New Year, New Learning Goals!

Image with the i-develop logo, Induction logo and text Professional Induction: An introduction to the purpose and functions of the CLD Standards Council and expectations of membership.

Looking to stretch your mind after the festive season?

Want to make the most of your CLD Standards Council member benefits?

Wondering what the member benefits are?

Interested in how membership can support your CLD practice?

Then the Professional Induction Programme is for you! Tick off those new year resolutions by joining our next programme, beginning on 23 February.

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. Taking part will help you to

  • Increase your awareness and understanding of
    • the purpose, functions and professional standards of the CLDSC and the requirements;
    • the benefits of membership, with particular reference to professional learning and development
    • being a member of the CLDSC;
    • the process of professional learning and development to professional practice, recognition and progression;
    • the benefits that peer support and mentoring bring to professional learning and development.
  • Produce a Professional Learning & Development (PL&D) Plan setting professional learning goals within the context of your practice and critically reflect on its development.

The programme is split into three units:

  1. The CLD Standards Council Scotland – its Vision, Values, Code of Ethics and functions;
  2. Registration, Learning and Review;
  3. Goal Setting and Plan Development.

Each unit takes approximately 5 hours, you have 3 months to complete the programme and you can set your own pace.

The programme is delivered through i-develop and you’ll be allocated a course mentor. All the course mentors are members of the CLD Standards Council Professional Learning Committee.

You will also be able to connect with other members who are doing the programme through our dedicated Slack channel.

The programme will begin with an introductory workshop on 23 February 2024. If you’re interested in taking part, complete this PIP 2024 registration form by Wednesday 14th February.

Winter learning festival

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

If you’re looking for some professional learning to help beat the January blues, fear not, the Winter Learning Festival for CLD offerings for January and February are here!

Organised by the regional professional learning networks, Education Scotland and CLD Standards Council, the Winter Learning Festival offers 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.

There’s still time to catch the final Education Scotland session of this week:

Equalities in CLD – Exploring Quality Indicator 1.2

Thursday 18th Jan at 10am – 11am

This session will include an input from HM Inspectors on How Good is our CLD, focusing on Quality Indicator 1.2 – improvements in equality, diversity and inclusion, with space for questions and discussion.

Sign up on Eventbrite to attend the session.

February will be a busy month of learning, with exciting offerings from:

West Alliance – 5 – 9 February 2024 – including ESOL Family Play; CLD approaches to youth employability; and How Participative is your PB?

Tayside and Fife Alliance – 12-16 February 2024 – including Embracing Digital in CLD; sharing Masters Research findings on CLD study motivations and career progression; and more!

South-West Alliance – 19 – 23 February 2024 – including Outcome-Based Learning in ESOL; Good Governance; Parental Empowerment Programme; and Introduction to Community Interpreting Qualification.

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

CLD – Your Views, Your Review

CLD Standards Council are participating in the Review of CLD currently being undertaken by Kate Still on behalf of Scottish Government and we are keen to ensure the views of our members are fully represented.

CLD Standards Council Scotland Member Meet-up logo

We are holding a Member Meet Up taking place online on Friday 19 January from 9.30-11am. Further information about the review can be found on the Scottish Government CLD Review website. Members of the Review Team will attend to share an update on the plans for consultation and engagement with the CLD sector and stakeholders.

There will be time for discussion at the Meet Up to consider your views, queries and desires for what the Review will achieve. There will be further opportunities for CLD Standards Council members to engage as the review progresses over the next few months.

Please register to attend on Eventbrite.

Festive message from our Chair

Christmas Image with festive holly, pinecones and berries surrounding the words, Happy Holidays, which as written out using coloured foam style lettering.
Photo credit Jamie Street on Unsplash

As 2023 draws to a close it affords us the opportunity to reflect on the last 12 months considering the successes we have celebrated and the challenges we have faced.

