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Publication - Publication

Europe 2020: Scottish national reform programme 2017

Published: 27 Apr 2017
Part of:
Economy, International
ISBN:
9781786529381

A summary of the actions the Scottish Government has taken with partners in 2016 and 2017 in pursuit of the Europe 2020 Strategy.

56 page PDF

1.5MB

56 page PDF

1.5MB

Contents
Europe 2020: Scottish national reform programme 2017
Chapter 6: Learning and Skills

56 page PDF

1.5MB

Chapter 6: Learning and Skills

The Scottish Government shares the European Commission's ambition of improving education levels, and Scotland's Economic Strategy highlights the importance of investment in education and skills in driving long-term improvements in competitiveness and in creating economic opportunities for all.

This chapter sets out the activities being undertaken across Scotland to equip our young people with the knowledge and skills to flourish.

Europe 2020 headline targets:

Improving education levels, in particular by:

  • Reducing the rate of early school leavers to 10 per cent from the current 15 per cent; and
  • Increasing the share of the population aged 30-34 having completed tertiary or equivalent education to at least 40 per cent by 2020.

Current Scottish Performance

Current Scottish performance against the headline EU targets and the relevant National Indicators to education is presented in Table 5.

Table 5 - Current Scottish Performance Against Education Indicators

Indicator

Current Level

Change Over Year

Reference Period

Proportion of 18-24 population who are early leavers from education and training [26]

10.6%

1.4% pts decrease

2015

Share of the population aged 30-34 having completed tertiary education [27]

58.2%

1.8% pts increase

2015

The proportion of young people in learning, training or work [28]

92.0% of school leavers were in positive follow-up destinations

0.5% pts increase

2015-16

The proportion of graduates in positive destinations six months after graduating [29]

67.2%

0.4% pts decrease

2014-15

The proportion of working age adults that have low or no educational qualifications ( SCQF Level 4 qualifications or below) [30]

11.9%

0.7% pts increase in proportion of adults with low or no educational qualifications

2016

As indicated in Table 5, the share of the population aged 30-34 having completed tertiary education increased over the year and well exceeds the European Commission's target of 40 per cent; and the proportion of early school leavers decreased over the year to 2015 and is close to the Commission's target of 10 per cent.

Raising Attainment and Addressing Inequalities of Educational Outcome

The Scottish Government is committed to raising attainment among all children, but particularly those from low income backgrounds. This informs all of our policies that affect children and young people.

Scottish Attainment Challenge

The Scottish Government has extended the scope and the reach of the Scottish Attainment Challenge which aims to achieve equity in educational outcomes with particular focus on closing the poverty-related attainment gap. It is backed by the £750 million Attainment Scotland Fund over the course of the current parliament, prioritising improvements in literacy, numeracy and health and well-being for pupils impacted by socio economic disadvantage. In 2017-18, this funding will include £120 million of Pupil Equity funding which will be allocated directly to around 95% of schools based on estimated free school meal registrations, benefiting every local authority area in Scotland. In addition, £50 million a year continues to provide targeted support to specific Scottish Attainment Challenge authorities and schools in areas with high levels of deprivation, as well as a number of national programmes including support for staffing supply and capacity, professional learning and school leadership.

Education Maintenance Allowance

The Scottish Government has retained the Education Maintenance Allowance ( EMA) in Scotland to provide financial support to eligible 16-19 year olds from the lowest income families, enabling them to stay in education and learning beyond the school leaving age. In academic year 2014-15, £26.5 million of funding was provided to support 33,180 young people in schools and colleges. Of all 16-19 year old school pupils in Scotland, 31% (22,530) received EMA payments in 2014-15. In January 2016, the programme was expanded to include part-time non-advanced college courses and the income thresholds were increased.

School Attendance - Promoting Engagement

The Scottish Government works with local authorities, schools, pupils and parents to highlight the potential risks of disrupting learning by absence from school. The Scottish Government published guidance on attendance for local authorities and schools "Included, Engaged and Involved Part 1: Attendance in Scottish schools" [31] in 2007 which provides guidance on how to promote engagement and motivation, including among those who may be at risk of poor attendance. In Scotland, the attendance rate has remained steady at just over 93% in recent years. It has increased from 93.6 per cent in 2012/13 to 93.7 per cent in 2014/15.

