Informed Scotland May 2016 – Plans, priorities, gaps… & seaweed!



The best word to describe the latest issue of Informed Scotland is ‘intense’. Almost every page features an important or significant report or announcement. The increased intensity of focus on learning and skills last month was palpable, mainly – but not entirely – due to the new Scottish Government placing education at the heart of its plans.

So many reports are worth highlighting – here’s just a few to whet your appetite:

A cluster of reports focus on reducing workload associated with school assessment and National Qualifications, including the first recommendations from the Scottish Government’s Working Group, updated guidance on progression from Education Scotland, and detailed evaluations and actions from the SQA.

Then there’s the latest Scottish survey of numeracy in schools; a review of widening access to higher education in Scotland from the Sutton Trust; a report on developing teacher leadership from SCEL, a UK inquiry into financial education in schools, and a Citizens Advice Scotland study of Bridging the Digital Divide.

A UK white paper on higher education has numerous implications for Scotland, and there are two reports on university–business engagement from NCUB, including The Step Change, their Growing Value Scotland Task Force final report.

And take a close look at a HEPI report on underachievement of young men in higher education – in its foreword, UCAS Chief Executive Mary Curnock Cook states, ‘On current trends, the gap between rich and poor will be eclipsed by the gap between males and females within a decade’. An important warning not to take our eye off that particular ball.

On a lighter note, we think we’ve found the number one contender for oddest new course title of the year from SAMS UHI: ‘My Seaweed Looks Weird’… unless you know better?

This edition marks four years since the first issue of Informed Scotland in May 2012 – when youth unemployment was 23.1%, we had Standard Grades and 37 colleges, and digital wasn’t a hot topic…

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