Informed Scotland April 2021 – The disproportionate impact of COVID-19

Issue 90 includes key guidance up to and including 6 May.

With political lockdown in place for the Scottish Parliament elections, April was the quietest month for learning & skills in a while. That said, there was no shortage of developments and reports to cover.

A number of reports provide evidence of the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on the learning and employment experiences of young people, and on those Skills Development Scotland (SDS) refers to as ‘equality groups’ – women, and minority ethnic, disabled and disadvantaged people. The reports include:

  • SDS’s Equality Evidence Review, on schools, FE, HE and the labour market
  • The Darkest Hour? by the Centre for Research on Learning & Life Chances, UCL Institute of Education, on the learning experiences, wellbeing and expectations of 16 to 25 year-olds during lockdown
  • Uneven steps by the Resolution Foundation, on changes in youth unemployment and study.

Away from Covid-19, these reports on HE admissions, school policies and artificial intelligence are well worth a read:

Many thanks to those who sent positive comments about our Election Extra last month – click here to download your free copy.

Become an Informed Scotland subscriber to keep on top of all the developments. Email [email protected] to request the latest edition.

Informed Scotland Scottish Parliament Election Extra 2021

Image is © Andrew Mackie

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

The Scottish Parliament Election Extra 2021 has links to:

  • Manifestos, including from Children in Scotland, the EIS, ADES, University & College Union Scotland, Universities Scotland, the OU in Scotland, CIPD Scotland, YouthLink Scotland the CBI, FSB and the Commission on School Reform
  • Resources, such as Education Scotland’s ‘You decide’ on political literacy, Young Scot’s ‘Everything You Need to Know About the Scottish Parliament Election’, and the Electoral Commission’s Education handbook for teachers of 14–18 year-olds
  • Campaigns such as CILIP’s #LibrariesAreEssential and Enable Scotland’s #ENABLEThevote for people with a learning disability
  • Summaries of pledges from the main parties published by organisations including BBC Scotland, Tes Scotland and Wonkhe.

Not a subscriber? Click here to download your free copy.

Become an Informed Scotland subscriber to keep on top of all the developments. Email [email protected] to request the latest edition.

Informed Scotland March 2021 – Attainment gap, skills gaps & diversity

Issue 89 includes key announcements and guidance up to and including 8 April.

March was another busy month, with the added pile of strategies and manifestos published ahead of the Scottish Parliament election. Four key themes dominated:

The poverty-related attainment gap, with A report on progress 2016–2021 from the Scottish Government, and a separate progress report from Audit Scotland.

Race and diversity featured across the landscape. Two reports were published by the Scottish Government on the teaching profession – a progress report on diversity and the first of a new annual data report on the same topic; and the Scottish Funding Council launched new resources on tackling racism on campus.

Digital and cyber security skills, including a refreshed digital strategy and new AI strategy for Scotland; a UK Government report on Cyber security skills in the UK labour market; plus a Learning & Work report on the digital skills gap.

A range of thought-provoking and challenging reports on learning, teaching and assessment policy for Scottish schools:

Also look out for UCAS’s report on what influences the education choices of school leavers.

With the Scottish Parliament election looming, we’ll be publishing a brief Election Extra later this month with links to manifestos and resources relevant to learning & skills.

Want to keep on top of all the developments? Become an Informed Scotland subscriber. Email [email protected] to request a complimentary copy and discover what you’re missing.

Informed Scotland February 2021 – Cyber skills, careers & future jobs

Issue 88 includes key announcements and guidance up to and including 8 March.

Cyber Scotland Week helped to make cyber skills one of the hottest topics last month – ‘cyber’ is mentioned in this edition 20 times.

The main items were a new Scottish Government Strategic Framework for a Cyber Resilient Scotland with learning & skills a key element; a new UK Cyber Security Council which will be the governing body on training and standards; and Education Scotland funding the development of new cyber security courses for teachers by Abertay University and Inverness College UHI.

In other developments, look out for:

Want to keep on top of all the developments? Become an Informed Scotland subscriber. Email [email protected] to request a complimentary copy – and discover what you’re missing.

Informed Scotland Dec20/Jan21 – COVID-19 impact, support & recovery

Issue 87 includes key announcements and guidance up to and including 12 February.

This edition of Informed Scotland is the biggest ever published, summarising an incredibly busy, productive couple of months for learning & skills. Hard to fathom, when so many are achieving all this from home, and when every day feels pretty similar to the one before!

Numerous new courses were announced and resources launched, as organisations and individuals across the landscape work incredibly hard to provide support for learners and educators in all sectors and at every stage.

Many interesting, important and/or informative reports were published. Not all of them are COVID-19 driven, such as Skills Development Scotland’s first Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan, reminding us that there are other issues needing urgent attention, too.

Here are a few of the other reports worth highlighting:

A few themed weeks are coming up: Cyber Scotland Week is 22–28 February, Scottish Apprenticeship Week is 1–5 March, and the first ever SCQF Week is 15–19 March.

On the subject of events: Our popular Learning & Skills Events Calendar has been in limbo since the first lockdown in March 2020 when all events were cancelled or moved online. I’m considering when to restart it – either now, for major online events, or wait until the time when face-to-face events can begin to resume. Would you find it useful now? I’d be really interested to hear your views – via @InformedScot on Twitter, or email [email protected]

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.

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