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Education Culture and Sport Committee

6th Report 2003

Report on Inquiry into the Purposes of Scottish Education
Volume 2 - Evidence


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SP Paper 815

Session 1 (2003)


Table 2

Seven Snapshot Scenarios

Snapshot Scenario 1: Globalization

World economic integration with technological changes in telecommunications, information, and transport

(Political) promotion of free trade and the reduction in trade protection

Weakening of the nation-state and growth of local mafias, especially in Eastern bloc countries

Decline of the state and growth of multinationals brings a growing importance of the city (and hinterland) as the political administrative and governing unit

Imposition of structural adjustment policies on Third World countries

Emergence of a one-superpower hegemony but also the consolidation of China and world Islamization

Growth of religious and ethnic nationalisms

Increased gaps between richer and poorer, in terms of both economic and cultural/informational capital

Instability of the unregulated global financial system (financial collapse of the Asian "tiger" economies and economies of Soviet Union and Brazil)

Snapshot Scenario 2: Changes in

Economic Processes

Shift from industrial to service and/or information economy

Increased importance of property in general, including the technology of reproduction, intellectual property, and genetic engineering

Declining power of labor unions

Development of flex-time work arrangements (i.e., growth of part-time work) and the emergence of the "flexible worker"

Casualization of work and increasing levels of unemployment, especially in the Third World

Transformation from late capitalism to transnational managerial capitalism and finance capitalism

Shift to "knowledge industries" and global information economies

The increasing substitution of capital for labor (and non reversibility of the substitution principle)

The growing importance of symbolic economies and the manipulation of symbolic systems and processes

Snapshot Scenario 3: Knowledge

Production and Formation

Increased specialization of academic fields, discourses, languages

Commercialization of schools and universities

Commodification of knowledge

Shift from knowledge to knowledge management

Exponential growth of knowledge and emergence of the knowledge industries (quaternary, quintary--e.g., culture and ethics industries)

New legal, ethical, and political problems generated by language-based techno-knowledge developments over simulacra (e.g., patents, copies)

The growing differentiation of new knowledge groups and classes

The decline of state-centered knowledge institutions and the growth of private and corporate think-tanks, foundations, and institutes

The radical concordance and convergence of media and media ownership

Snapshot Scenario 4: Mathematical/Physical Processes

Increased incommensurabilities, including languages, teleologies, and scripts

Problematizing of space-time and stable categorizations

Development of mathematics of non classical spaces (monster curves, fractals, catastrophe theory, chaos theory, eccentric or abject spaces)

Inclusion of disorder in mathematics and physics

Development of intermaths

Development of postmodern science with an accent on local determinisms, paralogy, undecidability, incompleteness, and openness

The many worlds interpretation in physics

Importance of implicate order and dissipative structures

The conception of the participatory universe

Table 2 Cont.

Snapshot Scenario 5: Ecological Sustainability

Destabilization of whole ecosystems, often eliciting managerial or fundamentalist responses

Development of apocalyptic and survivalist ideologies and subcultures

Increased reduction of DNA variability and increased toxicity of the planet

Massive plant and animal extinctions

Deep pollution of local and usually urban environments

Increased "natural" catastrophes (e.g. flooding) as the result of human interference

Growth of shack cities (barrios, favelas, colonias without sewage, water, electricity) shack cultures

Massive depletion of world rainforest belts, clean water, and air

Development of germ banks and eco-banks

Experiments with human-made environments e.g., biosphere

Emergence of ecoterrorism

Strategic national biosecurity

Global viral environments

Snapshot Scenario 6: Info-Communication Processes

Movement from analog to digital processing technologies.

Predominance of entertainment and edutainment forms over traditional news or "straight" information-based programming

Worldwide growth of the Internet and darknet locations

Discursive development of communication subcultures based on the mode of reception

Totalization of universal (computational) languages and simultaneous development of idiolects

Commodification of all semiotics and symbol creation

Microelectronic expansion of the virtual body, tending toward full seamlessness.

Greater automation and autonomy of "intelligent," seventh-generation robots for all tasks, including translation

Growth of "resistance" technological subcultures (e.g., hacking, cracking, pirate radio and television, phone phreaking)

Just as the cluster concepts developed from our philosophical account of postmodernity provide a basis for critiquing and reconceptualizing curriculum, so these snapshot scenarios provide useful tools for reconsidering curriculum in theory, policy, and practice. As tools and reference points they augment our philosophical perspective in five key and interrelated ways.

First, they provide analytical tools that we can use for comparing current curriculum theory and practice with the circumstances and demands of the postmodern condition. To the extent that our scenarios capture conditions, circumstances and their implied requirements for effective living and participation under present and foreseeable future conditions, they provide a kind of checklist against which to assess curriculum. We can use them as a benchmark, asking how far existing curriculum arrangements reflect the themes captured in the scenarios.

Second, they augment the cluster concepts in terms of reappraising the disciplinary and subject-oriented nature of curriculum theory and practice. To what extent, in other words, can the issues and demands inherent in the scenario snapshots be framed, understood, and addressed conceptually, theoretically, and practically by the kind of learning enabled by existing curricula?

Third, they might be approached in terms of defining and structuring components of an embryonic experimental curriculum for the upper secondary school or university. From this standpoint, the scenarios can be seen as identifying foci, problems, issues, and themes that collectively might well define a coherent program of study for students in higher levels of formal programs. The sorts of foci, issues, and themes involved would, once unpacked, provide guidelines for structuring knowledge and inquiry, generating relevant information, and acquiring appropriate methodical tools of inquiry and criteria for using them well.

Fourth, were we not to wholly--or largely--abandon more traditional subject/disciplinary approaches, the scenarios could usefully provide a series of themes that could be developed in ways that could be explored via traditional subjects. For example, subject areas might pick up on themes that run across all seven snapshots; that is, the snapshot scenarios become ways of weaving together an interdisciplinary study.

Finally, the scenarios provide a series of working hypotheses for anticipating or thinking about the future of the curriculum: What would the curriculum look like if we developed each of these scenario snapshots in terms of appropriate pedagogy, techniques of inquiry, thematic emphases, conceptions of resources and learning technologies, ideals of expertise and of authentic practice, and so on? For example, if we were to take up the options in the first snapshot scenario and begin to rethink how we might reposition the curriculum to take account of developments referred to under the label of globalization in a way that promotes a critical view we might arrive at something like the following as an agenda for a curriculum for alternative globalizations. How would the traditional curriculum pursue this agenda?

Table 3

An Agenda for the Curriculum of Alternative Globalizations

Promoting and developing a global social contract

Promoting sustainable development

Promoting ecological standards

Consolidating the democratic process

Enhancing development of international labor markets

Promoting world trade union rights

Monitoring the social dimension of global and regional trade agreements

Promoting and encouraging global governance

Building standards of global governance

Protecting the public institutions of civil society

Developing transparency and accountability of international forums and world institutions

Developing approaches to institutions of an international civil community

Encouraging greater North/South dialogue and better world representation

Promoting and developing cultural globalization

Promoting cultural diversity and exchange

Developing genuine multicultural structures and processes

Promoting and enhancing the notion of cultural rights

Protecting indigenous property rights

Promoting political and cultural self-determination

We do not have the space here to develop this agenda further, but simply advance it as an example of the confusion into which globalization throws the traditional curriculum; we pose this as a problem--how best to develop a curriculum that reflects and engages in critical and refelctive ways those changes referred to as globalization. Similar questions, we would argue, need to be asked about each of the snapshot scenarios.

This paper has made some initial steps toward rethinking curriculum in the postmodern condition. These are very much first steps. Indeed, the ideas and approach sketched in this paper only provides a basis for building an entire research program during the years to come. What might be the components of this research programme?

There needs to be greater study of the notion of the enterprise curriculum, or the curriculum of competition. Here national contexts are all important. Many OECD countries have undergone radical neoliberal social and economic changes in a shift away from a welfare state to a fully consumer-driven society with a minimum "safety net." In a brief period of rapid neoliberal reform, many governments have followed the same policy recipe: floated the exchange rate; abolished all subsidies to manufacturers and producers; dismantled tariffs, corporatized, commercialized and, privatized state trading organizations in state assets sales; commercialized health and education (and the residual public sector) and introduced user charges; and moved historically away from national wage bargaining and industrial arbitration to anti-union employment contracts legislation. Education has not been immune to the changes; it has followed suit in terms of the implementation of so-called principles of new public management where the focus has fallen upon the development of the "entrepreneurial self." This often amounts to a deliberate neoliberal reconstruction of culture--away from the so-called welfare state "culture of dependency" to a culture of "self-reliance"--through the curriculum that demonstrates a politically conservative understanding of postmodernity which is driven by policies of marketisation, rather than critical, liberal and progressive considerations outlined above.

The field of environmental education with particular reference to the vexed issue of sustainable development is an overdue issue for serious consideration. Problems associated with trying to define the parameters of environmental education threaten the very sustainability of the field itself. These must be addressed in ways that resist attempts to standardize pedagogical responses. The sustainability of environmental education is itself closely linked to the direction taken by controversies surrounding sustainable development. There are aspects of the scenarios above, which concern globalization and ecological sustainability in ways that reflect the concepts of anti-foundationalism, post-epistemological standpoint, and disciplinary boundary-crossing from postmodern philosophy.

We need to tease out these issues more explicitly in terms of the curriculum and review in a critical light the influential accounts given of postmodern perspectives of the curriculum, which give a central role to science and mathematics. Curricula need to be studied with the politico-economic contexts of national and global economic and social "reforms". The so-called information society, as another globalizing context, needs to be taken account of in curriculum development; and, finally, what has been called "the crisis of cultural authority," by which is meant not only the discovery of the plurality of cultures, or "postcolonialism" and the philosophy of decolonization, but also the development and proliferation of postwar youth subcultures and the rise of the new social movements, require serious examination.

