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Excellence and equity for all in education at heart of Government’s plans.
Improving excellence and equity in Scottish education for all is at the heart of the Scottish Government's Education (Scotland) Bill.
The bill, which is due to be debated in Parliament today (Tuesday), contains provisions placing a duty on local authorities and Ministers to prioritise activity aimed at closing the attainment gap.
The bill also legislates for the introduction of the National Improvement Framework, recently launched by the First Minister, to support efforts in raising attainment through improving information available to ensure pupils get the right support they need.
Other provisions targeted on enhancing children's rights, Gaelic education, teacher registration and the creation of a Chief Education Officer post in councils are also included.
Speaking ahead of the Stage 3 debate on the Bill, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Angela Constance said:
"The Scottish Government is working with local authorities, parents and others to ensure our education system delivers both excellence and equity for every child. All of the measures of this Bill have a role to play in helping to achieve that aspiration.
"We have already taken a series of steps that show how seriously we are taking this, such as the launch of the £100 million Scotland Attainment Challenge, and I am pleased to see our Bill reach its final stage in Parliament.
"Our National Improvement Framework will build on a strong record of achievement, with the aim of ensuring we have the right information about children's progress right across Scotland. The Framework will look at a range of existing and new evidence which will tell us how we are progressing and where support is required for improvement purposes. Parents will have access to more information about their children's education and progress than ever before, on what they are doing well and where they might need extra help.
"One source of data will be a new standardised assessment, focusing on reading, writing and numeracy. We have no interest in a return to high stakes testing. This new system will help to reduce the burden of assessment, building on best practice and replacing the wide variety of approaches taken by local authorities with a new streamlined, consistent approach. Crucially, the assessments will inform teacher judgment, not replace it."
The legislation also contains measures to:
- enhance children's right by extending the rights of children aged 12+ with capacity under the Additional Support for Learning Act 2004
- promote Gaelic education by placing a duty on councils both to assess the need for Gaelic medium primary education following a parental request and to actively promote and support learning and teaching of the language in schools
- ensure that all teachers in Scottish schools are appropriately trained and qualified by requiring all teaching staff within independent and grant aided schools to be registered with the General Teaching Council Scotland
- improve the process, under section 70 of the 1980 Education Act, for dealing with complaints about councils failing in their education duties
- ensure senior managers within councils have the necessary qualifications and experience by providing for the creation of a Chief Education Officer post
- regulate for every primary school pupil to benefit from a minimum of 25 hours with teachers per week, and
- ensure consistency in clothing grant provision across Scotland