Council of all talents
The Secretary of State has decided to revive the idea of an Advisory Council on Scottish Education, whose predecessor produced a seminal report in 1947.
Modelled on the Scottish Economic Council which advises the Government on economic matters, it will draw expertise from outside education as well as within. The White Paper notes: "People not directly involved with education on a day-to-day basis also have much to offer in securing improvements in the education system."
The Government envisages a council of no more than 25 members, a provision already available to the Secretary of State using existing powers under section 71 of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980. The legislation also stipulates that not fewer than two-thirds of its members should be "persons qualified to represent the views of various bodies interested in education".
The Secretary of State has mapped out an ambitious agenda for the new body. He wants its views on the structure of the teaching profession, fostering links between education, training, business and industry, and the balance of funding between primary, secondary and post-school education.