Paper outlining changes to education governance launched in Scotland

Date: 28th June 2017

Deputy First Minister John Swinney has launched a paper which sets out proposed changes to education which Scottish Government hope will result in raising attainment and closing the equity gap.

The paper, entitled 'Education Governance: Next Steps - Empowering Our Teachers, Parents and Communities to Deliver Excellence and Equity for Our Children' was launched by Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills John Swinney in a statement to Scottish Parliament which announced reforms to put schools in charge of key education decisions including:

  • Responsibility for raising attainment and closing the poverty-related gap in their school
  • Choosing school staff and management structure
  • Deciding curriculum content, within a broad national framework
  • Directly controlling more school funding, with a consultation on fair funding launched today


Schools' lead role in the reformed system will be backed by three pillars of support:

  • Enhanced career and development opportunities for teachers, including continuing reform to Initial Teacher Education
  • New Regional Improvement Collaboratives to provide streamlined and strengthened support to teachers, including access to teams of attainment experts drawn from local authorities and Education Scotland
  • Educational support service from local councils, including payroll and HR, and democratic accountability for the number of schools in an area and the selection of headteachers

The new system plans to put children and young people at the heart of the education system. The new powers will be guaranteed in a statutory charter for headteachers, and young people and parents will also have a stronger voice in schools. In addition, every school will have access to a 'home to school' link worker to support parents and families.

Mr Swinney said of the plans "Improving the education and life chances of our children and young people is the defining mission of this government. While there are many strengths in Scottish education, recent PISA and literacy scores underline that we can, and we must, achieve more.

"These proposals are driven by a relentless focus on delivering improvement in Scottish education to ensure our young people have the opportunity to succeed"

This announcement of dramatic changes to Scotland's education system comes after an international study from PISA found that Scotland's overall performance in science and reading has declined since 2012 and is unchanged in maths.

A consultation was undertaken on the Education Governance Review which garnered 1,154 responses and these responses were used to inform the 'Next Steps' paper.