Response to recommendations on future of Education in Scotland
24th June 2021
The Highland Council noted this week's announcement on the changes to the Scottish qualifications and assessment system following the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Organisation (OECD) report which backs Scotland's school curriculum in its independent review.
Last year, the Scottish Government commissioned the OECD to carry out a review of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE). OECD's report highlighted that CfE is the right approach for Scotland and suggests that the curriculum work currently undertaken by Education Scotland might best sit with any new curriculum and assessment body which will replace the SQA.
Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville announced that all 12 of the review’s recommendations will be accepted in full, including recommendations on curriculum, assessment and qualifications which will see the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) replaced and Education Scotland substantially reformed.
Cllr John Finlayson, Chair of the Education Committee said: "I am sure this week’s announcement by the Education Minister comes as no surprise to anyone and it also offers a real opportunity going forward, for evaluating both the curriculum offered in Scottish schools and also the methods of assessment that we need to employ in the 21st century and beyond.
"The OECD report highlights the need for a review of the curriculum which has to be a good thing and given self-evaluation is at the heart of Scottish Education it is only appropriate that this also happens at the highest level as well as at authority and school level. The recommendations around the SQA, Education Scotland and how future school inspections need to change, will I think be widely welcomed by all education stakeholders but at the same time we must also look to build on the good things that are happening in our schools and not throw all the babies out with the bathwater."
[url=https://www.oecd.org/education/scotland-s-curriculum-for-excellence-bf624417-en.htm]A copy of the report is available on OECD’s website[/url]
The Highland Climate Change Conference is taking place on Thursday 21 and Friday 21 October 2021. Chair of Highland Council's Climate Change Working Group, Cllr Trish Robertson, said: "The conference is a fantastic opportunity to bring people together from across and beyond Highland to discuss the climate and ecological emergency.
Members of the Audit and Scrutiny Committee (which took place yesterday, Thursday 23 September) were presented with a report outlining the areas of work which have been undertaken by Highland Council's Internal Audit section since the Committee’s previous meeting during June 2021. Of the five audit reports considered, three were given the audit opinions of significant assurance or full assurance.
The high point of the year for celebrating our heritage starts on Saturday 25 September. For three weeks, the Highland Archaeology Festival will offer a range of walks, talks, workshops, exhibitions, and activities for all ages.
Zero Waste Scotland has launched a digital recycling tool to help combat confusion and meet Scottish recycling targets. This Recycle Week (20-26 September 2021), Zero Waste Scotland is launching the first ever Recycling Sorter.
The Highland Council's resilient digital learning estate continues to connect and support learners and educators across Highland, including the creation of a new digital toolkit for teaching staff. Education Chair, Cllr John Finlayson said: "The extensive digital learning estate available across Highland for staff, pupils, parents and carers is an effective way to empower and develop digital opportunities across Highland schools.
Members of the public are being invited to comment on a Draft Gambling Policy Statement for the coming years 2022-25. The Highland Council is consulting on the draft policy statement on behalf of The Highland Licensing Board under the Gambling Act 2005.
At the meeting of The Highland Council Members supported a starred item put forward by Caithness Members. The Thurso and North West Caithness and the Wick and East Caithness Ward Councillors asked that the Council creates and implements a Council wide playground strategy that considers the needs and expectations of communities and supports the active play, well-being and social activity of children and their families.
Members at a meeting on 9 September 2021 of the Highland Council agreed the scope, budget, phasing and timescale for 5 priority school projects including Beauly Primary, Culloden Academy, Dunvegan Primary, Park Primary, and St Clements School. It was also agreed that these projects are to be incorporated into the Council's current capital programme.
Given the importance of tourism to the Highland economy and the need for the tourism experience to be positive for visitors and communities, members have agreed to extend the Visitor Management Plan funding into the 2022 season by a one-off investment of £1.5m. A one-off Visitor Management Plan investment of £2.4m agreed by the Council in March 2021 for this year's season has enabled a range of service improvements.
On behalf of The Highland Council, High Life Highland has this week advertised a tender and invitation to quote seeking creative filming and photography input to the Inverness Castle - Spirit of the Highlands project. The tender and invitation to quote will contribute to Spirit:Journeys, a natural and cultural heritage initiative that will deliver many benefits for local communities, helping to unlock economic potential and improve visitor experiences across the region.