The year began with Professor Muir’s report on the future for Scottish education. followed in quick succession by the Hayward, Campbell and Withers Reports not forgetting the National Conversation on Education. All these activities proposed reforms which, if implemented, will impact in some way on CLD practice. At the time of writing, it is not yet clear as how radical the reforms will be or the pace at which change will take place. So, no doubt 2024 will be an interesting year for all of us.

In December 2023 Mr Dey announced an Independent Review of CLD to be led by Kate Still. At the CLD Standards Council we welcome this review and look forward to being able to engage our membership in direct conversations with Ms Still on the value and positive impact which high quality CLD practice, delivered and supported by qualified practitioners, has for individuals and communities. This will be an opportunity for CLD Standards Council members to help shape the future of the sector and I would urge you all take every opportunity to contribute to the work of the Review.

Important though the reports and reform work is, our membership, committee members and staff team have continued to work hard for the communities, families, young people and adult learners of Scotland. We have heard from many of you about your practice and the positive difference it is making to the learners and communities who you engage with. The Standards Council has sought to bring this work to the attention of policy makers and has encouraged elected politicians to visit groups to see for themselves the work which members do.

During 2023 the Standards Council has hosted over 20 online member led sessions covering equality themes, sharing of practice while offering peer support and encouragement. The staff team and I enjoyed meeting many of you at conferences, community events and staff development days that we have been fortunate to be able to attend. This type of engagement with members provides us with further information which is used to advocate for the central role of all three members of the CLD family in delivering the policy objectives of the Scottish Government.

I recognise that times are tough right now for our members absorbing more and more work pressures and demands for CLD services, for our learners, families and communities who are facing enormous financial and social challenges and for employers struggling to balance books. Unfortunately, 2024 is unlikely to make that any easier, however the current situation highlights the importance of CLD in creating a 21st Century Lifelong Learning system which will support a Fairer Scotland.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the CLD Standards Council committees and the staff team, to thank you for all your hard work over the past 12 months and to wish you and your families an enjoyable Festive period.

Alan Sherry, OBE
Chair, CLD Standards Council

New Year, new member Meet-Ups

During 2023, over 70 of you joined us for a variety of Member Meet-ups. Can we top that number next year? Oh yes, we can!

Our Member Meet-ups provide a safe, welcoming space where CLD Standards Council Members can engage with partner agencies on the big issues affecting communities, share practice with fellow CLD practitioners, and find out about new and innovative CLD work.

Our next few Member Meet-Ups are all planned, so please join us for them:  

Friday 19 January 9.30-11amCLD Review – A review of CLD in Scotland was announced earlier this month; this is your first chance to find out more about the review themes and how you can get involved. See our featured article on the CLD Review for more information.

Friday 16 February 11am-12pm – The Promise – we’re delighted to welcome Fiona Robertson from The Promise Scotland to this meet-up. Fiona will lead us in exploring the role of CLD in Keeping the Promise and how The Promise aligns with our CLD values and practice. [Registration will open in January]

Tuesday 12 March 11am-12pm – Race Equality Environmental Programme, CEMVO Scotland – Find out more about how the Race Equality Environmental Programme aims to improve the capacity of the environmental sector to tackle racial inequality and meet the needs of ethnic minority people. [Registration will open in January]

Fife Council Make Their Mark

Photograph of group of 17 people standing on a steps into a building, between yellow railings. Front row are l-r ?, Ross Martin, Tricia Ryan and ?. Ross and Tricia are holding a picture of the CLD Standards mark Thumbs Up image.

Fife Council is thrilled to announce that it’s received Standards Mark Approval from the CLD Standards Council Scotland.

The high quality of the Council’s Communities and Neighbourhoods Service volunteering provision has been recognised by both Volunteer Scotland and now the CLD Standards Council Scotland.

Ross Martin, Assistant Director of the CLD Standards Council Scotland, stated: “The CLD Standards Council are delighted to be in the position of recognising the commitment to volunteers that the service has put in place.
“The work of volunteers is vital to the positive development of communities across Scotland. Through the awarding of the CLD Standards Council Standards Mark we are joining with Fife Council in celebrating that commitment to learning, support and practice standards.”

