skip to main content

Qualifications and assessments 'must prioritise flexibility, individual choice and continuous progress'

There is too much focus on exams and not enough flexibility when it comes to assessments of learning, say the Inclusion Ambassadors.

With secondary school pupils across the country back after the festive break, the Inclusion Ambassadors have identified pressure and a rigid approach to formal assessment as particular problems.

The Inclusion Ambassadors are a group of secondary school-aged pupils who have a range of additional support needs and attend a variety of school provision. The group was established to ensure the views of young people with additional support needs are heard in discussions about education policy.

Their comments come as a response to Professor Louise Hayward’s current Independent Review of Qualifications and Assessments and in the run-up to many secondary school pupils finding out the results of prelim exams sat before Christmas.

Whilst understanding the importance of having a means to track learning and progress, the Inclusion Ambassadors felt the current approach adds stress and detracts from other important aspects of learning.

Referring to their own experiences, they highlight that an ongoing focus on exams can dominate the school experience, particularly in the senior phase.

They also identify exams as being anxiety-inducing and frustrating, with the level of homework and revision required contributing to stress and 'burnout’.

The group also highlighted the need to recognise success outside the exam system. This was the basis of the Success Looks Different Awards, launched last year, which recognised schools who celebrate success and achievements outwith academia.

Acknowledging and supporting this is particularly important to those pupils who do not sit exams or formal assessments.

Chris Ross, Senior Policy, Projects and Participation Officer, who leads the Inclusion Ambassador work, said:

“The Inclusion Ambassadors are clear that the high-pressure environment of formal exams can have a detrimental effect on their health and wellbeing, as well as overall experience of school in their final years.

“We believe the review needs to find a way to not only reform the structure of the system but also change the narrative and perception of what is valued.”

Based on the consultation and feedback from the Inclusion Ambassadors, Children in Scotland has made four recommendations to the review:

  • The future of Scottish exams and assessment must prioritise flexibility and individual choice for learners
  • Ongoing assessment needs to be prioritised over high stakes exams. This should include opportunities to complete shorter courses that reflect different needs
  • Recognition of wider success and achievements needs to be given parity with formal exams
  • Schools need to find ways to make the exam process less pressured and reduce the negative impact on children and young people’s wellbeing and health.

Children in Scotland has also submitted a response to the Review. It is informed by work with young people across our projects as well as previous evidence about the effectiveness and appropriateness of the current exam and assessment framework.

Professor Louise Hayward’s Independent Review of Qualifications and Assessment is currently open for public consultation, with a closing date for responses of 13 January, 2023.

Click here to read the Inclusion Ambassador’s response to the Review

Click here to read Children in Scotland's response to the Review

Consultation response

The Inclusion Ambassador's contribute to Professor Hayward's review

Click here to read

Exam revision

The Independent Review is due to report to the Scottish Government in May.

Click here to read more

About the Inclusion Ambassadors

Find out more about the group, their recent activity and ongoing work

Click here to visit their site

Education Briefing

Presenting evidence and outlining our calls for change

Click here to read

Children in Scotland Manifesto 2021-26

Read our calls for change across 10 themes

Click here to find out more

Education system 'needs cultural reform'

News: Children in Scotland contributes to the National Discussion on Education

Click here to read more
Photo. A girl is taking a book from a bookshelf in a library. She is wearing a pink hooded top and wearing a rucksack.

News: New funding for Scottish school libraries

Posted 11 Jan, 2023 by Jennifer Drummond

School libraries across Scotland have been awarded funding from the School Library Improvement Fund (SLIF) for projects focusing on anti-racism, diversity and racial equality.

The Fund, administered by the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) was launched by the Scottish Government in 2017.

Available to all state run Scottish nursery, primary and secondary schools the fund supports creative and innovative projects within the school library sector.

In 2022-23 funding totalling £200,000 is being awarded to 18 initiatives in 10 local authorities.

Pamela Tulloch, Chief Executive of the Scottish Library and Information Council, said:

“School libraries play a valuable role in education and learning and ensuring every young person has the chance to fulfil their full potential. Projects funded through prigrammes like SLIF help to improve and expand the services school libraries can provide, so it’s great to see such strong applications coming in from schools eager to develop these resources.

