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