Informed Scotland July/August 2020 – Rethinking education

Our latest edition covers a summer like no other. With so many important developments happening, it was hard to select which to highlight…

One of the hottest topics was the SQA National Qualifications results. A summary of the sequence of events, plus details of an independent review and plans for next year feature in the digest.

A report from the Children & Young People’s Commissioner Scotland is critical of the lack of direct input from young people into decisions on exams. It states that during the pandemic, ‘Most strikingly… children have been largely absent from the decisions that have so profoundly impacted their lives’.

A group of individuals set up Exam.Scot to explore the future of exams. And with ‘algorithm’ one of the words of the summer, reports on degree algorithm design and practice by Universities UK, GuildHE and QAA are worth exploring.

Meanwhile there has been a minor explosion of organisations and individuals who are considering the future of education, particularly, but not exclusively, sparked by the current crisis. These include:
The Herald’s The Future of Education, the first Creative Bravery Festival of learning, Scottish Institute for Enterprise’s Future of Learning Innovation Challenge, and Jisc’s Learning & teaching reimagined and Shaping the digital future of FE and skills projects.

We’ll be keeping a regular watch on these and other developments, such as the Scotland 2030: Future Schooling, Education and Learning project which is nearing its latter stages.

Beyond COVID-19, reports worth delving into include:

Finally, some parts of the learning & skills landscape are going through a particularly tough time, including outdoor education. Check out the Scottish Advisory Panel for Outdoor Education’s (SAPOE’s) open letter to government and the #SaveYourOutdoorCentres campaign.

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

Who’s where in Scottish learning & skills?

Click the cover for the contents list

The eighth Informed Scotland Organisations & People Special has just been published to coincide with the start of the 2020–21 academic session.

Our annual snapshot of a busy, changing landscape helps subscribers to quickly locate the key organisations and make sense of where they fit into the bigger picture. This year there are links to almost 400 organisations, over twice as many as in the first edition in 2013.

Informed Scotland subscribers find it a useful directory of the main bodies and institutions operating across business, education, community & adult learning, government and wider society, including:

  • Sector-specific skills bodies
  • Local authority education departments
  • Regional Improvement Collaboratives
  • Colleges and universities
  • Teacher education institutions
  • Developing the Young Workforce regional groups
  • Knowledge exchange, research & innovation centres
  • National resources, libraries and science centres

We highlight the many changes since last year, including new organisations, rebrands, mergers and closures, and new appointments, promotions, movements and retirements.

All new subscribers receive a copy: join the growing list of Informed Scotland subscribers and stay well informed. Email [email protected] to request a sample copy of the digest.

Informed Scotland June 2020 – Planning for recovery

Once again there were numerous surveys and reports examining the impact of COVID-19 on learning and skills, including on headteachers and deputes by the EIS, on higher education students by HEPI, and on CLD practitioners by CLD Standards Council Scotland.

That said, word of the month was ‘recovery’, as the emphasis began to shift from examining the immediate impact of the pandemic to determining the best way to cautiously rebuild and reopen the economy and society, including early learning centres, schools, colleges and universities. Reports to highlight include those by:

Aside from COVID-19, the Additional Support for Learning Review published its report and the Commissioner for Fair Access published his third annual review. Then there was the usual batch of statistical reports and surveys, including on school leavers by the Scottish Government, Modern and Foundation Apprenticeships by Skills Development Scotland, students by Advance HE and HEPI, and graduates by the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

NOTE: Better late than never… Our subscribers received the June 2020 issue a week ago (14 July). The digest was published later than usual so that we could include as many important announcements and publications from early July as possible, particularly as the July/August edition isn’t due out until early September.

Become an Informed Scotland subscriber so you can keep on top of all the developments. Email [email protected] to request a sample copy. Subscribe before September and receive the annual Organisations & People Special out later this summer.

Informed Scotland May 2020 – The impact of COVID-19 on learning & skills

While April was all about learning & skills in lockdown, in May the focus shifted to examining the impact of COVID-19 and to considering how to cautiously move towards normality.

The Scottish Government’s route map through and out of the crisis published on 21 May is the touchstone for all plans, and schools, colleges, universities and training providers are all working hard on creating workable solutions.

The impact of the virus is all pervasive, including across learning & skills. Every day, it seems, its affect on yet another group or issue is being uncovered. To understand this better, numerous surveys are being conducted and a raft of these were published last month, including those of:

This issue marks Informed Scotland’s eighth birthday. When the first issue was published in 2012, Scotland’s youth unemployment was 23.1%. Having been as low as 6.1% in 2019, it is currently at 12.0% with signs that the current crisis will push that figure up way higher. A report on Securing a place for young people in the nation’s economic recovery by the Institute for Employment Studies and partners, plus some of the surveys above, examine the concerns, the impact and the ‘rapid response’ required to avoid disaster.

It’s not all about the virus however – as we all open our eyes to racism, look out for a timely report from Equate Scotland on Women in STEM: An intersectional analysis of multiple discriminations, highlighting the experiences of those working in science, technology, engineering and maths in Scotland.

Our COVID-19 response & support extra is available on request free of charge. If you would like to receive an updated version, or a sample copy of the digest, email [email protected]

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.