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.