The Education (Scotland) Act 2016 - Part 1: Consultation On Draft Statutory Guidance
1.1 This consultation seeks your views on draft statutory guidance for Part 1 of the Education (Scotland) Act 2016 ("the 2016 Act"). The draft statutory guidance covers those provisions which make amendments to various sections of the Standards in Scotland's Schools etc. Act 2000 ("the 2000 Act"). In summary, the draft statutory guidance has been developed to support those who will have responsibility for various duties in relation to:
- reducing inequalities of outcomes for pupils experiencing them as a result of socio-economic disadvantage;
- the National Improvement Framework ( NIF), and;
- planning and reporting duties at school and education authority levels.
1.2 Chapter 1 of the draft statutory guidance provides more information on the context of the legislation and the guidance itself. Chapter 2 deals with the duties and steps that might be taken by education authorities to reduce inequalities of outcome for pupils experiencing them as a result of socio-economic disadvantage. Chapter 3 then sets out the duties and steps that might be taken by education authorities in pursuance of the NIF priorities. Finally, chapter 4 deals with the duties and steps that might be taken by education authorities in relation to their respective planning and reporting duties as to proposed steps/steps taken to reduce these inequalities.
2. Key audience for this statutory guidance
2.1 This draft statutory guidance is aimed at those with responsibilities within schools and local authorities for fulfilling the duties within the legislation. This is likely to include strategic leaders and senior planning managers in local authorities, particularly those for whom education functions are a responsibility, as well as Headteachers within schools. The 2016 Act also introduces the role of the Chief Education Officer, the duties of which will be commenced in early 2017, who will have an interest in this statutory guidance.
3.1 The Education (Scotland) Act 2016 was passed by the Scottish Parliament on 2 February 2016 and received Royal Assent on 8 March 2016.
3.2 This legislation is a key part of the Scottish Government's strategy to ensure that the life chances of our children and young people are improved and that our education system delivers excellence and equity. Building on a range of key policies and reform, the legislation aims to help deliver an education system which continually improves and which effectively closes the attainment gap in order to deliver both excellence and equity.
4. Reducing inequalities of outcome for pupils experiencing them as a result of socio-economic disadvantage
4.1 There has been a longstanding legal requirement on Scottish Ministers and education authorities to raise attainment for all as set out in existing duties under section 3 of the 2000 Act. However, the amendments made to the 2000 Act by the 2016 Act place more emphasis on addressing the educational challenges that are specifically associated with pupils experiencing such challenges due to socio-economic disadvantage.
4.2 Section 1 of the 2016 Act introduces new sections 3A and 3B of the 2000 Act, which require the Scottish Ministers and education authorities respectively, to attach an increased level of priority and focus on addressing this issue at both national and local level.
5. The National Improvement Framework
5.1 The NIF sets out the Scottish Government's vision and priorities for Scotland's children's progress in learning. A draft NIF was published on 1 September 2015 as was followed by an Interim Report, published on 5 January 2016, which set out progress against the draft NIF. A subsequent NIF was published on 6 th January 2016.
5.2 New section 3C of the 2000 Act, as introduced by section 2 of the 2016 Act, places the NIF on a statutory footing, requiring Ministers to publish and annually review the NIF strategic priorities and objectives in relation to school education.
5.3 New section 3D of the 2000 Act, also introduced by section 2 of the 2016 Act, requires education authorities when carrying on their duty in section 3(2) of the 2000 Act (endeavouring to secure improvement in the quality of school education in the schools they manage), to do so with a view to achieving the strategic priorities set out in the NIF.
6. Planning and reporting
6.1 A series of planning and reporting duties have been introduced by section 3 of the 2016 Act, in relation to the NIF and with a view to reducing inequalities of outcome experienced by pupils as a result of socio-economic disadvantage.
6.2 The Scottish Ministers and education authorities must prepare annual plans (new sections 3E and 3F of the 2000 Act as inserted by section 3 of the 2016 Act) setting out what steps they intend to take to fulfil their duties under new sections 3A to 3D of the 2000 Act. They must also produce annual reports (new sections 3G and 3H of the 2000 Act) detailing the progress they have made against their plans as well as setting out any educational benefits that have arisen as a result of the work undertaken to fulfil their duties.
6.3 Finally, sections 3(3), 3(4), 3(6) and 3(7) of the 2016 Act make a series of amendments to the 2000 Act. These amendments concern the production of School Improvement Plans, which will replace School Development Plans. The main change, other than the name of the plan, is that it must now take account of the education authority's plan or revised plan under section 3F, report under section 3H and strategy for parental involvement as introduced by new section 2A of the Scottish Schools (Parental Involvement) Act 2006 (as inserted by section 6 of the 2016 Act).
7. Development of this statutory guidance
7.1 The Scottish Government has worked closely with Education Scotland and external stakeholders to develop this draft statutory guidance. Representative bodies have contributed to that process through a working group whose membership includes: the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland ( ADES); the Association of Headteachers and Deputes in Scotland ( AHDS); the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla); the Education Institute of Scotland ( EIS); the Improvement Service; the National Parent Forum of Scotland ( NPFS); the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives Scotland ( SOLACE), and; School Leaders Scotland ( SLS).
8.1 This consultation will invite comments from 22 August until 11 November 2016. Full publication of the guidance is expected in March 2017. This proposed timing should enable those with responsibility to familiarise themselves with their new statutory duties prior to them taking effect from August 2017. It will also enable them to digest the content of the statutory guidance to assist them in considering how they might go about undertaking and fulfilling their duties.
8.2 The Scottish Government and the working group will continue to develop a range of support materials and opportunities to be available from the point of full publication of the statutory guidance and beyond.
Email: Hazel Crawford, email@example.com