Fife Council’s Community and Neighbourhoods spokesperson, Councillor Linda Erskine, expressed her delight, saying: “This recognition is a testament to the unwavering dedication of our team and builds upon the recent award of the Investors in Volunteers accreditation awarded by Volunteer Scotland. It reaffirms our commitment to enhancing the lives of the people of Fife, while making sure volunteering is an interesting, enjoyable, and safe experience.”

Tricia Ryan, Fife Council Community Development Support Manager, said: “This award provides national recognition for the quality of the learning opportunities we provide for our volunteers. It also evidences the significance we place on developing the skills, knowledge and experience of our volunteers, so they can make a real difference in their lives and their communities.
“Equally importantly, it’s testament to the ongoing hard work and dedication of our staff, who consistently strive to support local people make meaningful changes in their local areas.”

Fife Council CLD teams are active in communities across Fife, working alongside families, community groups, young people and individuals, as well as supporting those who are looking to get more involved in opportunities to shape their local community, or get involved in a community or youth group to make new friends, learn new skills and enjoy what their local community has to offer. To find out more visit Fife Council web pages.

CLD Review.. that means you!

Top of the picture is a brown door mat with the words Come As You Are written in black on it. At the bottom of the picture are two black boots.
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Announcing the commitment in an update to Parliament, Minister for Higher Education and Further Education Graeme Dey confirmed that the Scottish Government will carry out a review into Community Learning Development (CLD). The independent review of CLD in Scotland will run from December until June 2024. It will examine the extent to which CLD is delivering positive outcomes for some of Scotland’s most vulnerable learners and marginalised groups.

Mr Dey said: “Our review of CLD will identify strengths and highlight areas for improvement so that, as we progress reforms, we can ensure that everyone benefits. It is critically important for us to be able to identify strengths in our current approach to CLD and to highlight where improvements may be necessary.”

In recognition of the changing landscape and emerging needs of learners, the Scottish Government committed to reviewing the CLD regulations in 2021. The Minister for Higher and Further Education has requested this commitment to be taken beyond the legislative requirements for CLD with a focus on how the CLD service offers support and development to learners in Scotland’s communities. The statutory basis for CLD is under sections 1 and 2 of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 (the 1980 Act):

Section 1 places duties on education authorities to secure adequate and efficient provision of further education for their area

The Requirements for Community Learning and Development (Scotland) Regulations 2013, were made under section 2 of the 1980 Act which allows Ministers to prescribe the standards and requirements which education authorities must comply with when discharging their statutory functions under section 1 of the Act. They set requirements in relation to the process to be undertaken by education authorities in securing CLD provision. Under the Requirements, local authorities must publish a plan every 3 years containing information about the provision of CLD within their area.

Changes across the policy landscape have highlighted a need to further collaborate on planning to ensure young people and adults achieve the skills and support they need to progress.

There has been extensive work carried out across the Scottish Government to develop an education and skills system that is fit for the future. As this work continues to develop, their ambition is to ensure that all parts of the system work in synergy to provide the right level of support to help learners to achieve the best possible outcomes to maximise their potential. The independent review of CLD will consider recommendations outlined by Professor Ken Muir, Professor Louise Hayward and James Withers to fully understand the extent to which the skills of CLD practitioners and the impact of CLD practice on marginalised learners are delivering outcomes towards the shared priorities of education and skills reform. It will also link to Post School Education, research and Skills- Purpose and Principles following a recent consultation.

For further information, including initial details regarding the scope of the review and timescales please visit the Scottish Governments Independent Review of Community Learning and Development: terms of reference

Join us on Friday 19 January 9.30-11am for the first of our Member Meet Ups (book your place on Eventbrite) to gather your views on the Review and how CLD sits within wider Education Reform.

