Partnerships are key to progress

8th July 2016 at 00:00

The government’s recent plan for Scottish education is an ambitious document, in what it hopes to deliver and in its speed of execution. But the focus on achieving equitable outcomes for Scotland’s young people is just what the country’s education system needs.

Closing the attainment gap requires a joined-up approach that doesn’t simply address education in isolation from important social, economic and health issues. The delivery plan recognises parents in this equation but misses an opportunity to name the importance of working with communities. Parental engagement might be better supported through community development and adult education, not just a school-based focus.

The delivery plan’s emphasis on research-informed policy and practice is welcome, as is the plan to invest in teachers. But we are cautious about a singular focus on initial teacher education. Schools themselves need to become sites of teacher learning. Teacher judgment, central to the government’s approach to student assessment, is not acquired overnight. Assessment data by itself won’t increase attainment. Support for strong partnerships between universities and schools is needed to promote a culture of lifelong learning in the teaching profession.

Professor Trevor Gale

Head of the School of Education, University of Glasgow

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