A renewed national vision for education in Scotland – which places learners at the centre of all decisions – has been outlined by a University of the West of Scotland (UWS) academic.
Professor Ken Muir CBE, Honorary Professor within UWS’s School of Education and Social Sciences and former Chief Executive and Registrar of the General Teaching Council for Scotland, shared his insights during his inaugural lecture at the University’s Ayr campus to an audience of students, teachers and education professionals.
The event comes after Professor Muir was commissioned by the Scottish Government to provide independent advice on aspects of education reform in Scotland. During the event, he discussed the findings of his recent Scottish Government-commissioned report: Putting Learners at the Centre: Towards a Future Vision for Scottish Education.
Amongst the recommendations put forward as part of the report include the creation of a new body, Qualifications Scotland, taking on board the SQA's current awarding functions, chiefly the responsibility for the design and delivering of qualifications, the operation and certification of examinations, and the awarding of certificates.
He discussed the need for a new national agency for Scottish education and the creation of a new Inspectorate body, with its independence enshrined in legislation.
He also talked about a transitions programme team being required to oversee the changes and reforms envisaged in his report, and he stressed the importance of involving all partners and stakeholders, including learners, teachers, practitioners, parents, and carers, in shaping this new vision.
Professor Ken Muir said: “It was fantastic to gather at UWS’s Ayr campus to finally share in person the findings of my recent report.
“My recommendations take into account and align with wider areas of policy and the Scottish Government's priorities for children and families in Scotland, designed to build upon the many strengths that exist within Scottish education, while supporting key priorities around closing the poverty-related attainment gap, child poverty, reducing youth unemployment, the national work on Race Equality and Anti-Racist Education Programme and achieving equity and excellence through education.
“Fundamentally, my recommendations place children, young people and those teachers and practitioners who support their learning more firmly at the heart of the education system. The recommendations aim to establish a revised infrastructure that begins to simplify the landscape and ensures all teachers and practitioners have greater clarity as to the roles and functions of key national bodies.
The recommendations also set out how teachers and practitioners can be more assured of accessing the bespoke support they need in the challenging job they have in supporting all learners. The recommendations are designed to enhance the quality of learning and teaching and the achievements and outcomes for all learners and ensure the rights of the child are respected and honoured across our education system.
Professor Ken Muir
Professor Milan Radosavljevic, Vice-Principal of Research, Innovation & Engagement, said: “It was a real honour for us all to listen to Ken’s lecture. He is a prominent figure in the Scottish education sector and his impressive breadth and depth of knowledge and experience in the sector is of real benefit to UWS, and he plays a vital and strategic part in continuing to grow the University’s global reach.
“Ken’s lecture focused on the findings from his most recent role working as Independent Advisor to the Scottish Government. As we know, the pandemic posed significant questions for education systems across the globe and Ken engaged with students, educators, and expert commentators across Scotland to help the Scottish Government and the sector as a whole to start to reimagine Scottish education for the future.
“His work is of extreme importance, and it was interesting to hear more about what the future might hold for education in Scotland.”
You can access the full report here.