“We are particularly proud to award support to those advocating for anti-racism and anti-discrimination through this year’s Fund and we can’t wait to see these initiatives come to fruition.”

Commenting on the awards this year, Education Secretary, Shirley-Anne Somerville also praised the focus on anti-racism and the role of school libraries in engaging with young people on the importance of belonging, inclusion and social justice.

Click here for a full list of all the schools and projects awarded funding

New report reveals what really matters to pupils accessing additional support for learning

A new report from Children in Scotland has identified key messages from young people with additional support needs on how best to support their education journey.

The work is part of a larger project, managed by Education Scotland, to contribute to the development of a new professional framework for pupil support staff.

The Pupil Support Staff Engagement Project report, which follows engagement with 150 young people aged 4-19 years old across 27 local authority areas, highlights the importance of support staff and how they help young people feel safe and happy in school.

The young people involved in the participation work, led by Children in Scotland, highlighted their desire for:

  • meaningful relationships and connection with staff
  • support staff to use a nurturing approach, demonstrating kindness, patience, empathy and treating the young people with respect.
  • support staff to have up-to-date training in additional support for learning and have a good understanding of the breadth of issues people may experience
  • a recognition of individual needs and that a one-size fits all approach does not work
  • flexibility to adapt to different situations, including new ways of learning and alternative methods of support
  • consistent support
  • transparency around information sharing and decision-making.

Chris Ross, Children in Scotland's Senior Policy, Projects and Participation Officer,  said: 

Our work on the Pupil Support Staff engagement project has reaffirmed much of what we already know about additional support for learning. Children and young people consistently tell us they want staff to focus on their wellbeing and to get to know them as individuals and that doing so supports them to learn. This continues to be reflected within the findings of this project so far.

“Putting children’s voices at the centre is key to any development relating to service provision for children and young people.

"We look forward to seeing the development of the professional framework and believe the learning from this stage of the project can play a key part in ensuring we are meeting the needs of young people with additional support needs, and embedding a rights-based approach to education in Scotland.”

Following on from Children in Scotland’s engagement work, Education Scotland will now be leading a period of engagement with practitioners across Scotland.

Click here to read the Pupil Support Staff Engagement Project report


Pupil Support Staff: young people's views

Sharing the views and experiences of young people who access additional support for learning

Click here to read

Inclusion Ambassadors

Find out more about the work of the Inclusion Ambassadors

Click here for more

"Some support assistants are sound"

Access these podcast episodes on what makes a good PSA, and why they are vital

Click here to access

Looking for support or advice?

Enquire is the national advice service for additional support for learning

Click here to find out more

My Rights, My Say

The advice and advocacy service making sure children's rights in education are heard

Click here to find out more


Helping young people understand their right to education and support

Click here to find out more

Winners announced for Success Looks Different awards


Scotland’s national Inclusion Ambassadors have crowned three schools across Scotland winners of the first ever Success Looks Different Awards in recognition of how they celebrate their pupils with additional support needs.

The awards, developed by the Inclusion Ambassadors and managed by Children in Scotland, allow schools to share how they support the achievements of their pupils with additional support needs outwith traditional academia.

Specifically, the Inclusion Ambassadors were looking for evidence of celebrating pupils with additional support needs and their individual achievements, sharing success with the wider community as well as doing something creative, innovative and different.

More than 40 schools, representing primary, secondary and specialist provision submitted applications.

Each of the winners, chosen by the Inclusion Ambassadors, demonstrated a particular commitment to celebrating individual pupil journeys, evidence of positive relationships between pupils, staff and peers and a focus on children’s rights.


  • PRIMARY AND EARLY YEARS WINNER: Braehead Primary School, Stirling
  • SECONDARY SCHOOL WINNER: Alva Academy, Clackmannanshire
  • SPECIAL SCHOOL WINNER: Cedarbank School, Livingston

Lucy Johnson, Enquire’s Senior Children’s Rights and Communications Officer, who managed the award, said:

“We received a large number of entries from a range of provision and geographic locations. Across all, a common thread was a commitment to, and creativity in, including and celebrating pupils as individuals.

“Congratulations to all the 2022 winners. We hope this year’s awards will be the first of many.”