How do we constitute the curriculum-society link within the context of societies that are caught in the generalized structural crisis of postmodernity and that lack wide and ambitious socio-political projects? Such a line of inquiry might draw on theory from Laclau, Lacan, Derrida, Wittgenstein, and Lyotard to describe the conditions that have severed earlier constitutions of the curriculum-society link. We need to go beyond describing and analyzing the related crises in the curriculum specifically and social structure more generally. In addition, we need conceptual and theoretical tools with which to take up the challenge of constituting anew the curriculum-society link. Among these, the concepts of social traits and contours are basic. Six key social traits and contours--poverty, "swiftness," globalization, democracy, development, and difference-can be identified.

The full range of developments in literacy from a critical perspective deserves attention in curriculum planning. The emphasis may focus on constructions of literacy within contemporary education policy proposals intended to guide literacy education within the school curriculum. We need also to be able to identify the main constructions of literacyand how they resonate with key elements of scenarios concerned with information and communication processes, cultural changes, knowledge production and formation, and globalization. Particular attention must be paid to policy formulations of literacy in relation to changes referred to by "globalization." Within this field we need to focus on technological literacies understood in terms of practices mediated by contemporary information and communications technologies.

Acknowledgement: This submission is based upon my contribution to Alicia de Alba, Edgar Gonzalez-Gaudiano, Colin Lankshear and Michael Peters, Curriculum in the Postmodern Condition, New York, Peter Lang, 2000.


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Professor Michael Peters

Research Professor of Education

University of Glasgow



The Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) represents the Careers Services in all the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) throughout the UK and Eire. Its mission is `to lead, support and foster collaboration between Higher Education Careers Services in the development and delivery of the highest quality careers information, education and guidance for students and graduates and in their work with employers'. Within Scotland AGCAS (Scotland) comprises the Careers Services of fifteen HEIs including the Open University.

Our views reflect the views of careers advisers working within higher education who have experience of the interface of higher education and employment, the transition of students into higher education and the needs of graduates in the workforce.

AGCAS (Scotland) is pleased to respond to the Inquiry into the Purposes of Scottish Education. Whilst not considering it appropriate to comment in detail as the discussion focuses on schools, we wish to contribute the following observations.


·The recent achievements of widening access to higher education are laudable but resources to provide the co-ordinated, on-going learning support that these students need are being reduced in many HEIs. Thus there is a risk of moving the experience of failure and alienation into the tertiary stage.

·The job market and attitudes haven't kept pace with social changes, for example the increase in mature graduates, who still face discrimination when seeking their first job, and ethnic minority graduates who are more likely to be unemployed 6 months after graduating than their white counterparts.

·There is a need for a better understanding in schools of the graduate labour market so that prospective students, parents and teachers have realistic expectations.

·While only a small number of graduates may be recorded as unemployed in the months immediately after graduation and few graduates remain unemployed for long, there is a problem of underemployment or inappropriate employment for a significant minority of graduates in Scotland. This is in part due to a lack of flexibility about where they are prepared to work in what is a global job market. Funding for Higher Education has made it more difficult for university students to study away from home and this could compound the problem.

Skills Development

·We agree that the demands of new technology do require advanced information handling and critical thinking skills as much as practical technological skill, but we also believe that skills in communication, organisation and planning are vital.

·It is imperative that people develop the skills to manage their own further learning in order to remain employable and to embrace new ways of working.

·We agree that there is a danger that in the pursuit of skills that insufficient attention and value is paid to artistic, emotional and imaginative aspects of individual development. An over-emphasis on skills to the detriment of creativity could also constrain the entrepreneurship that we wish to encourage. Employers of graduates seek a broad range of skills and attributes, many of which can be developed outside the curriculum. To many employers the degree discipline is not important. Thus we shouldn't be seduced by an over vocational approach to education. Those vocational degrees that can be in high demand are often more susceptible to the vagaries of the economic cycle, for example IT and chemical engineering.

·The development of personal transferable skills (including career planning and self management skills) are the foundations for success in all careers. More specific job related skills are necessary and can be developed in a variety of ways. However, successful career management, reskilling and upskilling throughout each individuals' working life need to be founded on personal skills and the understandings, attitudes and confidence that they bring. It is good to retain a Scottish identity but there is a need to ensure that it is outward looking and flexible.

·Experience of Higher Education Careers Services suggests that there is a need for developing better thinking and decision making skills and to encourage a greater acceptance of individual responsibility. Any modularisation of the curriculum needs to provide fully integrated courses.

Work Experience

·Work experience during degree courses and/or immediately after graduation can enhance the skills and understanding of graduates. This opportunity is particularly important if we are to change undergraduate attitudes to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). The vast majority of undergraduates still seek entry to "traditional" graduate jobs in an era when this expectation cannot be met. Organisations such as Graduates for Growth, which for a very small investment, have made working in an SME a genuine option, could with minimal further investment have a much greater impact. Half of the jobs that are advertised by Graduates for Growth are new jobs.

·Vacation experience is important as it enhances the knowledge that students have of the world of work. The STEP programme, for example, has been of particular value in providing experience in the SME sector. It is disappointing to note that due to reduced resources some University Careers Services have discontinued their `Build your Own Business' courses.


·Those entering university need to cope with transitions - perhaps a new home, city, methods of study, greater freedom. Improved transition arrangements from school to higher education would help ensure that maximum benefit is derived from the experience. Personal development planning is important and students need to be motivated to take control of their own life.

·Graduates need to cope with a different career culture - portfolio, frequent changes, uncertainty and the need to keep themselves employable by ensuring that they continue to develop the knowledge and skills that are in demand.


We would like to see:

·Smoother progress between the stages and sectors of learning.

·Comparable investment (for example ICT and continuing Professional Development) in Higher Education as in the school sector. There is currently more support in schools for modernising buildings and for teaching and learning.

·Continuing support for education in its broadest sense and avoidance of a narrow focus on the development of vocational skills.

Professor Michael Peters

Research Professor of Education

University of Glasgow

Tuesday 25 June 2002 (20th meeting 2002 (Session1)), Written Evidence


Scottish Council Foundation develops leading edge thinking and world class practice to address the strategic challenges facing Scotland and other modern economies and societies in an age of complexity and rapid change.

It produces informed research, drawing on extensive international and local networks. And it is committed to action. Its focus is to make things happen and to contribute to real change. The Foundation works with government, business and communities in many fields including education, the economy, health, governance, tensions in the fabric of society, and the challenge of adapting to the future.

Scottish Council Foundation, a non-profit organisation, is funded through charitable contributions and commercial projects.

Contributions to the Education Debate

The Foundation has published a number of influential reports and undertaken a series of events to explore the fundamentals of learning:

·Children, Families and Learning: A new agenda for education which considered the "who, what, when, where and why" questions of school-age learning. The report was published in June 1999 in collaboration with Children in Scotland.

·Glasgow Citizens' Jury on Lifelong Learning took place as part of the Glasgow Learning Inquiry in May 1999 (commissioned by the former Glasgow Development Agency and conducted with Opinion Leader Research). The Jury's recommendations had a significant bearing on the development of the city's REAL network of learning centres.

·Changing Schools: education in a knowledge society was published in the summer of 2000, forming the output from a one-day workshop with a range of key stakeholders, designed to provide a challenging analysis of the scale of transformation needed in the schools system if it is to satisfy the changing economic and social needs of the modern world.

·Learning to Change: Scottish education in the early 21st century by Keir Bloomer was published in the summer of 2001, making the case for radical change in the purpose of secondary schools.

·Changing Schools: Highland and Fife, a series of in-depth workshops in two education authorities engaging children, young people, parents and teachers in dialogue about what's working well, what needs to change and what's missing from their educational experiences.

·Learning Network: we have established a powerful network to develop and progress both our thinking and our action in the field of education and learning, also drawing on the international expertise and longer term perspectives of our International Futures Forum (

Evidence to the Committee

The Foundation welcomes the opportunity afforded by the national debate. Our Learning Network will contribute a written submission to the Executive and the Committee; and we hope that our other publications will prove useful in the general inquiry.

We have considered carefully how best to approach the opportunity now offered to give oral evidence to the Committee. We are aware that the Committee will receive a great deal of material in evidence. The challenge will be to make sense of it all and draw meaningful conclusions. This is a task the Foundation has itself grappled with for a number of years. This note therefore offers three examples of the frameworks we have used and developed to assist in ordering and processing our own thinking in this complex area. We offer in this note some aids to thinking and organisation, rather than a set of conclusions for action (although we are happy to expand on them in evidence, and will concentrate on actions in our written submission to the inquiry). We see the opportunity to give oral evidence primarily as a chance to explore mental frameworks - which can constrain or release our thinking.

Beyond the Clockwork Orange?


This model was developed at a meeting of our International Futures Forum (IFF) in April this year ( It draws heavily on input from Roberto Carneiro, former Education Minister in Portugal, now an adviser to the OECD and other international bodies on education, and a member of the IFF.

Roberto offers a grid space to consider models of education. There are three learning/teaching styles; three possible social/economic contexts; three means of delivery; and three options for who owns or drives the education system. These four axes provide a multitude of possible practices. Generally, it seems that the developed world has lived for a long time with a system that:

·teaches facts

·is designed for an industrial economy

·is based on mass delivery

·and is owned - or driven - by a bureaucratic system

We call this world the `Clockwork Orange'.

The Clockwork Orange system seems to be moving, on all four dimensions. The delivery mechanism is more segmented, the context is a knowledge economy, there is more emphasis on learning to learn, and the ownership - or driver - of the system is moving from the bureaucracy to the demands of the market.

