Children's University Scotland welcomed the recent opportunity to respond to the consultation of the Provisions of the Education (Scotland) Bill, which sets out aspirations to create a school and teacher-led education system. This includes empowering Head Teachers as leaders of learning and teaching, and placing more emphasis on collaborative working between schools, the community, parents and children to improve educational outcomes and widen pupils' educational opportunities and experiences.
Parental and community engagement
A key focus of the bill is improving parental and community engagement in school life and in learning outside of school. Children’s University Scotland strongly supports the bill's emphasis on working alongside parents as partners in their children’s education, and on the role the wider community can play in broadening children’s educational opportunities. Listening to parents is key to understanding how best to support children’s learning. Legislation should ensure that consultation and engagement with parents is routinely built in to the development of school policy and practice.
We also strongly agree that the provisions relating to learning at home and communication with parents should be extended to early learning and childcare settings. Research has shown that parental engagement in the early years has significant and lasting benefits for children’s education, their development and outcomes in later life.
A stronger voice for children and young people
We strongly support the bill's proposal on strengthening the voice of children and young people by creating a duty for schools to support general pupil participation, rather than specific duties that would focus on inflexible pupil participation mediums such as pupil councils or committees. We think a more open provision will help schools in actively supporting pupil participation, and in shaping their learning experiences and the opportunities on offer to them and their peers. We believe it's vital that young people have influence and agency at every level of the education system and that all decisions are informed by children and young people’s active participation.
In our response, we suggested that another key focus should be that schools, local authorities and ministers should engage with key groups of children facing specific disadvantages in their education such as children living in poverty, child refugees, child asylum seekers and children with a parent who is in prison. We think this will help to ensure that policy is well informed by children most at risk of falling behind in their education and who may face more significant barriers to participation.
Read our full response here