Earlier this month the Scottish Government began the consultation process on the provisions of the draft Education (Scotland) Bill. The Bill is likely to be the centre-piece of the Scottish Government's legislative agenda in 2018 and, as drafted, provides for significant reforms to the way in which education in Scotland is managed.
The key changes contained within the Bill are as follows:
- A Headteachers' Charter to give headteachers greater control over school staffing, delivery of the Curriculum for Excellence and allocation of school budget;
- Place duties on headteachers to co-operate with parent councils on substantive matters of school policy and improvement and to communicate with the wider parent forum, replacing the current duty to inform and consult with parent councils;
- The creation of Regional Improvement Collaboratives to encourage closer co-operation between schools across local authority areas and to provide support and advice for improvements to the curriculum as well as greater support for pupils' attainment and wellbeing;
- The creation of the Education Workforce Council for Scotland, which will take on the currently existing responsibilities of the General Teaching Council for Scotland and the Community Learning and Development Standards Council, and cover both teachers and non-teacher professionals within the education workforce. The EWCS will register and regulate education professionals working in Scotland in the same manner that the GTCS does for Scottish teachers, and will be an independent body.
At present, the Scottish Government does not propose to remove the duties on local authorities to provide efficient and adequate education for the children in their area, but proposes authorities will lose direct control over curricular policies and practices. Its role in these areas will be to participate in the work of Regional Improvement Collaboratives to provide support and expertise.
Further detail on some proposals contained within the consultation, such as the Regional Improvement Collaboratives, are likely to emerge in due course.
The deadline for responses to the consultation is Tuesday 30 January 2018. If you have any comments or want to talk to someone at the firm, please get in touch with a member of the public law team or your usual Brodies contact.