Engage for Education

First meeting of new Scottish Education Council

November 24, 2017 by 9 Comments

Today I chaired the first ever Scottish Education Council, a new body established to the oversee the work we are doing to improve education in Scotland.

It brings together young people, education leaders and representatives from local authorities and the teaching profession, with a common national purpose of improving education in Scotland. I hope that it will be a forum for frank and open discussion about what is working in education and where improvement is required. I am in no doubt that members of the council will be able to provide us all with their expert advice and guidance and honest opinions and views, which will enable the council to oversee progress on the implementation and direction of improvement priorities.

Strong leadership and working together are vital to driving improvement and ensuring that all children and young people are able to reach their potential. As we work towards an education system that is led by teachers and schools, it is essential that we have the right national oversight and support in place. I am keen that this council works closely with local government and key stakeholders, including the new Regional Improvement Collaboratives, reflecting the significant role local partners play in the delivery of system-wide improvement.

Improving education is not one person’s responsibility, it is in all of our interests to get this right. I am confident that these new arrangements will ensure a shared responsibility and improve transparency of decision-making while driving our relentless focus on improvement. Rather than just talking about raising standards in education, the new council will deliver them.

Deputy First Minister with the young people representatives ahead of the first meeting of the new council

Membership of the new Scottish Education Council:

  • Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills (Chair)
  • Stephen McCabe, COSLA Children and Young People spokesperson
  • Five young people representatives on the council, with two attending each meeting. They will be supported by Young Scot and their names are: Josh Traynor, Cahal Menzies, Rowan Watkins, Olivia Stobart and Amelia Szypczynska
  • Janet Brown, Scottish Qualifications Authority Chief Executive
  • Larry Flanagan, General Secretary, The Educational Institute of Scotland
  • Graeme Logan, interim HM Chief Inspector of Education and Chief Education Adviser
  • Ken Muir, Chief Executive, General Teaching Council for Scotland
  • Joanna Murphy, Chair, National Parent Forum of Scotland
  • Morag Redford, Chair of the Scottish Council of Deans of Education
  • Fiona Robertson, Scottish Government, Director for Learning
  • Maureen McKenna, President of the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES)
  • Jim Thewliss, General Secretary, School Leaders Scotland
  • Bernadette Malone, Chief Executive, Perth and Kinross Council
  • Sheena Devlin, Regional Improvement Collaborative Lead, Tayside Collaborative
  • Gayle Gorman, Regional Improvement Collaborative Lead, The Northern Alliance
  • Douglas Hutchison, Regional Improvement Collaborative Lead, South West Collaborative
  • Carrie Lindsay, Regional Improvement Collaborative Lead, South East Alliance
  • Robert Naylor, Regional Improvement Collaborative Lead, Forth Valley and West Lothian Collaborative
  • Mhairi Shaw, Regional Improvement Collaborative Lead, The West Partnership

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  • Christine says:

    It’s encouraging that young people are being included within the council’s membership. I hope to hear that other learners of different ages are in attendance also to represent colleges, universities as well as community education.

  • alasdair mathers says:

    Sadly no Community Learning and Development Managers Scotland representation , no health services affecting children’s learning representation , no children’s social work services affecting children’s learning representation , no community planning managers national network representation

  • Andrew Maitland says:

    Exciting new development in education – can’t wait to see the results of their discussions!

  • Billy Mansebridge says:

    Is it my imagination, or have we come to a point in education which has been designed and executed by the people around this table? In other words, if we are looking for breakthroughs and something different that will improve and change significantly the outlook for young people in Scotland, would it not have been a better idea to ask employers to join in, rather than the “usual suspects” around this table.

    This group are hardly likely to say “See all the stuff we’ve been doing in education for the last 15 years? Let’s do something different”.

    Why is the EIS there? What purpose do they serve? Will they be pushing forward new initiatives that are demanding of and challenging to their members? How will their presence square with the idea of Headteachers having the autonomy to employ the best people for the job (as opposed to the current system where they HAVE to take surplus teachers, whether they are good or bad teachers)?

    Curriculum for Excellence was cursed by the same approach of inviting THE SAME people into the room and what did we end up with? Shiny green folders that was a redesign of the same stuff.

  • Sanjeev Mohammed says:

    I’m reading the names in this list and my question would be this: what innovation or ground breaking ideas are expected from this committee? It appears to be almost entirely composed of those who have personally guided education policy in Scotland for over a decade – Directors of Education, SQA, HMIe, unions……no business representatives, no classroom teachers and noone who has challenged the status quo at all.

    By the way, does this blog only moderate and publish comments which are positive?

  • Hugh Allan says:

    While I welcome the need for the new Education Council – I’m disappointed in the make up of the new initiative. Where are the genuine educational thinkers? Keir Bloomer has lead on so many educational think tanks. Where are the private sector representatives? The Industrialists who will provide a sound vocational future for Scotland’s young people? Why is the Private Sector not represented – Surely a Hutcheson’s Grammar or even a Newlands Junior College should be at the table. I’m an optimist and really hope we see change from this group – a change that is greatly needed for the country to prosper. I have been involved in education for over 25 years however – I need to temper my optimism with a real sense of pragmatism.

  • Angela Graham says:

    Talk about the usual suspects….!!!!!

    How is this board going to deliver anything new, when it is exactly the same people (with the exception of the young people) who have been starring, writing and influencing policy for the last ten years?

    This is not a criticism of the members, but an acknowledgment of the impossibility of the task, when you assemble a team of turkeys and remind them that Christmas is coming….

  • karin French says:

    Who will be representing the interests of disabled children in these times of increasing educational inequalities.

  • karin French says:

    Who will be representing the interests of disabled children I these time of such educational inequality.

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