of online sessions.  

This forum was set up following requests from our members for a safe informal space to enquire and learn together on topics that come under Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion. We support attendees to join in, enquire together, learn from each other, and enable this forum to flourish and be the inclusive and supportive space we all look for.

These ED&I members forum sessions are also about building relationships, and we encourage attendees to share thoughts and experiences, or equally join online and be comfortable to just listen.

This forum supports CLD values such as Inclusion, Working Collaboratively and Promotion of Learning, and we always encourage attendees to share the knowledge and understanding from these sessions afterwards within their own communities of practice, within their teams, and wider networks, so together we create a ripple effect of learning. All information, slides and shared resources from each session are made be available on our ED&I space on i-develop.

Our next online session on 25th March is all about reflecting on all of the sessions over the past year, reviewing what worked and what didn’t, as well as the i-develop group space for resources. It is also critical we hear from you, our members, on what future topics under Equality, Diversity and Inclusion you would like to discuss over 2024/2025, so book to join us at the March forum on Eventbrite

Our April forum is all about Rights. Members asked for a session to unpick aspects of rights work within CLD, especially with the new proposed Bill for Human Rights in Scotland and UNCRC. We are delighted that we will be joined by Clare MacGillivray from Making Rights Real. Clare will lead discussions on how CLD can champion rights and be rights defenders! Together we will enquire how to connect rights within our work with vulnerable individuals and communities, and get a better understanding of Human Rights, along with examples of how CLD supports learners and communities to stand up for their rights and find a voice. Book for the April forum on Eventbrite.

Look forward to seeing you there.


Close up picture of an old-fashioned typewriter, with a white piece of paper in it with the word review typed onto it

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

As the consultation stage of the Independent CLD Review is coming to an end, we wanted to update you on our activity. Our dedicated i-develop space has all the information for you to review, (login required).

In order to represent the views of Members, the CLD Standards Council’s objective throughout the review period has been to raise awareness and facilitate a programme of member focus groups, stakeholder meetings, questionnaires, and online member engagement activity. To date the CLD Standards Council has offered:

  • Thirty engagement opportunities for members, stakeholders, and partner agencies.
  • Fifteen online discussion groups.
  • Six in person discussion groups.
  • Seven one to one meetings, and
  • Two online questionnaires to capture the views of qualified practitioners who no longer work in a CLD role, and to gather current demographic data on our membership.

We have recorded over 940 member engagements across the thirty events, with a further two in-person events scheduled to be held in rural regions of Scotland in mid-March, and a staff discussion day late March.

In addition, CLD Standards Council is working in partnership with CLD Managers Scotland to host the CLD in Scotland Conference which will take place in Glasgow in April 2024. This conference is aimed at middle and senior leaders in CLD and will focus on the current independent review of CLD in Scotland. It will give delegates an opportunity to consider the four key review areas (Awareness & Visibility; Accessibility & Availability; Support & Learning; and Pathways & Progression), will have inputs from key academic and political voices and give delegates the opportunity to listen to, question and reflect on speakers’ reflections on the CLD Review. Direct invitations to members of CLD Managers Scotland and to key voluntary sector and national organisation representatives have been sent by email. If you think you should have received an invitation but haven’t, please email  

We have submitted thirteen separate focused responses. For full information and to access our submissions, please visit our CLD review space on i-develop.

Say Something Splendid

Picture of a metal shutter featuring a yellow sign which says Say Something

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The CLD Standards Council was invited to attend the Cross-Party Group (CPG) on Volunteering on 25th January, to talk about the contribution of volunteers and volunteering within a Community Learning and Development context and explain how valuable the opportunity of volunteering is to people of all ages within community settings, as well as looking at the role of volunteers in supporting CLD as a sector.

As our Development Officer for Policy, Vikki was delighted to join the forty-five people from a variety of organisations across Scotland, as well as MSPs, who were in attendance. The presentation included background explanations on how CLD is a field of professional practice in Scotland which includes youth work, community-based adult learning, (including English for Speakers of Others Languages/ESOL & family learning), and community development, enabling people of all ages to identify their own individual and collective goals, to engage in learning and take action to bring about change for themselves and for their communities.  

