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‘Joining the dots’: Educational reform in Scotland and the refresh of Scotland’s national Learning for Sustainability Action Plan

Thu 2nd March 2023 - Blog Posts, Communities, Further and Higher Education, News, Policy Advice and Responses, Schools and early learning & childcare settings

“It is a time of change in Scottish education, with warmly-welcomed opportunities to examine, discuss and reflect on system-wide reform.”

Learning for Sustainability Scotland, December 2022

2022 saw the publication of the much-anticipated ‘Putting Learners at the Centre: Towards a Future Vision for Scottish Education report by Professor Ken Muir. Commissioned by the Scottish Government to ‘provide independent advice…on aspects of education reform in Scotland’, it arose from the recommendations made in the 2018 Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence: Into the Future’ report by the international Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

‘Putting Learners at the Centre’ outlined recommendations that will bring about sweeping changes in Scottish education. A new body, Qualifications Scotland, will replace aspects of the current Scottish Qualifications Agency; and a new national agency for Scottish education will bring together Education Scotland, aspects of the SQA, certain Scottish Government departments and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework to ‘provide responsive, bespoke support and professional learning at regional and local levels.’

Engagement in this system-wide reform has been sought from key stakeholders in Scottish education through the ‘National Discussion’ which will report its findings in Spring 2023 and the public consultation held to inform the ‘Independent Review of Qualifications and Assessment’, led by Professor Louise Hayward, which will report its findings in May 2023. You can read more about our responses to both of these opportunities by clicking here.

A commitment to people and planet

Professor Muir’s report states that ‘The vision for Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) should be considered as part of this discussion; as should consideration of how the education system seeks to address the purposes described in Article 29 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)’.

Article 29 refers to ‘goals of education’ and outlines a commitment to encouraging children to develop respect for themselves, others and the world around them – key elements of a Learning for Sustainability ethos.

#TimeforLfS: refreshing Scotland’s national Learning for Sustainability Action Plan

Learning for Sustainability (LfS) has been an ‘entitlement’ for Scotland’s learners since 2013 and the current national LfS Action Plan, published in 2019, outlined the strategic role of key educational bodies and NGOs in supporting this.

April 2023 will see the publication of the refreshed national Learning for Sustainability Action Plan, which has been informed by key stakeholder working and leadership groups and – most crucially – by the voices of children, young people and educators through research undertaken in 2022 by the Children’s Parliament and the University of Dundee. There are clear synergies between the findings of this research and much of what is articulated in ‘Putting Learners at the Centre’: further strengthening the need for joined-up, coherent strategic thinking and action to support our young people to enhance and develop the skills, values, knowledges and attributes they will need to thrive in an increasingly challenging world.

We will share the refreshed LfS Action Plan with you as soon as we hear more and we look forward to wider discussion as to how we support educators and learners to embed and celebrate Learning for Sustainability across everyday learning – for everyone – as part of the opportunities afforded by the wider reforms across Scottish education.