Monica Nelson, a Support for Learning teacher who entered the awards on behalf of primary and early years winner Braehead Primary School, said:

“'As a school, we are very proud of all our students and their achievements. We feel it is vital to recognise that success is not just measured by academic performance. We have incredible, dynamic individuals who face lots of different challenges.

“Our team work hard to provide opportunities for all students to showcase their skills and talents and are honoured to be recognised for this with the Success Looks Different Award.”

Scott McEwan, Headteacher at Alva Academy, who took home the top accolade for the secondary school category, said:

“We are delighted to have been recognised for the outstanding work of our fabulous young people and exceptional colleagues. The award reflects our unflinching commitment to make sure every young person can thrive, achieve and fulfil their potential.”

Carol McDonald, Headteacher of Cedarbank School, which was named winner of the special schools category, said:

“We are absolutely delighted to have won. This recognition of our work by Children in Scotland is a real accolade for the Cedarbank community.

“Our young people demonstrate an array of different talents, attributes, skills and abilities every day. Success looks different for each individual and we love celebrating and sharing the success and achievements of all our pupils.“

The Success Looks Different Awards was developed by Children in Scotland and the Inclusion Ambassadors to support the Scottish Government’s commitment to recognise and appreciate success for pupils with additional support needs, and the forms this takes, as outlined in their Additional Support for Learning Action Plan.

Shirley-Anne Somerville, Cabinet Secretary for Education & Skills said:

“I’d like to congratulate the winners and all those who participated in the inaugural Success Looks Different awards. This award recognises the wide-ranging achievements of learners and offers an important platform for schools to share the innovative ways they are supporting children and young people with additional support needs.

“I’d like to thank the Inclusion Ambassadors and all participating schools for their commitment to supporting and celebrating the success of their pupils.”

Each of the winners and runners-up will receive a physical award, to be presented during the current school term.

There is also plans to share the many examples of good practice received from schools, with the intention of helping schools across Scotland reflect, and build upon, the inclusive way in which they involve and celebrate pupils with additional support needs.


Contact (Tues, Wed, Fri): Jennifer Drummond, Communications Officer, Children in Scotland - 

Contact (Mon, Thurs): Chris Small, Communications Manager, Children in Scotland -

Notes for Editors

  • Primary and Early Years winner: Braehead Primary School, Stirling. Runner-up: Whitecrook Primary, West Dunbartonshire
  • Secondary School winner: Alva Academy, Clackmannanshire. Runner-up: Hillpark Secondary School, Glasgow
  • Special school winner: Cedarbank School, Livingston. Runner-up: Harmeny Education Trust, Edinburgh
  • The Inclusion Ambassadors is a national group, established to give young people with additional support needs a voice in decisions about education policy. The current Inclusion Ambassadors group is made up of secondary school-age young people with a wide range of additional support needs, representing 16 different local authority areas across Scotland. The group is managed by Children in Scotland.


Success Looks Different

More about the winners of the inaugural awards

Click here to find out more

Inclusion Ambassadors

Ensuring the views of young people with additional support needs are heard in education

Click here to find out more

Resource bank

A one-page information sheet highlighting the current resources available from the Inclusion Ambassadors

Click here to download

New award for schools celebrating pupils with additional needs


Schools who actively celebrate the successes and achievements of their pupils with additional support needs are to be recognised with a new award launched today.

The Success Looks Different award, developed by Scotland’s national Inclusion Ambassadors group, is asking schools to share how they are supporting the achievements of their pupils with additional support needs out with traditional academia. This could highlight school-wide celebrations of non-academic successes, or how individual pupils are recognised.

The award has been developed to support the Scottish Government’s commitment to recognise and appreciate success for pupils with additional support needs, and the forms this takes, as outlined in their Additional Support for Learning Action Plan (click here to access).

Lucy Johnson, Children’s Rights and Communications Officer with Enquire, who is managing the award said:

“We know for many children and young people, particularly those with additional support needs, exam results do not represent the successes achieved in someone’s educational journey.

“This award provides a platform for schools to share some of the innovative work we know that is going on to support and celebrate the success of their pupils where success and achievement does not necessarily come in the form of test scores.

“We look forward to hearing some of the wonderful work that is going on across the country and announcing our very first Success Looks Different award winner.”

The award is open to all publicly funded schools in Scotland, including primary, secondary, ELCs and special schools.

