Informed Scotland COVID-19 Extra

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on learning & skills has been swift and significant. Like the rest of normal life, it has affected all sectors, all learners, practitioners and their support networks, and all institutions, organisations and systems.

An Informed Scotland COVID-19 Response & Support Extra aims to provide a useful snapshot of what’s been happening and the support that’s available. It pulls together links to:

  • government and national body announcements
  • new guidance and resources
  • information and services from a range of organisations.

As always it looks at learning & skills right across the landscape – in business, schools, further and higher education, community and adult learning, and wider society. The majority of the items appeared in more detail in our March and April main digests, however the aim is to provide subscribers with a helpful compilation, with quick links to more detail when they need it.

Not a subscriber? The Extra is available free of charge. Contact [email protected] for your free copy.

Informed Scotland April 2020 – Learning & skills in lockdown

While March was a month of two worlds, before and during lockdown, April was all about learning & skills in lockdown and a recognition of the emerging new normal.

The focus has shifted from closing down and moving as swiftly as possible to online and remote learning, to developing and sharing, discovering new ways to connect and learn, and checking how everyone, including learners and practitioners, is coping. There’s also a growing emphasis across the landscape on finances and funding, with concerns expressed, and answers and sources sought.

The Scottish Government has set up three major new groups: the COVID-19 Education Recovery Group for schools and early learning; the Further & Higher Education COVID-19 Leadership Group; and the Community Learning & Development Stakeholder Reference Group. We’ve provided subscribers with a list of members in each group, for ease of reference.

Although the usual pile of research reports and evaluations was a little smaller, there is still a number worth highlighting:

I have also been compiling a COVID-19 Response & Support Extra – more on that later.

Thanks to one of our subscribers for this heart-warming feedback: ‘It is at times like these when organisations look to cut back however I have been most grateful for the Informed Scotland contribution that it brings and your continued support of our work online and therefore happy to continue to subscribe…

Become an Informed Scotland subscriber so you can keep on top of all the developments. Email [email protected] to request a sample copy.

Informed Scotland March 2020 – COVID-19 & digital inclusion


March was a month of two worlds for learning & skills: before and during lockdown.

The impact of COVID-19 could have been the only Hot Topic listed on this month’s cover, however the rapid shift to online and remote learning and teaching, and the surge in the need for basic digital skills for everyone have also been paramount.

Digital skills has been the hottest topic around for many years, but tackling the challenges of digital inclusion has reached a new level of importance and urgency.

Compiling this edition presented its own challenges. How to provide subscribers with information in the most helpful format? How to keep them up to date with such fast-moving decisions? We opted to include a ‘COVID-19 response & support’ section for each sector of learning & skills and key items published or announced in April. Feedback will determine how helpful this has proved.

March wasn’t all about COVID-19 however. There were plenty of other interesting reports and developments.

There were scenarios on future schooling from Scotland’s Futures Forum and the Goodison Group in Scotland, and on the future of work from the RSA and Skills Development Scotland. Education Scotland published an inspection report on assessment in the broad general education, the Scottish Government published a report on the implementation of the 1+2 languages policy in schools, and launched a new £500k Family Learning Scotland programme, to be led by Peeple.

Finally, I’d like to pay personal tribute to the hard work, ingenuity, generosity of spirit and collaboration of individuals and organisations right across the landscape at this time of crisis, in addition to all those who are risking their own health and lives to support others – it is both awe-inspiring and heart-warming.

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

Informed Scotland February 2020 – Strategies, guidance, reviews & inquiries


For a short(ish) month there was plenty happening, with numerous reports, strategies and announcements across the landscape.

Major reports worth exploring in detail include:

Our favourite new word of the month was ‘microcredentials’ – although perhaps the term is familiar to others? Check out the new microcredentials courses on the FutureLearn website, including one for teachers on mental health in the curriculum.

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

Informed Scotland Dec19/Jan20 – Comparing, consulting, careers & concerns


School education has been a political hot potato in the last two months, with aspects of attainment and international comparisons in particular creating headlines and much debate.

Meanwhile Brexit is back as one of our hot topics, with concerns for skills shortages ramping up, and various organisations looking to reassure or seeking reassurances.

As well as the usual numerous statistical reports and annual reviews, other items to look out for include:

This is the tip of the information iceberg: become an Informed Scotland subscriber so you can keep on top of all the developments. Email [email protected] to request a copy of the latest issue.