CLD Standards Council @ The Gathering 2023

Image of 5 yellow stars
Image by masadepan on Freepik

Our Five Star Review of a 5 Star Event:

Earlier this month, the CLD Standards Council were delighted to join The Gathering in Edinburgh with over three thousand people from Scotland’s third sector.  For the first time ever, we hosted our annual member conference events as part of SCVO The Gathering. We held 3 Conference Workshops and our Annual Evening Lecture where over 200 delegates took part. From our perspective, it was a five star event worthy of a five star review.

The First Minister stops by the CLD Standards Council

Dr Marion Allison, Director of the CLD Standards Council meeting the First Minister Humza Yousaf

In his keynote speech, First Minister Mr Humza Yousaf M.S.P. reflected on his positive experience of community work and the importance of communities in Scotland’s future.  We were therefore delighted when he took the time to say hello to the team at our information stall.  We were proud to showcase our work as the professional body for CLD in Scotland and give him a goody bag full of information about our workforce, members, services and impact.

CLD Researchers Shaping Practice

The body of academic research covering CLD in Scotland is alive and kicking. It was an honour to hear from Dawn Brown, Beth Parker and Laura Sutherland who not only shared their research findings but inspired the standing-room only space with their journeys and experiences of post-graduate study.  Afterwards, it was amazing to hear so many participants say “I think I’ll look into doing my Masters”.

CLD Career Pathways

With so many career options for CLD practitioners across the public and third sectors our jam-packed workshop highlighted just some of the CLD qualifications, mentoring and professional learning activities available to members. CLD practitioners from a wide range of practice areas shared their volunteering and career pathways.  In the evening, the career spotlight was most definitely on Dr Annette Coburn who delivered the CLD Annual Lecture, CLD – “Live Long and Prosper”. It was enlightening, informative, challenging and entertaining.

We took the Conference to the People

Having one CLD Standards Council annual event is never enough, so this year we tried something different and took the conference to the people.  In addition to raising the profile of CLD and promoting membership, we met with many CLD practitioners, some who were lone-practitioners working in small social enterprises or voluntary organisations. It was good to hear people saying they felt enthused and included by re-connecting with the CLD competency framework and of course the CLD Standards Council!

CLD Standards Council: More Members More Clout

From being at The Gathering and listening to participants, workshop holders and guest speakers it is clear that Scotland’s need for CLD: adult learning, CLD: community development and CLD: youth work is stronger than ever. The number of people volunteering and working across these sectors is growing alongside the demand for the CLD competency framework.  Just one of the benefits of Membership is being a voice for the CLD sector and we were delighted to welcome new members that reminded us that #BecauseOfCLD #MoreMembersMoreClout ! Join us!

Check out full details, all our conference materials and presentations on our I-develop Conference 2023 page.

Have Your Say

As CLD practitioners who deliver formal, informal and non-formal learning opportunities and accreditations to individuals and communities across Scotland, we want your views.

CLD Standards Council logo in a Blue speech bubble with the words "Have your say" underneath.

In March 2022 the Scottish Government announced that the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) would be replaced with a new qualifications body, as well as its intention to establish a new independent inspectorate (HMIe) whilst looking at how best to align education inspection with the wider inspection system.

Establishing a new qualifications body, and delivering a new approach to inspection are important steps in improving and changing the education and skills system for the better, whilst building on all that is good in Scottish education and skills. It is essential that this includes recognition of Community Learning and Development (CLD) as part of the Scottish Education system, with life wide skills and qualifications for learners of all ages and stages of life.

We will be hosting this online focus group to discuss this consultation with you, our members, so register for your place to attend our “Have Your Say” session, and you can inform and shape our response to this consultation. This session is an opportunity for members to meet with policy officers supporting this consultation, to enquire, discuss and help inform decisions on the most effective approach for reforming education inspection, including the role that any new legislation could play.
The reason for establishing a new qualifications body is to ensure that qualifications consistently meet the needs and expectations of their users, the education system, employers and everyone with a stake in qualifications and awards – including Members of the CLD Standards Council.
The new body will involve young people and learners, teachers and CLD practitioners and wider stakeholders in its decision making. It will be accountable and transparent through robust governance and other arrangements.