Schools can self-nominate by completing a short entry form available at

Entries will close on Friday 10 June at 5pm.


Contact: Jennifer Drummond, Communications Officer at Children in Scotland

Shout about success

Find out more about the award and how to apply

Click to visit the award page

Inclusion Ambassadors

More about the work and resources created by the national Inclusion Ambassadors

Click to find out more

A vision for the future

The award is directly linked to the Inclusion Ambassadors' Vision Statement, published in August 2021

Click to download the vision

Success Looks Different Award

In recognition of how schools support and celebrate their pupils with additional support needs.

The Success Looks Different Awards, launched in 2022, is a chance for schools to celebrate how they are helping pupils with additional support needs feel included, supported and celebrated. It aims to encourage schools to look beyond exam result and consider success in more than just attainment levels.

Created by the Inclusion Ambassadors, and managed by Children in Scotland and Enquire, the award supports the Scottish Government’s commitment to recognise and appreciate success for pupils with additional support needs, and the forms this takes, as outlined in their Additional Support for Learning Action Plan.


The Success Looks Different Awards are open to education settings in four categories:

  • Early learning and childcare / Nursery
  • Primary school
  • Secondary school
  • Special school


The award is open to all publicly funded schools, including secondary, primary and special schools. Local authority nurseries and partner nurseries are eligible for the early years category.

Entry to the awards is completely free.


All entries are judged by a panel, based on criteria set by the Inclusion Ambassadors. Once a shortlist has been determined, the Inclusion Ambassadors vote for their winner from the anonymised short list.

Shortlisting is decided using success criteria identified by the Inclusion Ambassadors. These include:

  • evidence of celebrating individual successes and positive relationships
  • evidence of creativity
  • evidence of sharing success with the wider community
  • evidence of respecting and promoting children's rights
  • recognition through awards or certificates

2023 Awards 

**Entry to the 2023 Success Looks Different Awards has now closed.**

Details of the 2023 Winners and Runners-Up can be found here


Click here to return to the main Inclusion Ambassadors page

Success Looks Different 2023

News: The winners have been announced for the Success Looks Different Awards 2023.

Click here to find out more

Every pupil's journey matters

Blog: Lucy Johnson discusses the idea and development of the new awards

Click here to read the blog

Our key principles for inclusive practice

Comment: Winners Alva Academy reflect on their approach for Tes Scotland

Click here to read their comment

More than Just ABC

Comment: Lucy Johnson reflects on the awards and our first ever winners

Click here to read the comment

More than ABC

It’s time to change what we recognise as success, writes Lucy Johnson

Click here to read

Case studies

Sharing examples from across our 2022 entries, covering primary, secondary and special schools settings.

Click here to download

New fund supports 106 young people with additional support needs to access the arts and unlock their creative potential

28 April 2022


A total of 106 young people with additional support needs have taken forward creative arts projects as a result of funding from the Access All Arts Fund, led by national charity Children in Scotland.

The fund, delivered through Creative Scotland’s Nurturing Talent Fund: New Routes programme, distributed £68,000 to young people across Scotland, supporting projects ranging from dance to drama and visual art to television.

As a result of the fund’s success, Creative Scotland will be supporting a second phase of the project from 2022-23.

A report on the first year of the Access All Arts Fund, capturing its aims, approach, impact and recommendations, is published today.

Click here to download the report

The Access All Arts Fund was established specifically to support children and young people with an additional support need or disability, a community who have experienced significant challenges during the pandemic.

A cartoon drawing of ballet shoes, drama mask, a microphone and a pencil and notebook. The Access All Arts Fund logo in the centre.

Children in Scotland recruited four children and young people with a range of additional support needs as panellists to lead the design of the fund, make decisions about funding and support creative initiatives. The panel comprised young people aged 12-25 from West Lothian, Stirling and Glasgow.

With year one of the fund successfully completed, recruitment of young people to take part in the year two panel will begin shortly.

Activity in 2022-23 will have a strong emphasis on wellbeing and a continued focus on young people as project co-designers.

Ryan Cuzen, one of the panel members who took part in the project over the past year, said:

“Having young people with lived experience of a disability or additional support needs involved in the design of funds, training programmes and opportunities is vital. It shows we are being listening to, included and our ideas and voices are being heard.”