We felt it was important that we took the opportunity to highlight that CLD programmes and activities make positive contributions to a range of national and local policy outcomes in areas including education, lifelong learning, community empowerment, employability and skills, and health and wellbeing. Programmes and activities take place in community and educational settings and are run by professionally qualified CLD practitioners who are often supported by volunteers. We wanted to emphasise that volunteering with CLD provides a chance for individuals, groups and communities to actively participate in causes they care about. Whether it’s helping with homeless causes, supporting educational activities, or progressing environmental conservation, volunteering allows people to address pressing issues in their communities. We also recognised that volunteering can play a large part of the CLD delivery of learning opportunities, enabling individuals and groups to gain skills, knowledge and experiences which assist in their personal development as well as support steps into employment or progression to further and higher education.

Whilst it is evident that CLD volunteers play a vital role in the CLD sector, there is not a massive amount of data out there compared to other sectors. Rocket Science was commissioned in March 2018 by Education Scotland and the CLD Standards Council Scotland to conduct research to understand the CLD workforce in Scotland, including its volunteers. One of the key findings of the report is that ‘Volunteers are a hugely valued part of the CLD workforce’ and are seen by CLD practitioners and employers as a vital part of supporting communities.  

There were some trends to note (2018):

  • Volunteers in the public sector were slightly more likely to work a greater number of hours per week than in the third sector
  • It was more common to volunteer more than five hours per week in Youth Work than in Community Development or Adult Learning, with around half of all functions performed by volunteers being face-to-face roles with learners or communities, while 29% were on Committee, Board or Governance work.
  • When employers were asked whether they could recruit volunteers with the appropriate skills and competencies, the majority felt they could.

In 2018, CLD employers were also noting that the size of their workforce had changed, with a greater proportion stating that the number of paid workers in their organisation had decreased. Public sector employers noted that they were combatting reducing staff numbers by recruiting more volunteers. This suggests that employers in this area are having to mitigate the effects of diminishing budgets and staff numbers through recruiting a larger volunteer element to their workforce. Whilst we wonder what that landscape looks like now in 2024 with continual diminishing budgets being reported, we felt it important to critically explain that volunteers are not a cost-free option. Correctly supporting and utilising volunteers to deliver services demands investment in recruitment, supervision and training by professionally qualifies CLD workers, in addition to the costs faced regarding health and safety, any additional legislative requirements, such as PVGs, as well as offering accreditation where possible.

We also took the opportunity to highlight the benefits to volunteering with CLD, such as:

  • Positive difference to an individual, group or issue in society
  • Social interaction/Lower isolation
  • Skills, confidence and experience opportunities
  • Improvement in volunteers’ mental health and wellbeing
  • Improved employment prospects and career related benefits
  • Broadens life experiences

Vikki finished her presentation with some recent examples of volunteers, and their feedback on benefits and progression routes.

Learner-Volunteer A

“before I started I was in the house with agoraphobia, for 17 years. I was fading away, in the house with the blinds shut. I was relying on my children to do everything”

They stated that participating has given them increased confidence and “hunners of skills that I didn’t realise I had”

‘Learner-Volunteer A’ now volunteers with 5 different groups within their community.

“This has given me everything I ever wanted, and back to my old self. I am still getting educated every day as they tell me things and help me”

Student-Volunteer B

“volunteering meant more and more opportunities came out of the box, with hands on experience of all 3 elements of CLD”…… “as well as learned practicalities of CLD, I felt a growth in my knowledge and understanding of CLD, and even felt I could challenge lecturers and reference real practice”.

Once qualified ‘Student-Volunteer B’ went back to the centre they volunteered in and was offered employment as a sessional Youth Worker. Since then they have been successfully promoted to qualified CLD Worker and able to undertake a volunteer supervisor role “biggest privilege of my life, it’s taught me so much”.