As the professional body for CLD practitioners in Scotland, we are specifically seeking further views on the range of establishments and services subject to inspection; the purpose and priorities for improvement of inspection; and the different possible legislative and non-legislative reform measures that can be taken to address the priority issues. Members may also wish to reflect and share views on the value which external scrutiny by HMIe provides to support the development of CLD services and workforce development.

This is a direct opportunity for Members of the CLD Standards Council to comment on the Education Bill, reflect on the CLD Regulations, raise our voice and ensure that we are included and listened to as a distinct profession that has lifelong impact on young people, adult learners, families and communities.

It is critical that, together, we submit a detailed and informed response to maximise the understanding and inclusion of CLD educators and the learning and accreditation that the CLD sector delivers across Scotland. JOIN US. Sign up on Eventbrite and you can inform and shape the response CLD Standards Council submits.

If you would like information on the Scottish Government’s Education Bill, please read the full consultation paper which offers details about the proposed new qualifications body and approaches to inspection.
You will also find links to submit your own response as an individual or from your own organisation. The more responses from CLD practitioners, the more impact we can have as a sector.

Leading CLD professional learning programme

A blue background with the title Leading CLD Programme Participant Reflections on the top left. Education Scotland and CLD Standards Council logos in the bottom right corner. 
Four speech bubbles with quotations in them.  
1 “The coaching aspect really helped me to tame my advice monster and to actively listen and give others the space to explore their issues and solutions.”   
2 “I have particularly enjoyed building my professional network. The home group activities were a really valuable way of building connections and sharing practice across different areas.”  
3 “Despite being from another professional background, it helped me recognise that I had transferrable skills and actually knew more than I realised.”  
4 “This programme has really helped me look outward more. It has impacted my own reflective practice especially regards connecting ‘on the floor’ delivery through to the context of policy.”

As part of the learning offer for leaders we are delighted to open up applications for the third Leading CLD programme for CLD leaders. Evidence suggests there is a need for systematic leadership support for CLD managers in Scotland, in line with the wider offer available to the education system. View the PLL Digital Brochure (PDF)

Facilitated by a team comprised of CLD Standards Council, Education Scotland CLD and Professional Learning and Leadership specialists, participants will engage in professional learning and reflect on their current CLD role. Programme design is based on the experience participants bring, the knowledge of experts/academics; and collaborative activities to develop new knowledge.

The programme will be of most interest to senior local authority managers responsible for CLD services, who have identified CLD leadership as an area for professional development. (This includes managers with no, or little previous experience of CLD; and those interested in developing their leadership capital and professional network). In line with previous programme development approaches, we have developed the content of the programme alongside senior CLD managers and colleagues from the Higher and Further Education sectors.

The programme will run from the beginning of February until the beginning of June, and will include four x 1 day sessions. For further information see the Leading CLD PLL Offer programme area on the Education Scotland website (currently being updated). Interested individuals are invited to apply for this opportunity by following this link to the MS Form by close of business on Friday 8th December. Leading CLD 2024 application form

If you have any questions about the offer then please contact


Education Scotland is delighted to offer a range of free 1:1 online coaching opportunities which could support your wellbeing and professional development and is tailored to individual needs.

You can read more about and sign up by following the links below:
Online Coaching for Education Scotland Workforce Support (
This includes coaching for Headteachers, Deputes and Teachers with pastoral or child protection responsibilities, Middle Leaders and CLD Managers with 4-6 hours 1:1 online coaching.

Online Coaching for Wellbeing for Education Practitioners (
This is open for all CLD practitioners, managers and leaders with 2x1hour coaching and is also open to anyone who has already benefitted from this offer previously.

Both these offerings are fully funded by the Scottish Government. If you or any of your colleagues would value this opportunity, please do sign up.