Informed Scotland Dec 18/Jan 19 – Where Brexit’s not the only story


Brexit made its way onto the cover of Informed Scotland for only the second time. There is much evidence of its increasing influence on the economy, business, employment and skills, with words and phrases like ‘gloomy’, ‘uncertainty and confusion’ and ‘threat’ littering forecasts.

The further and higher education sector is raising alarms and preparing for Brexit’s potential impact. The Scottish Funding Council published EU Exit and Scottish colleges and universities and added an EU Exit section to its website, while university bodies including Universities UK and the Russell Group, which is Chaired by the Principal & Vice-Chancellor of University of Glasgow, wrote a strongly worded open letter to MPs.

But there was plenty more learning & skills activity to fill this bumper double issue!

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

The sixth annual Informed Scotland Learning & Skills Hottest Topics list, plus a round-up of last year’s activity, is in an Annex to the digest. There’s also a link to an interview for Radio EDUtalk in January, when Angela Gardner and David Noble explored the stories behind the list, and looked at what’s on the horizon for 2019 (highlights here).

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

Learning & Skills in Scotland – What’s on the horizon for 2019?

In an interview for Radio EDUtalk, Angela took David Noble’s listeners on the third annual whistle-stop tour of some of the items that will be shaping Scotland’s learning & skills landscape this year.

You can listen to a podcast of the show, which also reviewed the Hottest Topics in 2018. Below are links to some of the programmes, projects and events mentioned for 2019:

National programmes & reviews

Resources, opportunities & courses

  • SQA is continuing to publish documents on the changes to Advanced Higher assessments
  • Two universities are offering teacher education courses for the first time from September – Edinburgh Napier and Queen Margaret University
  • Applications for Erasmus+ funding are open to Scottish schools and organisations until 5 February (for mobility funding) and 21 March (for strategic partnership funding)
  • British Council has CPD workshops available in Norway, Albania and France for teachers in Scotland and the wider UK  
  • Children’s University Scotland is keen to hear from schools interested in working with them on new ways to support children’s wider participation in learning outside of school and during holiday periods
  • The General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) is continuing its national rollout of MyProfessionalLearning
  • SCQF Partnership has projects to recognise and map the skills of migrants and veterans

Future Learning & Skills

Themed weeks & major conferences: full list on the Events Calendar

Keep yourself or your organisation better informed about what’s happening in learning & skills in Scotland. Find out how to subscribe here or contact to receive a recent copy of the digest.

Informed Scotland Learning & Skills Hottest Topics 2018

We’re delighted to present the sixth annual list of Learning & Skills ‘Hot Topics’ that made it onto the cover of Informed Scotland over the past year.

For the first time since we began compiling the list in 2013, two topics share top spot:

=1. Diversity, equality, equity & inclusion (new)

=1. Teacher education, development, shortages & recruitment (=2 in 2017)

=3. Digital skills (1)

=3. Future skills, learning & work (4)

=3. Gender balance & equity (=5)

=3. International collaboration & comparisons (=5)

=3. Science, technology, engineering & maths (STEM) (=5)

=3. Widening access (=2)

=9. Skills shortages & gaps (=5)

=9. Students, leavers & graduates – statistics (=5)

As predicted, ‘Teacher education, development, shortages & recruitment’ continued to make the mainstream headlines in 2018, pushing it up one place from last year. In contrast, ‘Diversity, equality, equity & inclusion’ is on the list for the first time, with themes such as poverty, social mobility, disadvantage, disability, care experience and ethnicity grabbing the attention across the landscape.

Although ‘Digital skills’ slipped down the list after two years as the hottest topic, it remains the only issue to have been in the top three every year since 2013.

Three other topics have made every annual list: ‘Widening access’,
‘STEM’, and ‘Skills gaps & shortages’, and they will most likely be hot issues in 2019.

Surprisingly, ‘Apprenticeships’ dropped out of the list for the first time, having only appeared on the cover for March, coinciding with Scottish Apprenticeship Week.

A year ago we wrongly predicted that the Year of Young People would be on the list… It only just missed out, however, and its influence has permeated learning & skills and wider activity throughout 2018. (We’ll have to wait for 2020 for the next Themed Year, which will be Scotland’s Coast & Waters.)