Yet there is another model in waiting - the learning society. In which people learn how to be and to create, live in a creative society, learn in a system tailored to their individual needs and owned or driven by the expressed desires of individuals and communities.

Empty this grid of the models we have suggested and it might prove to be a useful tool for the committee to consider both their own vision of the future education system, and to map the evidence received during the course of their inquiry.

The Future of Schools

As the Committee will already have found, this is a potentially vast subject. A neat summary of the complex debate can be found in the OECD's publication What Schools for the Future? This contains six possible scenarios for the future of schooling developed through the OECD/Centre for Educational Research and Innovation programme on `Schooling for Tomorrow'. As the report itself says, " While this does not exhaust approaches to forward-looking policy thinking, scenario development is a particularly effective way of bringing together `the big picture' of strategic aims, the long term processes of change, and multiple sets of variables."

Of the six scenarios, two suggest the continued unfolding of existing models: `the status quo extrapolated'. The first scenario suggests strong bureaucratic systems resisting radical change, maintaining `robust bureaucratic school systems'. The second scenario presents more market-oriented schooling models in terms of organisation, delivery and management: `extending the market model'. Two more scenarios describe a substantial strengthening of present schools with new dynamism, recognition and purpose:

`re-schooling'. Scenario three reinvents schools as centres of community and social capital formation with high levels of public trust and funding: `schools as core social centres'. Scenario four sees a reinvention of schools as `focussed learning organisations', where everything revolves not around the community agenda but around the knowledge agenda of exploration, innovation, highly motivated, networked learning. Finally, the OECD considers two future scenarios in which there is a significant decline in the position of schools: `De-schooling'. In scenario five, `learning networks and the network society', school ceases to be the primary location for learning as non-formal learning, ICT and communities of interest take over as the main channels. In scenario six, `the meltdown scenario', the driving force is the exodus of teachers from the system due to eg age profile, recruitment and retention. This scenario could stimulate both a back to basics, large classes, three Rs retrenchment and a move to more innovative ways of delivering education that do not rely on the old models that are visibly collapsing.

This scenario set also provides a guide to organising thinking about both the present and the future of Scottish schooling. An ideal strategic policy stance for moving into this uncertain future will be robust against all six scenarios. That should be a test for the validity of the conclusions to the national debate.

Barriers to Change

Finally, we offer the following model - from our second Changing Schools workshop. Our first workshop had concluded that there is a broad consensus in the education community in Scotland that the system we have is in need of radical overhaul to make it fit for the modern age. Yet, in spite of this consensus and a good deal of energy for what seems like a natural evolution within the system, little changes. We therefore conducted a series of interviews with a variety of stakeholders to identify the barriers to change in the education system. We derived the following model:

We heard in practice that the barriers to change were:

Diagram - Barriers Preventing what is trying to Happen

·the governance system - rules, standards, exams, inspectors etc keep things as they are;

the curriculum - teachers cannot teach what they know is needed, and pupils cannot learn what they need to learn because the curriculum is restrictive and overloaded;

·the infrastructure - you cannot teach for the 21st century in spaces designed for a Victorian model of education

We also heard a critique that suggested there is no vision for the future of education - and that constrains progress in any of the other areas. The result of this work was to suggest `symbolic actions' in each of these four domains that would in themselves be modest and affordable, but would - if successful - validate underlying principles that could be applied to much larger scale systems change. The Foundation's practical work since has been to initiate such actions.

Our most recent research, for example, has examined best practice in modern school design from around the world and derived a set of 13 design criteria for new build schools which we believe are robust against any outcome to the national debate on education and which can be applied now in eg PFI new buildings and in refurbishment of existing premises.

Guiding Principles

In conclusion, we offer five guiding principles or central concerns we see as critical in the national debate. We place emphasis on the following:

·future consciousness: an education system preparing for an uncertain future rather than a disappearing past

·diversity: more room for individual preference, diverse provision, one size fits one

·feedback: better feedback leads to more responsible action, open up more channels including the views of pupils

·relationship: the shift from the world of Clockwork Orange is effected by privileging primary over secondary relationships in learning

·learning: should be present throughout the system. Consider the principles we wish to privilege in the education system and apply them to all actors. How can we have an education system that learns?

Graham Leicester


Scottish Council Foundation


CBI Scotland welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the Committee's Inquiry into the Purposes of Scottish Education. Education is a major issue for Scottish businesspeople, and one on which CBI Scotland has lobbied actively in recent years.

CBI Scotland recognises that the last ten years have seen much progress in Scottish education, with greater levels of attainment as measured by qualifications, more attention given to links between business and education, and the development of the Higher Still reforms. Yet business remains concerned that this progress is not obviously translating into increased prosperity. For example, while Scotland has a more highly qualified workforce than the rest of the UK in most occupational categories, its labour productivity is no higher and if anything a little lower. Data such as this leads business to feel that the time is right for a more radical look at the future development of Scottish education.

We therefore welcome the National Debate on Education, and the Committee's parallel inquiry, and we are seeking to ensure that the business community engages in this debate both within itself and in dialogue with other stakeholders. We have sought to do this through:

·Organising three business breakfasts on education reform to be held in late June, with a mixed audience of businesspeople and those from education, and with speakers offering differing views on the future of education

·Discussions in the CBI Scotland Business Education Coalition, a small group consisting of a mix of senior CBI members and other stakeholders.

·Discussions at our CBI Council meetings

Through these events we are developing our views, with the intention of submitting a formal input to the National Debate in July. We would be happy to inform the Committee of our developing thinking in oral evidence, supplemented by a copy of our submission to the National Debate when completed.

The purposes of education

Broadly speaking, most businesspeople would see the purpose of education as a preparation for adult life, both in terms of personal development and in terms of making an active contribution to wider society. Unsurprisingly, we would emphasise the importance of the economic dimension of this contribution. A prosperous economy gives a society more choices in how it wishes to tackle its problems and order its affairs. Equally, individuals who have the skills and aptitudes to negotiate the labour market and choose fulfilling employment are probably more likely to be fulfilled and effective in their other social roles - the converse is also true.


As the Committee's discussion paper points out, we live in a time of considerable social and economic change. Labour markets and career patterns are very different to what they were a generation ago. Against this background, the CBI has sought over the last couple of years to clarify what `employability' means in the modern labour market, through wide consultation with businesses of all types and sizes. For this purpose, we have defined employability as:

`the possession by an individual of the qualities and competences required to meet the changing needs of employers and customers and thereby help to realise his or her aspirations in the world of work'

The core qualities and competences which our members believe this involves are:

·Attitudes compatible with work opportunities - we cannot overestimate the importance of attitudes such as a desire to learn, to apply that learning, to improve and take advantage of change, and to make a difference.

·Values such as honesty and personal integrity

·The basic skills of literacy and basic numeracy

·The defined core skills of communication, numeracy, IT, working with others and problem solving

·Customer service skills

·Relevant job specific skills and knowledge

·The ability to manage one's own career

It is worth noting that while terminology may differ, there is a significant overlap between this definition and other contemporary thinking about the outcomes of education.

With the exception of `job specific skills and knowledge', business expects Scottish education to give all youngsters a good grounding in all of those employability characteristics. In addition, we would expect `enterprise education' (in terms of awareness of the opportunities for enterprise and self employment, the skills needed to exploit those opportunities, basic economic/business literacy).

Recent years, and the rise of the Education for Work and Enterprise agenda, have seen a sustained attempt to enable and encourage schools to highlight and develop many of these characteristics. A lot of good material has been produced (some by business) and many schools have worked hard and achieved a great deal. However, this guidance and cross-curricular theme-type approach has been laid on top of a subject-led curriculum and an assessment regime weighted towards knowledge rather than skills. Given this and the burdens teachers are under, it is not surprising that there is evidence that the penetration of EfWE across schools and within departments is often slow. This is compounded by the difficulties in measuring EfWE activity. In the light of this, business will want to examine the case for a more radical reconfiguring of the curriculum.

Matthew Farrow

CBI Scotland


Theme 1: Coping With Change And Uncertainty

·Scottish Education -in line with the Untied Nations Statements on education - should aim strenuously and continuously to educate the whole person, meeting everyone's "physical, intellectual, social and spiritual needs".

·We should educate our young people to be loving, caring and compassionate; to have a sense of wonder, appreciation of beauty ad respect for all; and to commit themselves to the common good, to serving others and to building up society.

·Stability and real human development - and hence education - has to be built on a sense of the dignity of all and on the importance of caring relationships that build people up and seek to bring justice and peace.

Theme 2: Engaging With Ideas

·Knowledge and intellectual education is important but has to be combined with - and must not eclipse - formative education. This includes the ability to evaluate and discern the value of knowledge and technology.

·Instilling values is a crucial part of education. There is no value-free education. We need to attend closely to what values we want to form our young people in. Education for citizenship must include helping pupils address the moral dimensions of issues in society as well as giving them the human resources (skills, conviction and enthusiasm) to actively engage in society.

Theme 3: Keeping Everyone Involved In Education

·Education is much broader than what happens in schools. The key role of families as well as the part that churches, other faith communities and other agencies play needs to be more strongly affirmed and encouraged.

·Providing a "fair" education for all does not mean an equal distribution of resources.

·Really valuing all people and building a strong caring and consistent ethos or relationships is essential to keeping pupils engaged and providing effective education for all.

Theme 4: Promoting A Sense Of Identiy

·The uniqueness of each individual and the real and increasing diversity and plurality of communities and groups (and their diverging needs) within Scotland must be recognised, affirmed, provided for and celebrated. A tolerant and free society accepts difference.

