Improving the education and life chances of our children and young people is the defining mission of this Government.
The National Improvement Framework set out the Scottish Government's vision for excellence and equity for all children and young people across Scottish education:
- Excellence through raising attainment: ensuring that every child achieves the highest standards in literacy and numeracy, set out within Curriculum for Excellence levels, and the right range of skills, qualifications and achievements to allow them to succeed; and
- Achieving equity: ensuring every child has the same opportunity to succeed, with a particular focus on closing the poverty related attainment gap.
Scotland has a good education system which is delivering well for a great many young people in Scotland. In 2016 the number of Advanced Higher passes reached a record high, while the number of Higher passes was second only to the 2015 record  . A record proportion of young people from Scotland's most deprived communities went into a positive initial destination in 2015-16 - 88.7%, up from 83.9% in 2011-12  .
While current evidence shows our system has many strengths, there are areas where we must improve performance. The majority of young people are performing well, but the current system is not maximising education outcomes for all, with the circumstances of a child's life still having a disproportionate impact on their chance of success. The Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy ( SSLN) data published in May 2017  showed the size of the deprivation related performance gap in literacy has not changed since 2012 and, coupled with the Programme for International Student Assessment ( PISA) statistics published in December 2016  , makes the case for education reform clear.
This Government has been taking strong and decisive action to address the weaknesses in the system by providing teachers and schools with the tools they need to deliver excellence and equity for all children and young people across Scottish Education. This action includes the Scottish Attainment Challenge funding, which is a key part of our work focussed on tackling the poverty related attainment gap. Over the lifetime of this Parliament, we will target £750 million at the children, schools and communities most in need, with £120 million per annum going directly to schools. We have listened to teachers and have significantly streamlined the volume of advice regarding the Curriculum for Excellence. Through changes to the National Qualifications, we are reducing bureaucracy and workload by reducing the burden of assessment, both on teachers and on young people. We are also increasing investment and support in the early years through the significant expansion of early learning and childcare.
We have an unwavering focus on improving Scotland's education system for every child and we will continue to make the changes necessary to strengthen Scottish education. This consultation forms part of our review of education governance and is central to our aim of empowering our teachers, schools and communities to deliver the necessary changes in our education system. Education Governance: Next Steps - Empowering Our Teachers, Parents and Communities to Deliver Excellence and Equity for Our Children  , published alongside this consultation, sets out how we will reform Scottish Education to realise our ambition of excellence and equity for all.
With current education spending worth £4.9 billion in 2015-16, it is clear that now is the right time to ask whether the current funding system could be improved and whether resources are being directed to where they are needed most.
The consultation invites views on how schools are funded and how the current equity issues within the system could be addressed to support our vision of excellence and equity for all children and young people across Scotland.
Email: Deborah Davies
Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House