David Mackay, Policy & Projects Manager at Children in Scotland and Access All Arts Fund project lead, said:

“It’s been fantastic to work with the young people on our design panel over the past year and to see the incredible response to the fund. The Access All Arts Fund has had a significant impact on many children and young people’s lives – helping them to improve their wellbeing, learn new skills and open up new creative opportunities. We are delighted that Creative Scotland has announced it will be supporting a second round of the fund in 2022.

“We look forward to continuing to support children and young people with additional support needs or a disability to access the arts and realise their full potential.”

Sarah Mcadam, Youth Arts Programme Manager at Creative Scotland said: “The high demand for Access All Arts in 2021 showed us the important role that arts and creativity was able to play in the lives of children and young people who were experiencing significant challenges during the pandemic.

“We’re thrilled that through renewed support, this programme will give more children and young people opportunities to lead on decision-making and access the funding they need to bring their creative ideas to life.”

Recommendations in the report on year one of the project include:

  • Creative Scotland should continue to fund Access all Arts. The fund has been successful in reaching a previously under-represented community and evaluation suggests it has had a positive impact for many young people.
  • Creative Scotland and Children in Scotland should share key learning from the project with policy leads and decision-makers, identifying opportunities to influence other initiatives designed to support children and young people’s learning and wellbeing following the pandemic.
  • In additional rounds of the fund, increased time and financial resource should go to outreach work and building relationships with organisations supporting specific communities (for example, deaf children and children and young people with a visual impairment). This would encourage a wider diversity of applications to join the design panel and an increased range of applications.

The fund was open for applications from 11 August - 13 September 2021 and received 236 submissions from children and young people aged 11 to 26.

A large number of applications included requests to purchase items ranging from drawing and painting materials to musical instruments or photographic equipment.

Funding allowed children and young people to attend music, dance or drama tuition classes, realise zine-making projects, progress their song-writing ability and learn silversmithing skills and clothing design.

Evaluation of the project concludes that the fund:

  • Provided opportunities for children and young people to explore their unique personal interests and passions
  • Gave them autonomy and agency to develop projects and learn new skills while supporting their wellbeing
  • Created opportunities for them to overcome barriers and try new creative experiences and, in some cases, supported career development opportunities.


Images available on request.
Media contact: Chris Small,

Notes for editors

Project background

In 2021 Children in Scotland was one of five organisations selected by Creative Scotland to deliver the Nurturing Talent Fund: New Routes programme.

The programme was created to test new approaches to support children and young people to apply for arts funding, in order to reach artists who were under-represented in the existing Nurturing Talent funding awards.
These communities included:

  • Young artists from care-experienced backgrounds
  • Young artists from rural communities and local authorities we get fewer applications from, specifically: Angus, West Dunbartonshire, Inverclyde, North Ayrshire, and Fife
  • Young disabled artists, or young people who need additional support.

Click here for more information about the Nurturing Talent Fund: New Routes programme

Children in Scotland

Giving all children in Scotland an equal chance to flourish is at the heart of everything we do.

By bringing together a network of people working with and for children, alongside children and young people themselves, we offer a broad, balanced and independent voice. We create solutions, provide support and develop positive change across all areas affecting children in Scotland.

We do this by listening, gathering evidence, and applying and sharing our learning, while always working to uphold children’s rights. Our range of knowledge and expertise means we can provide trusted support on issues as diverse as the people we work with and the varied lives of children and families in Scotland.

Creative Scotland

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland distributing funding provided by the Scottish Government and The National Lottery. Further information at Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Learn more about the value of art and creativity in Scotland and join in at

Access All Arts Fund

Find out more about the first year of the Fund in this final report

Click here to read

Find out more about our projects

Browse and learn about all our current and past projects

Click here to search our projects

Partner: Creative Scotland

The Access All Arts Fund is part of Creative Scotland's Nurturing Talent Fund New Route Programme.

Click here to find out more
A photo of a man doing the BSL signs for computer science with his hands. The text at the bottom reads 'computer science' and the Skills Development Scotland and University of Edinburgh logos are in the top.

News: 500 BSL signs added to create a more inclusive tech sector

Posted 30 March 2022, by Nina Joynson

More than 500 British Sign Language signs have been created for terms related to digital technology to make the sector more inclusive for Deaf young people.