·The overall education system must be genuinely inclusive but this does not mean that this should be true of all "places" where schooling occurs. Diversity in educational needs, language, ethnicity and faith - and their attendant educational needs need to be taken seriously and met effectively.

·Education for mutual understanding and the promotion of an integrated - if diverse - society are important.

Theme 5: Developing Necessary Skills

The full person needs to be educated in a balanced and integrated way. Serious attention, value, time and resources needs to be given to spiritual, moral, emotional, creative, artistic dimensions as well as developing innovative and critical thinking skills in intellectual education.

Education must develop the full potential and meet all the needs of pupils. Humans are made for relationships and are social beings. The needs of society also need to be considered - but not in a way that dehumanises - but rather that supports families and humanises the world of work and the life of society in general.

Theme 6: Fitting Structure To Purpose

·Education should be - child focused - family centred - community based.

·Effective education occurs in all manner of places at all manner of times. The state should encourage all "partners" in this to take their responsibilities seriously and provide support appropriately. Schooling is important - not least in its socialising function - but realistic demands should be made of it and adequate resourcing provided, teachers being highly valued and supported.

This paper is intended as a response to the reflections and questions proposed by the Education Committee of the Scottish Parliament in connection with the National Debate on Education. It is

based closely on "A Christian Vision for Scottish Education", a document produced by "Action of Churches Together in Scotland (ACTS)".

Andrew Brookes,

Convener, ACTS Education Group,

[The member churches of ACTS are the Church of Scotland, the Roman Catholic Church, the Scottish Episcopal Church, the United Free Church, the United Reformed Church, the Methodist Church, the Salvation Army, the Society of Friends.]

It is our conviction that:

·Each child is important

·Education must meet the greatest needs and the greatest potential of each child

·Education should be about preparation for life

·Education must be concerned with the development of the whole person, with personal relationships and with a person's contribution to society.

·Education should be child focused and family centred

·Education is not merely functional or utilitarian but has intrinsic value

·Teachers must be valued and supported and their professionalism recognise

·Values such as justice, love and respect for others which are shared by many world faiths should permeate the whole curriculum.

THEME 1: Coping With Change And Uncertainty

A Christian View Of Persons

·People are to be valued not only for what they can do or what they can produce but for who they are and because they are created in the image of God.

God, in whose image we are made, is not only rational but is also loving and feels with and for creation. We therefore must understand ourselves as rational beings whose senses and emotions are essential to an appreciation of what it means to be a person.

Within the school situation this "feeling" aspect of our personhood must be seen as just as important, if not more important, than the mental, thinking, aspect. Our rationality can never be separated from that other part of us which the Bible calls our heart.

·All our human capacities are part of God's gift and education in its broadest sense is directed to the complete fulfilment of them. That is why education must be concerned with the formation of the whole person - aesthetic, political, moral, spiritual, physical and social.

·Children's gifts and rights need to be acknowledged. This means making a greater effort to involve pupils in policy-making decisions which affect them

Often, parents and teachers, if asked what they want for their children, will answer that they want them to do well. But what do they mean by "doing well"? We believe that this goes well beyond academic achievement and involves the development of all of a person's talents.

·It should also mean that they will develop qualities such as fairness, respect for others and a sense of responsibility. Such qualities will help them be well-adjusted young people able to make sense of an increasingly complex world. Doing well is about well-being and wholeness. It is about success in relationships and knowing the source of true happiness.

Education is not just a collection of qualifications as a means to a future end. It is about the development of individual talents and developing ways of understanding and behaving to provide young people with a foundation on which to base moral and ethical decisions which respect the dignity of themselves and others and the nature of the inter-dependent world in which we live. Education is not merely functional and utilitarian, it has intrinsic value.


A Christian vision of education is rooted in the wider appreciation of what it means to be a human being within God's creation. Our relationships to one another and to the world in which we live are of fundamental importance.

·But education is not just about the whole person as an individual. It is also about that person as a member of community and in relationships with others.

Thus education involves families, schools as communities, church communities and other religious and social groupings. This provides a context for the development of the concept of citizenship and its educational delivery.

A Christian Vision For Teachers And Learners

At a primitive level a child needs food but learns about love in the way the food is given. There is a natural thirst for learning but children are not always convinced of the need for education. Nevertheless skills and information, like food, can be served in a number of ways. The love of learning can be communicated - it will depend very much on the teacher's approach and the part they play in attitudes and motivation.

·The interface between teacher and learner is a major focus of education. Every teaching experience carries with it impressions and value assumptions.

Each child deserves the maximum possible attention and support from the teacher. It is important to set children appropriate goals and enable them, whatever their abilities or gifts, to maximise their potential, and taste success.

The transmission of knowledge, skills and love of learning, the arousing of a sense of wonder and the desire to explore, ask questions, develop imaginations and build up self-respect, are all central to the learning process. These depend so much on the care and interest of the teacher. Thus any Christian vision for education must be one which sees as vital that teachers themselves should be valued, supported and their professionalism recognised.

·We believe that in the Secondary sector Guidance Teachers have a positive contribution to make to this social and moral development of pupils and should not just be called in when there are problems and used as fire-fighters or trouble-shooters.

· In a society where there is such a rapid shift of values the teacher has a duty not only to read the signs of the times, but to be a participant in developing positive attitudes by encouraging young people to set themselves against the false values of the world - individualism, selfishness, materialism. This is the role of teaching as a ministry.

·For Catholic Education there is an additional dimension. An essential feature of Catholic Education is that it engages in Christian formation, mission, and evangelisation.

We need to encourage people to adopt different attitudes to, and therefore feel differently about, themselves, others, and the world. To feel differently is to value differently, and valuing differently lies at the heart of human spiritual formation and transformation.

Theme 2: Engaging With Ideas

Values In Education

We want to raise issues about the place of values in the education of the whole person.

In 1995 the Scottish Consultative Council on the Curriculum claimed in a publication called The Heart of the Matter: " is not a commodity, a collection of qualifications acquired as a means to a future end. It is an important end in itself, concerned first and foremost with the development of individual talents and capacities and with the fulfilment of personal goals in a complex and changing society. The very process of being educated develops in young people ways of understanding and behaving which help to structure the inner self and to promote the recognition that personal motives and actions must be mediated by the need for social responsibility.

·The imperative is to provide young people with a sound foundation on which to base moral and ethical decisions and behaviour which respect the dignity of themselves and others and the nature of the inter-dependent world in which we live. This is the heart of the matter." ("The Heart of the Matter" - SCCC Publication 1995)

Perhaps living in an ethos where personal performance and the success factor seem so important makes it more difficult for young people to cope in a world where there is already so much insecurity. There are many pupils who come from homes where there is little or no incentive to learn and who for various circumstances outwith their control face the very real prospect of unemployment and social exclusion. How well are they equipped to cope with life and what is their sense of worth?

·Any education policy which expends time and money on competition and achievement at the expense of the "heart of the matter" offers the distinct possibility of many feeling that they are failures if they do not measure up.

There is no value-free education. A Christian vision for education recognises how Christian values may permeate the curriculum and influence attitudes to pupils as well as the role of the teacher. Furthermore values such as justice and love while rooted in the Christian understanding of God, are also shared by other world faiths thus creating an area of common interest. Alongside these other faiths Christians have a duty to ask that the values and educational policies of schools are made explicit so that they can be recognised for what they are.

While acknowledging the need to understand political structures and processes of rights, obligations, democracy etc, we do not believe that insights into particular political issues are the most important concern here.

·Rather education for citizenship should concentrate on helping pupils to recognise and address the moral and ethical issues which they face in society and equip pupils with the skills and insights necessary to reflect on these issues and to make responsible decisions.

Teaching and Learning

In the education process we need to put less emphasis on passing on information and much more on helping pupils learn how to acquire knowledge and grow in wisdom.

A document produced by the Scottish Council Foundation, Children, families and learning - A New Agenda for Education, maintains that we have to recognise the distinction between what it describes as "the how of children's learning that is learning as process, and the what, that is learning as product - instrumentalist learning with its emphasis on verifiable knowledge and skills and experiential learning with its stress on understanding and awareness - the contrast between the an approach to learning which is measurable by hard indicators -i.e. the culture of numbers - and a culture of meaning." In the training of teachers and in curriculum guidelines more attention needs to be paid to the "how". Certainly we would claim that there is a danger today of equating learning and schooling.

·As a result students have acquired exam-passing skills at the expense of thinking skills and aptitudes for lifelong learning.

As Christians we believe in the need to stimulate the "sense of emotion, the spiritual and the aesthetic" throughout the curriculum and recognise, in particular, the contribution of Religious and Moral Education.

·Sensibility, defined as emotional, moral, spiritual and aesthetic feelings or standards should be a Learning Outcome.

God is also the creating God who is always doing new things, so another question must be how can we best help young people be creative and use their imaginations? For children of all capacities there are a number of key questions about the curriculum which may be put from the Christian perspective.

·Is the pupil learning wonder? Do children notice the world with fascination, curiosity, animation - or do they take it all for granted?

·Are pupils learning respect - respect for the world and for other people as well as for themselves?

·Are they being encouraged to be flexible in the light of new knowledge and understanding?

·Are they becoming aware of the diverse systems, cultures, and loyalties which may make claims upon them and are they being given the skills to deal with these?

·Does the curriculum prepare our pupils for life as citizens of the world with a sense of belonging and of responsibility?

·Does it question the accepted materialistic values of our society?

Does the curriculum empower young people to ask questions, to be dissatisfied, to challenge corruption and to seek to change systems without having to opt out?

Theme 3: Keeping Everyone Involved In Education

Communities Of Learning

We welcome the Scottish Executive's recognition - implicit in its promotion of New Community Schools - that the potential of all children can best be realised where there is an integrated approach to education. It is our belief that if full attention is to be paid to addressing the child's social, emotional, developmental and health needs, the different services involved in community schools will have to develop ways of trust and co-operation.