Information on attendance and absence was not collected in 2011/12 or 2013/14, as this data is now collected only once every two years.

Information on attendance

Supporting Students and Widening Access

The Scottish Government is committed to developing a highly-skilled and educated workforce, and is taking steps to ensure that people from all backgrounds have the support to reach their full potential, including:

  • In further education, full-time students are currently able to receive a non-repayable bursary of up to £95.94 per week. The 2016-17 student support budget is at a record high of £106.2 million in college bursaries, childcare and discretionary funds. In 2014-15, 43,779 students enrolled in further education courses received student support.
  • The Scottish Government is committed to providing student support. The current higher education funding package includes annual minimum income of £7,625, through a combination of bursaries and loans, for students with a family income of less than £19,000, and a student loan of £4,750 a year which all students are eligible for. Part-time students with a personal income of less than £25,000 are eligible to receive a grant towards tuition-fee costs.
  • From the 2017-18 academic year, eligible students taking postgraduate courses in Scotland, up to masters level, will be able to apply for a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500, in addition to a living cost loan of up to £4,500. Over the academic year 2015-16, £805.8 million of student support, covering tuition fees, grants, bursaries and authorised loans, was allocated through the Student Awards Agency for Scotland ( SAAS) to 141,000 full-time higher education students.
  • Ensuring that access to higher education remains free for Scottish-domiciled students, investing over £1 billion in Scotland's higher education sector in 2017-18 to support this. In addition, the Scottish Government's Budget for 2017-18 confirmed that universities and colleges will receive cash terms increases in funding on the previous year.

The Scottish Government is committed to widening access to higher education. In line with recommendations made by the Commission on Widening Access, a new Commissioner for Fair Access has been appointed, and the Scottish Government has committed to implementation of all of the recommendations made by the Commission. The Commission published its final report, A Blueprint for Fairness [32] on 14 March 2016. The Report made a series of 34 recommendations to help ensure that a student's background is not a barrier to university access, including: setting targets for the share of students from deprived areas enrolling in higher education; and new admissions thresholds for students from the most deprived backgrounds.

Supporting Older Learners

The Scottish Government is taking action to support older learners. For example:

  • The Scottish Funding Council's Outcome Agreements ask colleges to remove barriers and support full participation and successful outcomes for all groups of learners in their local community.
  • Older learners are well represented amongst all college students:
    • Full-time students aged 25 and over at colleges have increased by over 33% since 2006/07.
    • In 2015/16, 28.7% of all learning hours were delivered to students aged 25 and over.
  • Older learners in further education are benefitting from record levels of support. The 2016/17 budget of over £106 million in college bursaries, childcare and discretionary funds is a real-terms increase of 32% since 2006/07.

Investing in Scotland's Learning Environment ERASMUS+

The Scottish Government is also committed to increasing student and staff mobility, and promoting Scotland as a learning nation. Scotland's participation in ERASMUS+, the European Union programme for education, training, youth and sport for 2014-2020, helps to raise the profile of Scotland as a place to live, work and study in key overseas markets and to showcase the best of Scottish higher education to the world.

Across the UK, ERASMUS+ is delivered by a consortium of the British Council and Ecorys. British Council estimates published in November 2016 show that to date, €41,848,903 has been awarded for successful projects led from Scotland since Erasmus+ began in 2014.

  • In 2015-16, 92.0% of school leavers were in positive destinations
  • In 2015/16, 28.7% of all learning hours in Scottish colleges were delivered to students aged 25 and over
  • In Scotland, the school attendance rate has remained steady at just over 93% in recent years. It has increased from 93.6% in 2012/13 to 93.7% in 2014/15
  • In 2014-15, 43,779 students enrolled in further education courses received student support
  • Access to higher education remains free for Scottish domiciled students. Scottish Government is investing over £1 billion in Scotland's higher education sector in 2017/18 to support this
  • Full-time students aged 25 and over at Scottish colleges have increased by over 33% since 2006/07
  • Of all 16-19 year old school pupils in Scotland, 31% (22,530) received Education Maintenance Allowance payments in 2014-15

Updated April 2017


Contact

Email: Elaine Bell

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG