Scottish children invited to take part in National Discussion on education

Every child and young person in Scotland is being encouraged to get involved in a National Discussion on education.

Let’s Talk Scottish Education invites those aged three to 18 to share their ideas, views and experiences.

Feedback from young people, as well as from parents, carers, teachers and others working in education and beyond, will play a vital part in shaping the future of education. This will include the reform programme that will see the creation of three new education bodies and a review of qualifications and assessment.

The National Discussion, which is being co-convened by COSLA, will run until 5 December. It is being independently facilitated by Professor Carol Campbell and Professor Alma Harris, who will report their findings to Ministers and COSLA in spring 2023.

Schools are being invited to take part in the Discussion in ways that best suit them and their learners. This may be through classroom discussions, homework tasks or by encouraging children and young people to have discussions at home or with friends. Discussion guides have been issued to schools to help encourage involvement.

Children and young people can also contribute by emailing the Scottish Government or through social media, using the hashtag #TalkScottishEducation.

More information will be available over the coming weeks on other ways that young people can get involved in online and regional events.

Ahead of launching the Discussion during a visit to Carnegie Primary School in Dunfermline, Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“It has been 20 years since Scotland last held a national debate on the future of education. Since then, the education landscape has changed beyond recognition, as has the world around us. It’s time for a new National Discussion.

“Our reform programme will build on all that is good in Scottish education and deliver real change and improvement. Our children and young people hold the biggest stake in the education system so it is right that their views should be at the centre of those plans.

“We are inviting every child and young person to get involved. We want to hear all voices, particularly those who feel they haven’t been heard in the past.

“Resources have been developed to help prompt discussions around the country; within organisations, around kitchen tables and in our schools and youth settings.

“The vision which is created following the National Discussion will set out what education in Scotland needs to look like not only in the near future but 20 years from now – so Let’s Talk Education.”

COSLA Children and Young People Spokesperson Councillor Tony Buchanan said:

“I’m delighted that we are launching the National Discussion and pleased that COSLA will co-convene the discussion with the Scottish Government, reflecting the importance we place on learning in Scotland, and the joint responsibility we have when it comes to education.

“This is an exciting opportunity for children and young people, staff in our schools, families and wider communities to get involved and make their voices heard.  I hope that everyone who has something to say on how we deliver education in Scotland takes the time to get involved in the months ahead.”

Patrick McGlinchey, Executive Director of national parents group Connect, said:

“We welcome the launch of the National Discussion and look forward to supporting learners and their families to participate fully.

“Connect will work hard to ensure children, young people, and their families are heard loud and clear during the national discussion, and that the future of Scottish education is child-centred, with parents by their side.”

A National Discussion web page will go live shortly, where anyone who wants to give their views can complete a survey. The webpage will also have details of how to email the Scottish Government about the National Discussion.

Carol Campbell, Professor of Leadership and Educational Change at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, and Dr Alma Harris, Emeritus Professor Swansea University and Professor at Cardiff School of Education and Social Policy, Cardiff Metropolitan University, will act as independent facilitators for the National Discussion.

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