· We believe that schools will become more effective places of learning when what happens outside the classroom is linked more closely to what happens within it. They need to provide a consistent ethos.

·Practising participation in community affairs and political events can foster a culture in which people take citizenship and responsibilities seriously.

We welcome the Scottish Executive's proposals that parents - prime educators of their children - should have a greater involvement in their children's formal education but we believe that to make this process of sharing work we need to do more to empower parents, especially those from socially disadvantaged backgrounds. Parental participation must be more than occasional meetings with the teacher or attendance at school boards and PTA meetings.

·We welcome the appointment of Child and Family Officers by certain Local Authorities

·We recognise the efforts being made by many schools to promote positive behaviour by early contact with parents of pupils who are experiencing difficulties and by seeking to establish better lines of communication with parents.

The role of parents, carers and many other people, agencies, employers and voluntary organisations is also recognised and needs to be fostered.

Chaplains, local churches and other Christian and religious agencies can and do make a contribution to overall education. We urge their potential to be more clearly recognised and their role, within the vision of wide "communal" education, to be fostered and supported.

Theme 4: Promoting A Sense Of Identity


In school each person is to be valued as made in the image and likeness of God Each person is valued for himself or herself and yet each is also seen as part of a community and as deriving a sense of worth and belonging in and from that community.

·We are invested with significance by those who have need of us and by an awareness of our dependence on others.

A sense of self-worth, personal well-being, self-confidence and an understanding of what caring for self means, is a prerequisite for an understanding of how to care for others. Qualities such as co-operation and interdependence are essential in our society of diverse people and cultures, a society which so often sees competition as the only way to survive.

·Education is always a communal pursuit and more attention will need to be given to the human experience of learning. How do people learn? Sharing is as necessary for survival as competition. Any setting of individual targets needs to take this into account.


A Christian vision of education is rooted in the wider appreciation of what it means to be a human being within God's creation. Our relationships to one another and to the environment are of fundamental importance.

·But education is not just about the whole person as an individual it is also about that person in community and in relationship.

Thus education involves families, schools as communities, church communities and other religious and social groupings and society at large.

It is important that education concern itself with the inherited wisdom of our culture(s), including their specifically Scottish dimensions and expressions.

Diversity And Integration

·The uniqueness of each individual and the real and increasing diversity and plurality of communities and groups (and their diverging needs) within Scotland must be recognised, affirmed, provided for and celebrated. A tolerant and free society accepts difference.

·The overall education system must be genuinely inclusive but this does not mean that this should be true of all "places" where schooling occurs. Diversity in educational needs, language, ethnicity and faith - and their attendant educational needs need to be taken seriously and met effectively.

·Education for mutual understanding and the promotion of an integrated - if diverse - society are important.

Besides the role of professional educators, the role of parents, carers and many other people, agencies, employers and voluntary organisations is also recognised and needs to be fostered.

Chaplains, local churches and other Christian and religious agencies can and do make a contribution to overall education. We urge their potential to be more clearly recognised and their role, within the vision of wide "communal" education, to be fostered and supported.

Theme 5: Developing Necessary Skills


The "ideal" of a value-free education system has coloured much of the debate concerning indoctrination and promoted a resistance to suggestions that the Christian faith may have something substantial to say about the curriculum. We believe Christians have much to contribute to a discussion on curriculum.

As long as knowledge is conceived as a value-free mirror image of reality for which no one need take personal responsibility, then the curriculum is simply a matter of selection and logical arrangement. If the knowledge that makes up the curriculum is someone's knowledge, an interpretation of the world, then the question becomes that of which vision of the world is to be promoted.

·The design of the curriculum is not simply a matter of the juxtaposition of a series of facts; it includes developmental, ethical, social, pedagogical, economic, aesthetic, spiritual, and other considerations. It is a creative response to a specific educational situation.

·What educates, however, are not only the facts to be learned but the way they are organised and sequenced, the connections made, the implicit messages, selections and emphases, exclusions and silences, the methods used which call upon the learners to be active or passive, competitive or co-operative, committed or disinterested, partners or consumers.

A curriculum thus becomes the purveyor of a particular world-view - a way of understanding and being in the world.

It is important therefore to look at the curriculum in terms of entitlement and not just a yardstick against which competence is tested - the common curriculum should offer all pupils a wide range of knowledge and skills regardless of their apparent competence or capacity to absorb. There should be room for individual learning which is rewarding only to the individuals concerned.

There is a need, therefore, for a broad and balanced curriculum - one which does not only concentrate on the vocational aspect. We are aware that already schools are losing their power to allocate futures to pupils - at least in employment terms. Many young people can no longer envision their futures, and are increasingly sceptical that academic or even vocational credentials will provide them with a passport to one. In the post-modern world the idea of a career is becoming redundant with the exception perhaps of a growing managerial class. Different children learn differently. Any curriculum needs to take account of the child's individuality, culture and social background.

·Education is too often seen as something delivered by experts rather than as an ongoing process that is shaped by all kinds of groups and individuals outside the classroom - sports instructors, youth leaders, television programmers, internet designers, pop singers.

·In particular we should acknowledge and foster the concept of the family as a learning context, recognising the role of parents as prime educators

·We welcome the proposal that education for citizenship is to be embedded in the curriculum and that attention should be paid to the nature of schools as institutions - particularly to the manner in which they develop a sense of community, foster consistent values and an ethos based on mutual respect and tolerance.

·We believe that the prevalence of prejudice and intolerance and other problems such as alcohol and drug abuse, and the rise in emotional disorders among young people, have to be seen as part of the challenge of school education and the curriculum. Moreover the curriculum should fully value the diversity of both Scottish indigenous cultures and Scottish multi-ethnic cultures.

Preparation for work is only one aspect of preparation for life which should be the goal of education. There is too much emphasis today on the activities involved in providing and producing and not enough attention paid to the possibilities of unemployment and how to cope with that. There has been too little attention paid to learning about how to deal with increased leisure time. Education must continue to be broadly based and not become too specialised in terms of preparation for work.

·It follows that while work-related learning should have a place, it should not be at the heart of the curriculum.

We do not believe that the only priority for the curriculum is individual prosperity and earnings potential.

Theme 6: Fitting Structure To Purpose

We recognise that all experiences are formative and have an educational potential. Even when more consciously understood and planned, education is a life-long process. For these reasons it has a multiplicity of settings, some of which are concurrent in their impact on any one individual. As well as formal education at school and other educational institutions, serious attention needs to be paid to the informal and even hidden curriculum and to the ethos and values of these educational settings. The role of home, churches and other social and recreational activities and groups, as well as the increasing place of ICT, television and the media in general needs to be seriously considered and carefully evaluated. Attention to - and development of - these interconnecting "agencies and instruments" can help reduce the stresses associated with some of the transitions that are part of the journey through (formal) educational formation. The place of recreation also has an important educational role and, for the young, should not be reduced by excessive attention to formal education.

·Education should be - child-focused - family centred - community based.

Andrew Brookes,


ACTS Education Group.



1 The Scottish Inter Faith Council considers it important to facilitate widespread debate and mutual understanding on the subject of education among its diverse membership of faith communities. Recognising that there will be areas where consensus may not be possible the Council offers the following reflections on the purpose of education and suggests a possible way forward for education in Scotland. As people of faith the members of the Scottish Inter Faith Council are committed to an education system that is centred on the physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual and aesthetic development of the pupils. Putting children at the centre of the educational process has implications that would need a radical change of emphasis rather than a radical change to the system per se.


2 We all recognise the need for our young people to cope with a rapidly changing world. It is important to have young people who are open to new ideas and willing to accept new challenges and who have a sense of adventure in the possibilities that the future might hold for them. We would want our schools to be places where pupils have a sense of their own self worth and belief in their own potential is developed. This will happen if each child, no matter what their ability or background, is treated with respect by their teachers.

3 It is also important to help them find what T S Elliott calls the `still point of the turning world'. More should be done to teach pupils in our schools stillness and relaxation techniques. They should be encouraged to appreciate silence and be given moments of stillness to find their own inner stability and be taught how to reflect on their experience and what meaning it might have for them. All this is necessary if pupils are to grow spiritually and learn how to live healthily and happily in our complex and often stressful society. This approach to stillness and silence would be helped if each school community had a quiet room to which pupils could retreat for some space and relaxation. There would be need for this space to be supervised and help from appropriate professionals (teachers, therapists, counsellors) could sometimes be on hand in this room to help pupils, especially those under particular pressures, relax and cope with the exigencies of their reality. It would also be possible for this `sacred space' to be used by those pupils who are required by their religion to pray at certain times throughout the school day.

Religious Education

4 Scotland is now a diverse and multi-cultural society but we are not always good at coping with diversity or respecting difference. We are constantly being faced with examples of xenophobia and research which shows the existence of racial and religious discrimination. It is essential for the future of our society that young people are taught to respect and appreciate diversity. For this they need to know about the different faiths and cultures that are part of our society and so understand differences in dress and customs. Many young people in our faith communities have their identity undermined and are made to suffer because of this lack of understanding. Religious education has an important part to play in educating our young people about the beliefs and way of life of others. It is important that in this all religions and faiths be given equal status. While we appreciate that curriculum time is limited we would hope that the religion of the pupils in any particular school would be acknowledged, taught and respected. No child should go through school learning about the beliefs of others while their own is ignored. It is also important, however, to recognise how easy it is for communities to live in isolation from one another.

5 We would want to stress the importance of the Scottish approach to religious education. An educational, multi-faith, reflective approach to RME, which encourages pupils to find their own purpose and meaning in life, is essential we believe for the future harmony of our society. It recognises different identities while acknowledging the need for all to work together as common citizens. In this way it has a vital role to play in citizenship education as it promotes mutual understanding and cooperation. It is our experience that many countries in Eastern Europe which have recently been characterised by religious tension and warfare e.g. Bosnia, are working to introduce a similar approach to religious education as they see this as essential for peace and stability. Religious education is often misunderstood by politicians and educators alike and as a result is often under funded and under supported. It is important that the Scottish Parliament recognise the contribution of religious and moral education and upholds its importance by making sure that adequate time and resources are given to it.

Religious Observance

6 While being proud of Scotland's record in religious and moral education we do not agree with the approach to religious observance. We feel that it may not be productive or respectful for non-denominational schools to be holding services of worship in Christian churches, particularly when the majority of children are not churchgoers. We are involved in the current working group looking at religious observance but we would like to take this opportunity to say that we would favour a change in the law which would replace religious observance with an assembly which would provide a common time for reflection on human values and celebrate the common life of the school as well as the commonality of all faiths. This could be similar to the Time for Reflection that takes place at the Scottish Parliament. We believe that this would be valuable for the pupils and for the community of the school.


7 As people of faith values are important to us and, we believe, for society as a whole. It is important that children and young people develop values that will help them get on with others and contribute positively to society. The qualities of wisdom, compassion, justice and integrity are inscribed on the mace in the Scottish Parliament. We would ask that these values be made explicit in the school system and be the basis for developing a programme of values education which will equip young people with skills in decision making.


8 During the past ten years teachers have been bombarded by new ideas and developments that we believe have led to information overload. No sooner have teachers been getting to grips with one development and another comes along. New developments in the education system need to be paced to allow practitioners to do their job and sufficient in-service training must be given to support the introduction of these new developments. The pressure of extra work and innovation has undermined the confidence of teachers, caused increasing stress within the profession and resulted in a decline in their involvement in extra-curricular activities that are an important part of education and an invaluable way of establishing good teacher-pupil relationships. What is needed is a period of stability in which teachers are able to use their own creativity within the classroom and feel supported as valuable professionals. It is essential, in our view, that teachers' professionalism is recognised and that they are more widely involved in the consultations that ought to precede innovation. Recent failures in the examination system and the debacle of the SQA could have been avoided if the warnings of teachers expressed often and openly, had been heeded.

Education System

9 We are concerned about an education system that seems to be too focused on examinations, targets and league tables. This means that the school curriculum concentrates on this and many pupils feel that they emerge as failures even at a young age. We would want to see a curriculum which is more directed to fulfilling the potential of young people and building on the many and diverse gifts and talents that they have. Instead of the curriculum being driven by examinations and targets we would want much more freedom for teachers to draw up individually tailored and relevant programmes for their pupils, recognising that they are not all academic high flyers and have many other practical and creative gifts that ought to be developed and encouraged. Education, which focussed on pupils' interests and aptitudes, would more effectively engage pupils in the whole educational process. If this were to be taken seriously it has implications for class sizes, staffing and initial teacher education as well as in-service training. It would also mean that school and local authority development plans would be more realistic beginning from the chalk face rather than from the top down as happens at the moment.

10 We have a concern on the emphasis that is being placed on information technology and enterprise in schools. While recognising that enterprise education can bring about the development of skills and talents that might otherwise lie dormant we would not want to see this happening at as young an age as is happening in some schools at present nor would we want to see education determined by this. This would suggest that education is only of value if it is directed towards business and the making of money. Computer and IT skills are no doubt necessary for the technological age in which we live but basic skills must not be neglected. Too much computer activity can mean that children are not engaging with people. It is important that our young people learn to communicate and cooperate with one another. We see the need to underline the importance of face-to-face communication skills and the need for cooperation rather than competition in the whole educational enterprise.

The Role Of Community

11 We do realise the importance of schooling but we are also aware of its limitations. Education, which is a life long process, is the result not just of what happens in school but also what happens in families and other communities. It needs the cooperation of all these elements if our children are to be truly educated. We believe that school education needs to be supported by families and would favour parenting classes not just for those who are parents but also for pupils at the secondary stage of schooling. We believe that school should be divided into stages: pre-school, primary, middle and secondary. Each stage would have its own appropriate approaches and methods of learning. We would like to see all these stages under the one roof and forming one school which is located and part of the local community. This kind of school could promote a sense of community within it and encourage older pupils to work with younger ones. It could encourage parents and other members of the wider community to support and be involved in the education process. We do realise that there are many criticisms aimed at such a proposal and suggestions that the wide range of subjects cannot be offered in smaller schools. We are not convinced about this and do not think that large schools encourage a sense of community or are the best preparation for life.

Tuesday 25 June 2002 (20th meeting 2002, Session 1) Oral Evidence



Inquiry into the Purposes of Scottish Education

I enclose Aberlour Child Care Trust's response to the above consultation. I apologise for the late arrival, however we have been gathering information for the purpose from across the organisation.

One of the key thrusts of the work we undertake with young people is to facilitate their inclusion in main stream society. One major aspect is their education and place in their local schools.

Many of the children and young people we work with have had difficult and abusive family circumstances and they present as challenging and anti-social to the world. They may present significant difficulties within their schools. However the work undertaken in our projects shows over and over again that with appropriate work and support, nearly all children can be included in mainstream schools.

We feel that for the purpose of this inquiry it would be helpful to examine practice and provision currently available regarding Education within Aberlour. We have selected four Projects which we feel have addressed the Key Themes identified in the Inquiry Discussion Paper. All of these Projects work with young people who are marginalised or excluded. Some are viewed sympathetically by society, those children who are profoundly disabled mentally and/or physically, and attempts are made to reduce their isolation and offer them the same educational and life opportunities as others.

However most of the young people that these Projects work with are those whose behaviour has led them to be excluded from mainstream education provision or receiving a reduced timetable. Increasingly, the general public and unfortunately many members of the teaching profession, are demonising these children and young people seeing them as bad children, disrupting the education of others and therefore undeserving, unwilling and unable to be educated with `normal' childrenis call for exclusion or isolation is a worrying development, for these children are normal, it is their behaviour that is bad. Generally their behaviour is bad because they have not had normal experience opportunities and advantages.

They are the product of the cycle of poor educational achievement, limited opportunities, poverty and disenchantment. If society continues to view these children and young people in this manner then we are only perpetuating this cycle.

These four Projects are:-

The Sycamore Project - Kirkcaldy, Fife

Crannog Services - Dumfries, Dumfries & Galloway

Bellyeoman Road - Dunfermline, Fife

Moray Youth Action - Elgin Moray

All of these Projects have been recognised as being in the vanguard of good practice developing highly effective programmes and strategies to work within some of the most difficult and disadvantaged young people and their families in Scotland.

I hope this material is of use to you and would be happy to discuss any aspect further.

Stella Everingham

Director of Operations.

Purposes of Scottish Education - A Vision of the Future

The discussion document makes it clear that the intention is not to seek comments on immediate issues of current debate....."The aim is to think in a more visionary way". In order to gain a sense of what the future may hold twenty years from now it is useful to revisit the past and remember what life was like in 1982, twenty years ago. The amount and pace of change in our lives has been huge and has continued unabated. The prospect of this continuing is certain with the Scotland of 2022 having little resemblance of life in 2002. This needs to be taken into account in view of Scottish Education in the future.

When we create our view of future education we need to ensure that we use what we know about society and human development. While we all exist as individuals, we create differences in society based upon criteria such as, race, gender, religion that only serve the purpose of masking the commonality of human existence, aspirations, hopes and fears. Will these masks which create the artificial diversity currently in society still be as prominent in the future? The past twenty years has seen the world, let along Scotland, shrink to the global village. It should be anticipated that this process will continue over the next number of years and consequently as it does the common bond of our development and functioning as mature human beings should become paramount. The difference in the Education process and experience based upon unfounded beliefs and assumptions ascribed to ones gender or ethnicity which limit and disadvantage should reduce. The knowledge that we already possess regarding learning in terms of age, stage, style, retention etc common to us as human beings must be incorporated in our vision of education over the years ahead.

Our vision of the future must also be informed by the here and now. The dictionary defines education as: Train the mind and the abilities of; provide such training for. This definition implies that education, educates the mind, providing if you like the impetus to think and learn, acting as a catalyst. It also implies that we possess certain abilities and education assist us in the development of those abilities. Subsequently a two fold purpose is identified a here and now purpose to develop our abilities, and a future purpose, the potential for thought. A third purpose can also be drawn from this definition. That is the training of our abilities for certain tasks. Education it seems needs to be cognizant of these purposes in the future.

The purpose of education remains consistent and applicable where ever we are in Scotland and beyond.

·Education, educates the mind to think and learn

·Education develops our abilities

·Education trains our abilities for certain tasks

What will be helpful as education develops is anticipating that change and ongoing evolvement will continue and adjustments will need to be made. Education needs to be alive, vibrant and responsive to us as humans and the needs of tomorrow's society.

The Aberlour Child Care Trust has a long history and well established track record of developing and implementing forward looking, innovative and effective services for disadvantaged children and their families in Scotland. It has long been recognised, perhaps because of the inherent nature of Voluntary Agencies, that some of the most imaginative strategies for combating difficulties in contemporary societies has stemmed from developments in the voluntary sector

Appendix I

The Sycamore Project:

The Sycamore Project is a national resource for emotionally disturbed/behaviour disordered young people. The Project is a therapeutic community located in Kirkcaldy, Fife. It is a residential childcare resource currently comprised of three separate units. The vast majority of the Projects residents have had a very disrupted and negative education experience. Since The Sycamore Project was established in 1983 one of its main accomplishments has been to successfully reintegrate these young people back into mainstream education.

