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Education reform: "We need to learn from research and practice"

30 November 2021

Children in Scotland has responded to the Scottish Government’s consultation on Education Reform, calling for a child-rights approach and emphasising the benefits of a child-centred education framework.

We support the observations of the OECD that significant changes and learning have taken place around education policy and research since the Curriculum for Excellence was first formulated, more than two decades ago.

In our submission, we share our belief that this learning needs to be applied to the reform of Scotland’s curriculum structure in order to ensure it remains relevant, fit for purpose and supports positive personal, social, cultural and academic development whilst promoting a rights-based approach.

We also highlight the need for meaningful engagement and participation in decision-making for learners and their families as part of any reform.

Amy Woodhouse, Head of Policy, Projects and Participation, said:

“The discussions around education reform are long overdue. We welcome the ongoing review of the Curriculum for Excellence and support calls to update and upgrade the national curriculum structure.

“It is imperative we learn from developments in education policy and research, as well as listen to what today’s young people are telling us about their experiences. This will ensure we have a system that will both develop and nurture the young people of today and help create successful adults of the future.  It must also recognise that success looks different to different people and isn’t always about the ‘high stakes’ exam format.

“In addition, the young people we work with, whether it be the Inclusion Ambassadors, the Education Youth Recovery Panel and our own children and young people’s advisory group, have all consistently raised issues around a lack of clarity, communication and involvement in decisions around education delivery and assessment. This needs to change.

“Children and young people are key stakeholders and deserve to have equal space in this process. Their active and meaningful future engagement in the shape, delivery and assessment of their education will not only ensure we have a system fit for purpose, but will help realise the ambitions of the UNCRC in delivering education that is child-centred, child-friendly and empowering for all."

Within our consultation response, we also call for all decisions around reform to fully consider all children involved within the education system, including those in the early years and children and young people with additional support needs.

The consultation was launched on behalf of Professor Ken Muir, who has been appointed as independent advisor for proposed changes to Scotland’s national education agencies.

Recommendations on reform are expected to be submitted to Ministers in January 2022.

Click here to read our consultation response in full

Education Reform

Find out more about the Scottish Government's consultation on reform

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Children in Scotland's Manifesto 2021-26

Rights, Early Years and Learning all feature as themes in our manifesto for change

Click to find out more

Professional Teaching Standards review

Our GTCS partnership work produced recommendations from young people

Click to find out more

Inclusion Ambassadors

The young people ensuring those with ASN are heard in education policy and practice discussions

Click to find out more