The new British Sign Language (BSL) signs have been created for words used in the industry, covering computer science, cyber security, data science and software development.

The development is the result of a partnership between Skills Development Scotland, Data Education in Schools, the DDI Skills Gateway and the Scottish Sensory Centre which saw deaf tech experts spend eight months with sign linguists developing and testing the new signs.

Before the glossary was launched, Deaf people often had to spell out individual letters for specialised terms. These new signs will help the community to access qualifications and careers, making it easier and more efficient to communicate about digital skills and jobs.

Seventeen-year-old pupil Billy-Jack Gerrard is deaf and wants to pursue AI and computer science at university. He said:

“These signs will make a huge difference in terms of both studying for the right skills for a job in tech, and then also for actually working in the sector itself."

"Once embedded into the fabric of BSL, the consistent use of the terms will make life so much easier, and in turn far more inclusive, for deaf people like me wanting to pursue a digital career.”

One of the team members responsible for the new signs was Ben Fletcher, Principal Engineer with the Financial Times. He said:

“Throughout my whole life I have studied and worked in computing, but tech and BSL have often been a difficult combination.  There’s a huge list of computing terms, very few of which have dedicated and widely recognised signs, and others I just had to make up.  It was very frustrating.

“We now have a standard glossary that will really help Deaf people in schools, colleges, universities and workplaces across the UK.”

While there are already more than 500 signs in the glossary, the list will grow. Kate Farrell, Data Education in Schools, said:

“Like the technology itself, which is constantly changing, the accompanying language also has to be updated. So by its very nature, this BSL glossary will have to do the same. We therefore welcome the continued input from technologists, deaf or otherwise, to ensure that we stay up to date with the terminology around skills and jobs in tech.”

Click here to find the full list of signs on the SSC website

Announcing the appointment of six new directors to our Board

17 March 2022

Children in Scotland is delighted to announce the appointment of six new directors to its Board.

Claire Gillespie, Rachael Hatfield, Jane-Claire Judson, Peter Rigg, Steven Sweeney and Meritxell Bulbena Vela will join as directors next month, bringing with them a wide range of skills and experience.

The new appointments include the recruitment of two new young directors – Rachael Hatfield and Peter Rigg – both active campaigners for child rights and youth participation.

Rachael and Peter’s appointments reflect Children in Scotland’s continuing commitment to ensuring that the voices and experiences of children and young people are represented at all levels of the organisation.

On her appointment to the Board, Rachael said: “'I bring a voice to the table that has a lived and current understanding of some of the challenges children and young people face today, such as living rurally and having caring responsibilities, as these are things close to my heart.”

Among the new appointments are two voluntary sector leaders: Jane-Claire Judson, chief executive of Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland (CHSS) and Steven Sweeney, CEO of Voluntary Action South Lanarkshire, the Third Sector Interface for South Lanarkshire.

Claire Gillespie brings her experience of the challenges that front line services face in her role as Operational Manager for a women’s aid organisation, while Meritxell Bulbena Vela, Finance Manager of the Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Caledonian, brings a strong business acumen to the Board’s broad skillset.

On the appointment of the new trustees, Dr Judith Turbyne, Chief Executive of Children in Scotland, said:

“We are thrilled to be welcoming these six exceptionally talented people to the Board of Children in Scotland and our thanks go to our Convener, our continuing trustees and our children and young people’s advisory group, Changing our World, for helping us select and appoint our new Directors.

“They bring an incredible range of skills and experience and are all committed to and passionate about challenging inequalities and promoting the inclusion and participation of young people.”

The new trustees join Convener Maureen McGinn CBE, Vice Convenors Esther Black and Jo Derrick and continuing Directors Karen Conaghan, Rohan Gunatillake and Satwat Rehman.

Children in Scotland gives its thanks and appreciation to its retiring trustees, who have generously given their time and experience during their terms on the Board.

The Board is responsible for our overall governance and strategic direction and accepts ultimate responsibility for the sound professional, legal and financial management of Children in Scotland as a charity.

Trustees also approve our vision and values, set overall strategy, oversee implementation and monitor our progress to plans.

Click here to find out more about the new Directors and all the members of our Board

Our board

We are very lucky to have a diverse and committed Board of Directors who guide and support the work we do.