Finally it’s worth highlighting two topics that made Informed Scotland covers for the first time: ‘Adverse Childhood Experiences’ (ACEs) and ‘Brexit – recruitment & skills challenges’. We expect to see them both back as hot topics in 2019 and they might even sneak onto next year’s list.

What were your 2018 highlights? What are your predictions for 2019?

Angela will be discussing the stories behind the list in an interview for Radio EDUtalk on 22 January, in a review of 2018 and a look ahead to 2019. Tweet us @InformedScot and we’ll share your thoughts.

Make it your New Year’s resolution to be better informed about what’s happening across learning & skills in business, schools, further & higher education, community & adult learning, and government & wider society. Contact to receive a recent sample copy and find out how to subscribe here.

Happy Christmas & heaps of thanks!

It’s time to say a big thank you to our wonderful clients, associates and coworkers after another busy year for AJ Enterprises!

We’ve been hard at work keeping Informed Scotland subscribers up to date with the changes and challenges in learning & skills throughout 2018.

As well as the monthly digests, we’ve provided Annexes with detailed actions from three key Scottish Government reports, and published the sixth annual Organisations & People Special.

Many thanks to our subscribers for the great feedback and for spreading the word about what we do! Also thanks to Geoff Leask of Young Enterprise Scotland and Sarah Philp of Osiris Educational for their enlightening guest blog posts, and special thanks to Janey Boyd at Mamook Graphics for designing new covers for Informed’s sixth anniversary!

We continued to promote hundreds of events via the Learning & Skills Calendar, and managed to attend a few ourselves.

We shared copies of Informed with delegates at Newbattle Abbey College’s national adult learning conference in April, and the West Lothian Inclusion & Wellbeing Service Partnership Planning Event in May. Thanks too to General Teaching Council for Scotland for displaying the Informed flier on their stand at the Scottish Learning Festival, and to the Graduate Engineer Show in Derby for featuring our advert in this year’s show programme. And thanks to David Noble for the invite back onto Radio EDUtalk to review the hottest learning & skills topics of 2017, and to look ahead to 2018. 

We’ve also shared information widely via social media@InformedScot now has over 3,700 followers on Twitter, up 400 from this time last year, and over 400 followers on Instagram, up 170 – thanks to all our engaged followers!

It was a pleasure to continue working closely with London-based associate, Elaine Hendry of emh connect, particularly on the quarterly Skills Research Digest that we produce jointly for Northern Ireland’s Department for the Economy. 

Turning to other business, we’ve provided communications, copy-writing, editing and proofreading, research and horizon scanning services to old and new clients, with regulars including the global company Macmillan Education, Winmat Publishers in Ghana and Beyond Green here in Edinburgh. 

Personal thanks are owed to associates it has been a pleasure to work with this year, including Kirstin who helped look after our Newbattle conference stand, and to Hannah at the start and Sarah at the end of 2018 for helping to keep the Events Calendar updated. Thanks also to supportive fellow local members of the Society for Editors & Proofreaders, particularly Lesley Ellen and Cathy Tingle – due to their persistent encouragement, I achieved Advanced Professional Member status in March!

Finally, I’ve enjoyed another year of coworking alongside a bunch of creative, talented people in Evergreen Studio in Edinburgh’s Old Town – thanks for the camaraderie, support, technical advice – and the regular sweet treats!

The annual Informed Scotland Hottest Topics in Scottish Learning & Skills will be shared here in January.

Email for more information about any of the above, to subscribe to Informed Scotland, or to discuss how we could support your work in 2019.

Informed Scotland November 2018 – Diversity for excellence


Diversity and inclusion were common themes across the learning & skills landscape in November.

From increasing ethnic and gender diversity among teachers, construction workers, engineers, interns and university boards, to teaching LGBTI equality and inclusion in schools, and recognising the skills of refugees and asylum seekers.

Check out Advance HE’s Diversity Principles and Board Recruitment Frameworks, Adopt an Intern’s Diversity Works, Construction Scotland’s new strategy, the National Centre for Universities & Business report on Engineering Skills and Education, Scottish Government’s Teaching in a diverse Scotland report and the LGBTI Inclusive Education Working Group’s endorsed recommendations, plus Open University in Scotland’s report on its Refugees’ Educational Resources project.

Other items worth highlighting this month include:

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