GTC Scotland responds to Scottish Government’s Education Bill consultation
Within the context of education reform, the Scottish Government published a consultation in November on elements of a new Education Bill. The consultation sought views on:
- proposals to replace the SQA.
- approaches to maximise the role inspection plays in providing assurance and supporting teachers and other practitioners to improve education in Scotland, including through legislation.
Our response builds on a number of themes that we have put forward in previous consultation exercises that have formed part of the education reform programme, including:
- Teachers must be involved in the reform agenda but they need to be afforded the time and space to participate in a meaningful way.
- In considering the roles and responsibilities of the proposed new bodies, sufficient thought must be given to how they interact with existing ones, whether and to what extent oversight is needed, and what information should flow between organisations.
Linked to the first point above, we also raised concerns about the management of the consultation process, in particular, the six-week timescale for response, which we felt was too short for such a significant element of the Education Reform agenda.
We also pointed out that the consultation does not take into account the recommendations of other key reports such as the Hayward Review, which published its final report in June this year and makes recommendations about reform to qualifications and assessment.
On the proposals themselves, a strong recurring theme in our response is the need to have formalised governance structures with a clear outline of the roles and responsibilities of those operating within them, including the teachers and young people whose views are to influence the way the organisations are run. We also ask whether the proposed role of the independent inspectorate goes beyond reporting where an education authority or school does not fulfil its statutory functions and suggest that if it were to have both an inspection and regulatory function (like the Care Inspectorate), this would potentially address some of the concerns we have raised about the lack of system regulation.