Education for the young people resident at The Sycamore Project has always been viewed as a high priority by the management and staff of the Project.

This is an acknowledgment of the academic, Social and psychological benefits to the individual young people of being involved in the process of normal education.

The work of The Sycamore Project is underpinned by a Humanist philosophy that recognises and believes in an individuals capability for growth and development. Through having the ability to learn, people can learn to change, understand the reasons for change, adapt to differing situations and change learned behaviours.

This message is given to a young person upon to admission to the Project along with a clear statement to the young person that they are a `normal' human being. This message is reinforced during discussion by offering an understanding of the reasons for their presenting behaviours and a belief in their capacity as a normal human being to behave normally to achieve and succeed.

An important part of this discussion relates to Education whereby the concept of `normal' young people attending `normal' schools is stated as being an expectation for all of the young people living at Sycamore.

For some young people who have not been able to sustain mainstream education and who have experienced multiple moves through their varying extremes of behaviour, this is the starting point for building self-esteem, self-worth and instilling belief that despite previous experiences, they could attend a mainstream school.

Prior to a young persons placement commencing at the Project initial planning has already taken place between the Project's Management team, the referring Social Work Department and potential local mainstream schools. Through the Project's long standing relationships with the schools and using relevant knowledge relating to the individual young person the management team attempt to match the needs of the individual to the most appropriate school.

If extra behavioural or learning support is identified as being necessary to sustain the placement then this is agreed upon and implemented prior to the young person commencing their schooling.

Normally the school placement is supported by their own internal systems and Sycamore staff however should it become problematic and unmanageable then the Project can negotiate with the referring Local Authority to provide funding for additional behavioural/learning support in order to sustain the young person at school.

The Sycamore Project has a successful history of re-establishing young people back into mainstream schooling who have previously been unable to attend and sustaining these placements. A major part of this success is due to the well established culture and expectation at the Project that the `Norm' is for young people to attend school.

Young people joining the Project generally want to be accepted by their new peer group and included in the day to day functioning of the Project. Upon admission they observe and are with young people who are attending school. They observe and experience the focus and attention that the care staff, domestic staff and management give to the young people in relation to their schooling.

Comments in the morning regarding how smart individuals look prior to leaving, ties being `sought' or straightened, checks on homework tasks and appropriate books for the day all reinforce to young people the value and worth that Project staff give to their attendance at school. Staff purposely engage young people at lunch and dinner times in conversations about their school day and spend time in the evenings assisting with homework tasks and ensuring that the next school day is prepared for. This constant reinforcement and attention to detail regarding schooling nurtures and maintains the culture which young people want to be part of through their need and desire to be included, involved, successful and important.

For some young people the prospect of attending school or achieving academically can be an alien concept and a terrifying thought due to negative previous experiences and in some cases being previously told that they will not be able to attend a mainstream school.

Through the Project's belief in a person's inherent desire to achieve and succeed the work of the staff focuses on stripping away any prescriptive labels a young person may have or preconceived notions acquired e.g. bad, about their inability to attend a school. This can be an arduous task with major input being required from a wide variety of sources. Furthermore imaginative planning is undertaken in relation to the type, style and structure of support necessary to enable the young person to succeed in their educational placement.

An important factor in the Project's ability to sustain young people in education is the quality of the relationships that exist between the Project and the many educational establishments used by the Project. These relationships have evolved over a period of almost two decades through a mutual appreciation and understanding of the roles, functions and practices of the individual schools and the Project.

Through this close collaborative practice individual relationships have been established between staff at all levels e.g. Project staff, teachers, headmasters, unit managers, guidance teachers, project management, year head's etc. One clear message has been and is always given to schools working with the Project and that is `we value you offering a placement to our young person but if it becomes problematic - it is our problem'. We do not expect schools to deal with some of the behaviours that we know our young people are capable of and we expect school staff to contact the Project when problems arise or are anticipated.

When difficulties do arise, appropriate Project staff can respond immediately to the school and address the issue quickly. This can be in the form of a walk in the school grounds for time out with support and input before returning to class or removal back to the Project for a period, a morning or afternoon. Staff and young people work through issues before negotiating with the school regarding when to return.

If a young person is going through a particularly unsettled period then the Project, through negotiation with the school, will withdraw the individual until an acceptable level of behaviour required for attendance at school is re-established. Negotiation with the school will then take place and the young person recommence.

Imaginative thinking and flexible practices are also key factors in sustaining school placements on the part of the Project and teaching staff. On numerous occasions specific Project staff have been required to support young people in the classroom setting by sitting adjacent to them, assisting with tasks and monitoring behaviour. This practice can take place during specific classes, parts of classes or on a restricted timetable. This takes skilled intervention by the staff member but also an understanding and acceptance by the teachers.

The sole purpose of this flexible type and level of support is to minimise the likelihood of the young person losing their educational placement through becoming involved in the school's exclusion policies.

All supports are monitored and evaluated regularly with any modifications occurring in relation to the needs and progress of the young person.

Communication systems are agreed upon between Project staff and identified key personnel at school, with liaison taking place on a planned basis but also as and when necessary. This can take the form of daily or weekly telephone contact, frequent review meetings or regular progress reports forwarded to the Project.

Despite past experiences young people joining the Project quickly respond to the culture, expectations, support and opportunity offered to them. In relation to school the young people's renewed feelings of self belief, esteem and efficacy are the catalysts that bring about the changes of attitude and behaviour which empowers young people through the process of education.

Appendix II

Crannog Service:

The recent focus on the education of looked after children is a welcome initiative. Many schools report a tension between the focus on league tables and social inclusion. This fails to recognize the importance of ensuring educational attainment by all young people. It is still possible to hear senior school staff including headteachers talk about `an acceptable casualty rate' and that `occasionally, a few have to be sacrificed for the good of the many'. The national debate must include a focus on those young people who have difficulty accessing education in the manner in which it is currently delivered.

A recent research study conducted by Aberlour Child Care Trust; `Outside Looking In, An opportunity to listen to the voices of young people looked after and excluded' confirmed the huge impact on young people of exclusion. These young people stressed their wish to be in full time education, while recognising the challenges they posed to others. Better Behaviour Better Learning offers the opportunity to design more a more flexible and imaginative curriculum that can meet the needs of young people. If we are to achieve a culture where life long learning is a reality we must ensure young people have a positive experience of education, classing themselves as learners. In my view this requires a shift in attitude of some teachers, seeing themselves as teachers of children rather than teachers of subjects.

Success and achievement should be built upon, even in tiny incremental stages. Individual Educational Plans could be used to greater effect with individual need addressed. The one size fits all approach does not benefit our most vulnerable children.

The Children's Act Scotland (1995) describes the role of the local authority as the corporate parent of `Looked After' children. The challenge of parenting requires a commitment to work together. Consideration should be given to identifying particular issues about inter agency work in a school context. Inter agency work has been identified as being helpful in reducing the risk of exclusion. The promotion of collaborative work between education, social work and others should be maintained.

The Crannog service aims to reintegrate excluded young people in to mainstream school and or other educational provision. It adopts an explicitly collaborative approach and actively involves young people in the creation of Individual Action Plans, reviewed on an eight weekly basis. Participation in Standard Grades is stressed with an alternative curriculum, ASDAN Youth Award Scheme, followed where appropriate. Staff work with young people in or out of school and the service is peripatetic, highly flexible and needs led. It does not provide a full time alternative to education but acts as a broker between young people, their families and schools.

The first challenge is to engage with young people, establishing their permission and cooperation. Once this has been achieved a combination of cognitive behavioural and solution-focussed approaches are used. Anger management, conflict resolution and a range of social educational methods are also used. Crannog regularly advocates on behalf of young people and provides reports for a wife range of meetings including Children's Hearings, Looked After Reviews and Exclusion meetings.

Young people attending Crannog have stressed their view that they wish to be more involved in the plans made by others. They want to have say in the sharing of information about them. This has particular relevance in the realm of education.

The numbers of young people supported in their community and accessing relevant educational provision has increased as a result of the partnership between the local authority and the Crannog service. University of Stirling is currently evaluating the service.

Much has been learned about the particular challenges of multi agency work within schools and the roll out of New Community Schools is a welcome development. We must broaden the agenda of Education to encompass all children. We must also ensure the current division of social care from education, reflected in the structure of many Local Authorities, is minimised.

Education is often identified as a `universal service' with all our children having entitlement in law to receive it. Why then is it still possible for some of our most vulnerable young people to be excluded not just from school but from the process of learning itself

Appendix III

Bellyeoman Road Dunfermline:

Bellyeoman Road is a residential home in the community for 5 young people with profound and complex needs. The home opened in 1985 caring for children who had previously lived in hospital. Currently we are providing residential care to young people who had lived at home.

Aims of the project:-

·To provide a home in the local community for children/young people with learning disabilities who are unable to live at home with their families.

·To enable these young people to develop mental, physical and social skills as far as possible within their ability to be independent

·To plan and prepare the young people for the next stage in their adult lives

Some of the young people have cerebral palsy, which has resulted in severe learning and physical disabilities, visual impairment, non-verbal communication and epilepsy. All young people require 24-hour care.

Each young person is treated as an individual enabling them to enjoy every day experiences as part of their ongoing learning process. This may involve going to the cinema, pop concerts, shopping or having a meal out as part of socialisation skills. The young people are encouraged to make choices however small and to be involved in all aspects of their daily lives. This can only be achieved by staff working closely together and building relationships with the young people, assessing their skills, talents, and potential. Implementing programmes of care to enhance their quality of live and to encourage achievement however small. For example one young person requires a specialised " walker" to allow her to walk for a short time unaided, another requires special cutlery to assist with eating, others may have individually designed chairs to help with posture and relaxation.

