Scottish Government reveals education priorities

Scottish schools could be given devolved powers to decide where to channel their funding in new plans announced by the Scottish government.

The Education Delivery Plan, unveiled by Deputy First Minister John Swinney, also includes proposals to simplify the Curriculum for Excellence by next January.

Mr Swinney said the plan would deliver a “world class education system” in Scotland and that it would “substantially close” the attainment gap over the next five years, aiming to reduce teachers’ workload.

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He added said the Scottish Government would be “relentless” in ensuring every child had the same opportunities and an equal chance to succeed.

Mr Swinney said: “We must ensure our curriculum, applauded by the OECD, can be delivered so that our teachers are free to teach and our children have the opportunity to learn.

“We will give teachers confidence about what the Curriculum for Excellence expects of them. We will de-clutter the curriculum and strip away anything that creates unnecessary workload for teachers and learners, and we will take forward a new programme of reducing workload in schools.

“I will directly oversee this activity supported by a panel of teachers whose voice and experience will inform what is taken forward.”

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The plan will also seek to devolve funding and decision-making to schools and communities, as well as support the development of new educational regions.

Scotland’s biggest teaching union, the EIS, said it welcomed any measures that would “cut bureaucracy and reduce excessive workload” but it also cautioned about any changes that led to greater centralisation.

Larry Flanagan, union secretary said: If these proposals are about enhancing support for schools, and ensuring that teachers have a fair say in the allocation of resources for learning and teaching, then this will be welcome. If there is any suggestion of centralising control of schools and reducing the role of democratically elected local authorities in running education, that would be an issue of huge concern.”