Click here to find out more

2021-26 Manifesto

Our 2021-26 Manifesto is backed by organisations from across the children's sector

Click to find out more

Our projects

As part of achieving our vision for children, we undertake a wide range of work.

Find out about our projects

Our membership offer

Be part of the largest national children's sector membership organisation in Scotland

Click here for more

Government ‘must be brave’ in leading education reforms, with focus on rights, early years and meeting all learners’ needs

10 March 2022

Children in Scotland has welcomed the emphasis on children’s rights, the early years and meeting all learners’ needs in Professor Ken Muir’s education reform report, published yesterday.

But the charity also warned that implementation success depends on the Scottish Government being bold and taking forward the recommendations at appropriate speed.

Click here to read Professor Muir’s report

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

“The Scottish Government could make a significant difference to the education of young people in Scotland if they lead on these recommendations with confidence and bravery.

“We welcome many of the guiding principles and proposals set out in Professor Muir’s report, including:

  • The focus on a child rights approach, with Article 29 of the UNCRC explicitly referred to
  • Increased recognition of the role and value of the early years
  • A review of the roles and purposes of assessment, so that it is not leading learning
  • Learners’ voices, experiences, perspectives and rights being central to decision-making
  • Trusting relationships between children, young people and teachers
  • Greater resourcing and attention placed on ensuring that the needs of individual leaners are met, as set out in Angela Morgan’s review of additional support for learning.

“Some of these core principles closely align with our own project work and evidence.

"The emphasis on trusting relationships, for example, links to our diversity in teaching project with the GTCS and Intercultural Youth Scotland, while focus on individual learners echoes calls made by the Inclusion Ambassadors network.

Click here to find out more about our diversity in teaching project

Click here to find out more about the Inclusion Ambassadors

“We are also encouraged by the Scottish Government’s responses to some of the key report recommendations, including:

  • Their commitment to ensuring that all children, young people and learners are placed at the heart of discussions about the renewed vision (recommendations 1 and 2) and that children’s rights as described by the UNCRC are embedded throughout our education system
  • Their promise that assessments, including examinations, should follow from the purposes of the curriculum, and not be seen to lead them (in response to recommendations 3, 4, 5 on the new qualifications authority with a revised governance structure to include more representation from and accountability to all learners)
  • Their acceptance of the absolute centrality of co-designing education policy, responding to recommendations 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 covering the setting up of a new national agency with a participative approach to governance in all of its work
  • Their pledge to introduce specific proposals to consult with the Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) sector before the summer, in response to recommendations 13, 14, 15, and 16 calling for the new independent Inspectorate to re-engage with the Care Inspectorate to agree a shared inspection framework designed to reduce the burden on ELC
  • Their commitment to act on points 17, 18 and 19, which urge the Scottish Government and other national bodies to collaborate more effectively to ensure that policies align well with each other and with any revised vision for Scottish education, leading, we hope, to better joined-up work across directorates.

“These are welcome public promises and strong foundations for progress but to make a difference for children and young people the Scottish Government must:

  • Be brave and confident, using these principles as an opportunity to lead genuine change to our education system
  • Take forward the recommendations with appropriate speed and depth, ensuring that change is experienced by learners and is not cosmetic
  • Follow the call in our 2021-26 Manifesto that wellbeing should be the central focus of Scottish education and at the heart of changes in vision, values and systems
  • Deliver on calls made by the Inclusion Ambassadors in Angela Morgan’s review of additional support for learning about making meeting all learners' needs a real priority
  • Deliver on the promise of embedding a child rights approach at all levels – in the classroom, in governance, across the wider life of school, and at local authority and national levels.”

Click here to find out more about our 2021-26 Manifesto

Putting Learners at the Centre

Replacement of the SQA and reform of Education Scotland is addressed in Professor Muir's report, published 9/3/22

Click here to read more

2021-26 Manifesto

Find out more about Enquire, the Scottish advice service for additional support for learning

Click here for more

Inclusion Ambassadors

We support a network of young people with additional support for learning needs, ensuring that their views are shared

Click here for more

Diversity in teaching

A current project, in partnership with GTCS and Intercultural Youth Scotland

Click here for more

News, March 2022: Failure to launch

The SQA's exams guidance has been widely criticised

Click here to read