Foreword By The Deputy First Minister And Cabinet Secretary For Education And Skills
Improving the education and life chances of our children and young people is the defining mission of this Government. Our vision for education is to close the unacceptable gap in attainment between our most and least disadvantaged children and to raise attainment for all.
I believe that decisions about a child's learning should be made as close to that child as possible, and that decisions about a child's needs and how to meet them should be made by those around the child. This is a vision of empowerment and devolution - devolution from local authorities to schools - to include teachers, headteachers, parents and communities - and devolution from a national to a local or a regional level.
The Government's plans for realising this vision are set out in Education Governance: Next Steps - Empowering Our Teachers, Parents and Communities to Deliver Excellence and Equity for Our Children, published alongside this consultation. That paper sets out how we will ensure that Scotland's education system allows children to achieve their full potential, whatever their strengths and background. However, we are clear that, in order to deliver this transformational change, our education system must be underpinned by fair and transparent funding that puts schools at the heart of decision-making. The way we fund schools needs to recognise the crucial role of the school and support the collaborative and flexible culture we are seeking to develop.
Education represents the single largest component of local authority spending, with 45% of local authority budgets directed towards the provision and delivery of education, and gross expenditure totalling around £5 billion per year.
In its 2014 report, School Education, the Accounts Commission suggested that it is how local authorities decide to spend their education budget, rather than the overall level of spending, which has most impact on attainment levels. Importantly, that report also concluded that the impact of funding on attainment could be more significant if it was targeted at those schools and pupils where the need to improve attainment was greatest.
How we fund education in Scotland has an important role to play in helping to achieve our aims. Through this consultation, I want to hear your views on how we can best use the resources we have available to deliver the best possible outcomes for all our children and young people.
Deputy First Minister and
Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills
Email: Deborah Davies
Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House