Ruminate Review

Picture of 4 people smiling and chatting over coffee. The person on the left is using a tablet whilst the other three are holding coffee cups

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Our work to make sure your views are included in the Independent Review of CLD continues apace! So far, our Member Meet-ups and engagement with stakeholders have allowed us to meet with over 260 members and gather your thoughts on what’s important for you, for our sector and for us as your professional body.

What’s happened so far?

Our dedicated i-develop space has all the information for you to review and add to. In response to requests from members at the Member Meet-up with Kate Still, Independent Reviewer on 1 February, the Review Team have prepared a guide to help to help frame the ‘ask’ in the practitioners/stakeholders survey questions. The “Call for Evidence Questions and Suggestions on Framing for supporting learners and practitioners to answer the Independent CLD Review Questions” document is in the Introduction with Kate Still section of the i-develop space (Member login required). The Review Team is also preparing answers to the questions you asked at the Meet-up and we will share this with you when it is available.

The review team is also arranging for translation of the learner questionnaire into a number of languages, and is finalising a facilitator’s guide to allow local focus groups to be sent up by practitioners (to help learners to engage with the consultation).

What’s next?

Our 2 remaining Member Meet-ups are available to book on Eventbrite. Please join us and share your thoughts.

Tuesday 27 February 13:30 – 15:00

Member Meet up 4 – Pathways & Progression – Register on Eventbrite to attend

Thursday 29 February 18:30 – 20:00

Member Meet up 5 – All themes – Register on Eventbrite to attend

The Brain’s Belief

Picture of an abstract human brain, highlighted from above on a background of purple blue haze

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Unconscious Bias… What is it? Does it impact on your practice? Can you become more aware of your bias to improve diversity and inclusion in CLD?

Come and join us at the next Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) members forum where we will kindly be joined by colleagues from Education Scotland’s CLD team. During this informal forum session, you will be invited to consider how to become aware of biases and ways in which we can challenge them. Together, we will explore how understanding bias can support our work with learners and communities. We will also look at the equalities professional learning resources available.

To register for this forum session please book on Eventbrite

As always, we aim for this to be a safe, inclusive and positive space for CLD practitioners to share expertise, ask questions and develop knowledge to inform practice. All links, presentations and resources will be available for you to access on our ED&I i-develop group after the session.

Session Aims:

  • Explore what is unconscious bias and how we can be more aware of our own
  • Discuss the impact of unconscious bias within CLD practice
  • Investigate CLD resources available for Inclusion, Wellbeing and Equalities

The session will be held on MS Teams and a link will be sent to you 24 hours prior to the event

The CLD Standards Council Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Members Forum (ED&I) was established in Nov 2022 by Members of the CLD Standards Council Scotland, from the original Equalities Reference Working Group. The forum aims to support the creation, improvement and implementation of equalities and inclusion practices and processes that enhance the values and principles of the CLD Standards Council Scotland.

Winter Learning Festival Concludes

A white snowflake on a teal coloured background with the words Winter Learning Festival for CLD to the side.

There’s still time to pack in some professional learning before the Winter Learning Festival for CLD ends for another year!

Organised by the five regional professional learning networks, Education Scotland and CLD Standards Council; the Winter Learning Festival offers annually an exciting programme of free online learning for those working or volunteering in CLD.

Over the course of October to March, each regional network takes a week and offers a variety of professional learning activities. Activities are open to CLD practitioners across Scotland, so join in and get connecting with others across the country.

The final week 19-23 February, is hosted by the South-West Alliance and includes sessions on:

  • Outcome-Based Learning in ESOL
  • Good Governance
  • Parental Empowerment Programme
  • Introduction to Community Interpreting Qualification

You will find more details about what’s on offer and links to register on the Winter Learning Festival I-develop page.

And if you’re wondering what to learn in March, join us for the Member Meet-up on 12 March when CEMVO Scotland will share information about their Race Equality Environmental Programme which aims to improve the capacity of the environmental sector to tackle racial inequality and meet the needs of ethnic minority people.