Informed Scotland May 2017 – Examining, exploring, reviewing & reporting


The general election might have restricted government business, but it didn’t stop the publication of a raft of learning & skills reports. The May digest is stuffed full of those worth reading and sharing on a range of topics.

In particular look out for:

On top of all that, the Scottish Parliament’s Education & Skills Committee has been busy examining or reporting on teacher workforce planning, additional support for learning, and personal & social education.

Unbelievably it’s five years since the first issue of Informed Scotland was published in May 2012! Then we were writing about 23.1% youth unemployment (now 9.4%), the end of Standard Grades, and college mergers. An anniversary is a great excuse to thank all our subscribers, both new and those who’ve been with us since the beginning. Archive copies are available should subscribers fancy a reality check on how much, or how little, has changed over the past five years!

Want to keep on top of all the developments? Become an Informed Scotland subscriber. Email to request a sample copy.

Informed Scotland General Election Extra


Ahead of each major election we provide Informed Scotland subscribers with a quick scan of manifestos and resources focusing on or highlighting learning and skills issues.

The UK General Election 2017 Extra includes links to resources, such as Education Scotland’s You decide website, Young Scot’s Everything You Need to Know About the 2017 General Election, and Enable Scotland’s guides on voting for people with a learning disability.

Links to manifestos include those from Universities Scotland, YMCA Scotland, Learning & Work Institute and YouthLink Scotland.

Not a subscriber? Contact for a free copy.

Become an Informed Scotland subscriber to keep on top of all the developments. Email to request a sample copy.

New Research & Policy Digest for the Northern Ireland Executive

AJ Enterprises and emh connect have been awarded a joint three-year contract to produce a new quarterly Research & Policy Digest for Northern Ireland’s Department for the Economy, following a competitive tendering process.

The aim of the new Digest is to provide policy makers and stakeholders in Northern Ireland with quick and easy access to relevant local, national and international studies and strategies.

The two consultancies launched their own learning and skills digests in 2012, following four years producing similar briefings for members of a UK-wide business-education-government forum. Informed Scotland, published by AJ Enterprises and UK Digest, published by emh connect provide subscribers with monthly intelligence on research, policy and practice across government, education, business and the wider community. They encourage and enable connections to be made across the learning and skills landscape. Subscribers include national bodies, businesses, local authorities, colleges and other organisations working in the field.

Angela Gardner of AJ Enterprises and Elaine Hendry of emh connect are delighted to collaborate on creating the new digest for the Department. ‘Winning the tender recognises our track record of keeping busy people up to date and well briefed on the issues that matter. We’re looking forward to working with the Northern Ireland team to provide a useful resource for them and their stakeholders.’

This is a good example of the tailored services we both offer to our clients. For information about similar services, including face-to-face and written policy briefings, contact

Informed Scotland April 2017 – Gender, equity, anxiety & achievement


There was plenty to capture the attention in learning & skills this month, even with the Easter holidays and elections creating a few ‘distractions’.

Gender and equity was once again a hot topic right across the landscape.

Research reports initiated by the David Hume Institute on why boys do less well in education than girls, and British Council on Gender equality and empowerment of women & girls were presented and debated at events at the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Scottish Parliament respectively.

And a fascinating Equality Challenge Unit report was published on the different experiences of female and male STEMM academics (STEMM being science, technology, engineering, maths + medicine).

Numerous interesting reports and studies provoked much thought and discussion.

There was a Scottish Government Research Strategy for Scottish Educationdescribed by some as ‘about time’. Two reports from IPPR – The inbetweeners on graduate internships and Autonomy in the right place on school governance reform. The first OECD study of students’ wellbeing, with insights into the relationship between school-related anxiety and achievement. Plus a Skills Commission report on Lifelong learning for an ageing workforce, and a review of the impact of the Scottish Credit & Qualifications Framework.

We always enjoy spotting enterprising or creative learning & skills activities.

This month we noticed the Scottish Association of Teachers of PE launched a Higher Physical Education Revision WIKI, created by PE teachers across the country. Fife College distributed 8,000 study packs to students at local secondary schools to support their exam preparation. And a ‘Higher Grounds Coffee Bar’ opened at Auchenharvie Academy, North Ayrshire, supported by Ayrshire College, The Prince’s Trust Scotland and DYW Ayrshire, with pupils able to develop their customer service skills while working towards a City & Guilds Barista Skills certificate!

This is the tip of the information iceberg: become an Informed Scotland subscriber so you can keep on top of all the developments. Email to request a sample copy.

Check out our new Leadership Special commissioned by SCEL, and the latest guest blog post, Celebrating achievement in adult learning by Jackie Borge.

Leadership through collaborative learning – Informed Scotland Special


We’re delighted to publish an Informed Scotland Leadership Special. It was commissioned by the Scottish College for Educational Leadership (SCEL) and launched at their major conference in Perth on 3 May 2017.

Gillian Hamilton, Chief Executive of SCEL said, ‘Building leadership capacity at all levels through collaborative learning is crucial and must be a priority in education and beyond’.

The SCEL conference, facilitated by Lyn Sharratt, Beate Planche and Maggie Ogram from Collaborative Networks for Learning, set out to ‘deepen understanding of the power of collaboration as a leadership and learning approach’ – at all levels, from the classroom teacher to the education system leader.

It’s clear from our research for Informed Scotland, that improving leadership is a key focus for many organisations right across the learning and skills landscape – including in business, further and higher education, community and adult learning, third sector and government, as well as schools.

In commissioning the Special, SCEL wanted us to capture the breadth of what’s happening and make connections with their own growing portfolio of programmes, resources and support for teachers and leaders at all levels. Practising what they preach, they’re keen to learn from others!

Like all Informed Scotland publications, the Leadership Special aims to encourage everyone to look beyond the usual places for inspiration.

Download: Informed Scotland Special 10: Leadership

See #SCEL2017 for tweets about the conference.
Previous Informed Scotland Specials can be downloaded