Each young person has a very detailed care plan reflecting all aspects of personal care, relevant information and programmes. These are evaluated regularly.

Families play an important role in their children's lives and are consulted by staff and updated regularly. The care of the young people is very much in partnership with parents.

An important part of any young person's care is their educational needs and school plays an important role, staff work closely with school staff. The young people attend the local school for children with special needs. There is daily written communication and this enables everyone concerned to be kept informed as to what is happening, especially with regard to programmes thus providing a consistent approach.

Staff along with parents attend Parents' Evenings, Future Needs and school leavers meetings and annually with the Headteacher and class teacher to discuss each youngsters Individualised Educational Programme Review. As part of the school curriculum the young people have access to physiotherapist, occupational, speech and language therapists and the services of the educational psychologist. These professionals are also available to staff and parents for consultation and advice when required.

School staff also attend the social work Looked after Children Reviews and this provides a time to share information and plan for the future.

These professionals all play an important role in the ongoing learning process of the young people, as at one time because of their complex needs would not have been received into the educational system.

However the vision for the future would be aiming for a more inclusive society in the community and education.

Appendix IV

Moray Youth Action, Elgin:

Moray Youth Action serves the young people of Moray. It is a large Project with a wide remit. Young people aged 9-24 are offered needs led support following a multi-agency assessment process. Services offered are both preventive and intensive. Services offered to the under-sixteens involve close collaboration with education.

In 1996 Moray had several young people in Secure Units. Moray Youth Action was involved in discussions with other agencies to explore the possibility of creating a service that would enable the needs of the most vulnerable and troublesome young people to be met within their own community. The creation of this service required close working between Social Work, Education and Aberlour Child Care Trust. This was a challenge as schools had not welcomed input from either Social Workers or Project Workers. The different values, knowledge and skills base were a barrier to co-operation.

At this time we created a vision for the future where young people were able to get their needs met by the professionals being willing to work across the professional boundaries. We now aim to value rather than dismiss each others possible contributions. This significant shift in attitude has allowed innovative practice to be developed. The additional funding and acceptance of this way of working that came with the New Community Schools approach facilitated the process already underway.

Preventive Team

This team provides proactive, preventive services adopting a community development model. The team works closely with Education and Social Work to create a raft of provision designed to meet local need. Project Workers are welcomed in Schools and work in partnership with teachers in order to support young people who are having difficulty with the mainstream setting.

Supports that have worked particularly well and are replicated throughout Moray are the:-

Moving On Service

This service offers work experience to young people aged 14 plus. It operates three fully equipped work shops based on Industrial estates. Young people initially spend time in this realistic but sheltered work setting where they are supported by staff who have dual qualifications in Child Care and a Trade and the skills to manage challenging behaviour. As young people succeed in this setting they often reconnect with some of the curriculum on offer within school seeing the importance of being able to be literate and numerate. All young people attending these workshops undertake an ASDAN qualification which helps them to develop the core skills they require to move into adulthood. As young people become more skilled and confident the opportunity is available for them to move to a real work experience placement. The Moving On worker will stay with the young people through the transition from school to work or training supporting them through this difficult time.

They will also mobilise additional supports if required such as New Futures, drug and alcohol, youth crime, careers, child and adolescent psychiatry. This scheme has been in operation for three years. It is funded through SIPS and ESF. At present positive outcomes are >75%.

Chill and Spill:

This idea started as a response to a bullying incident in school. It has now been replicated in the majority of schools within Moray. It is a drop in style group held in the school during lunch hour staffed by Project Workers and teachers. Young people use the sessions to let off steam about home, school and peers in a safe and confidential setting. Young people raise issues and staff run sessions to inform and support for example on drugs or alcohol etc. The sessions are well used and young people have said that they value them.

Individual and Group Work Support:

This support is put together in accordance with individual or group needs. Each challenge is met with a tailor made response. The common thread is that the response is planned and delivered in a multi-agency way


This is a method of helping professionals manage challenging behaviour. It is a three day course which teaches both a behavioural and person centred approach to meeting the needs of young people who challenge us. Moray Youth Action has two Instructors who have offered training to staff within the partnership. This has given workers from different professional backgrounds a common language and approach and has helped us to work together to create innovative solutions to complex problems.


In partnership with Education Moray Youth Action have developed a small intensive resource for the few young people who are unable to sustain full time education. This resource can provide traditional qualifications and teaching in Maths and English but through its multi agency staff team can also address social and life skills and challenging behaviour. This resource is designed to meet the needs of 14 plus year olds who may otherwise need to be accommodated away from home in residential schools or secure units.

The services provided are ever evolving. The flexibility that Moray Youth Action can offer has been a catalyst for change.

Although the services we provide are important the success of the work is due to the changing attitudes of all staff and the resultant commitment to work together to meet young people's needs.



The Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) represents the Careers Services in all the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) throughout the UK and Eire. Its mission is `to lead, support and foster collaboration between Higher Education Careers Services in the development and delivery of the highest quality careers information, education and guidance for students and graduates and in their work with employers'. Within Scotland AGCAS (Scotland) comprises the Careers Services of fifteen HEIs including the Open University.

Our views reflect the views of careers advisers working within higher education who have experience of the interface of higher education and employment, the transition of students into higher education and the needs of graduates in the workforce.

AGCAS (Scotland) is pleased to respond to the Inquiry into the Purposes of Scottish Education. Whilst not considering it appropriate to comment in detail as the discussion focuses on schools, we wish to contribute the following observations.


·The recent achievements of widening access to higher education are laudable but resources to provide the co-ordinated, on-going learning support that these students need are being reduced in many HEIs. Thus there is a risk of moving the experience of failure and alienation into the tertiary stage.

·The job market and attitudes haven't kept pace with social changes, for example the increase in mature graduates, who still face discrimination when seeking their first job, and ethnic minority graduates who are more likely to be unemployed 6 months after graduating than their white counterparts.

·There is a need for a better understanding in schools of the graduate labour market so that prospective students, parents and teachers have realistic expectations.

·While only a small number of graduates may be recorded as unemployed in the months immediately after graduation and few graduates remain unemployed for long, there is a problem of underemployment or inappropriate employment for a significant minority of graduates in Scotland. This is in part due to a lack of flexibility about where they are prepared to work in what is a global job market. Funding for Higher Education has made it more difficult for university students to study away from home and this could compound the problem.

Skills Development

·We agree that the demands of new technology do require advanced information handling and critical thinking skills as much as practical technological skill, but we also believe that skills in communication, organisation and planning are vital.

·It is imperative that people develop the skills to manage their own further learning in order to remain employable and to embrace new ways of working.

·We agree that there is a danger that in the pursuit of skills that insufficient attention and value is paid to artistic, emotional and imaginative aspects of individual development. An over-emphasis on skills to the detriment of creativity could also constrain the entrepreneurship that we wish to encourage. Employers of graduates seek a broad range of skills and attributes, many of which can be developed outside the curriculum. To many employers the degree discipline is not important. Thus we shouldn't be seduced by an over vocational approach to education. Those vocational degrees that can be in high demand are often more susceptible to the vagaries of the economic cycle, for example IT and chemical engineering.

·The development of personal transferable skills (including career planning and self management skills) are the foundations for success in all careers. More specific job related skills are necessary and can be developed in a variety of ways. However, successful career management, reskilling and upskilling throughout each individuals' working life need to be founded on personal skills and the understandings, attitudes and confidence that they bring. It is good to retain a Scottish identity but there is a need to ensure that it is outward looking and flexible.

·Experience of Higher Education Careers Services suggests that there is a need for developing better thinking and decision making skills and to encourage a greater acceptance of individual responsibility. Any modularisation of the curriculum needs to provide fully integrated courses.

Work Experience

·Work experience during degree courses and/or immediately after graduation can enhance the skills and understanding of graduates. This opportunity is particularly important if we are to change undergraduate attitudes to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). The vast majority of undergraduates still seek entry to "traditional" graduate jobs in an era when this expectation cannot be met. Organisations such as Graduates for Growth, which for a very small investment, have made working in an SME a genuine option, could with minimal further investment have a much greater impact. Half of the jobs that are advertised by Graduates for Growth are new jobs.

·Vacation experience is important as it enhances the knowledge that students have of the world of work. The STEP programme, for example, has been of particular value in providing experience in the SME sector. It is disappointing to note that due to reduced resources some University Careers Services have discontinued their `Build your Own Business' courses.


·Those entering university need to cope with transitions - perhaps a new home, city, methods of study, greater freedom. Improved transition arrangements from school to higher education would help ensure that maximum benefit is derived from the experience. Personal development planning is important and students need to be motivated to take control of their own life.

·Graduates need to cope with a different career culture - portfolio, frequent changes, uncertainty and the need to keep themselves employable by ensuring that they continue to develop the knowledge and skills that are in demand.


We would like to see:

·Smoother progress between the stages and sectors of learning.

·Comparable investment (for example ICT and continuing Professional Development) in Higher Education as in the school sector. There is currently more support in schools for modernising buildings and for teaching and learning.

·Continuing support for education in its broadest sense and avoidance of a narrow focus on the development of vocational skills.


Early Years Education

It is significant that the industrial revolution began in England causing an exodus from country to towns, pollution of air and water, un-hygenic conditions for many people and, for the first time ever, made the distribution of white flour to a majority possible, replacing wholemeal.

This change in the life of several generations had a direct effect on general health: rickets became the English disease, dental decay followed and rheumatism and bronchitis became widespread.

The gap between rich and poor widened; fresh air, good food became a privilege for wealthy children; sport an expensive luxury. Poverty in slums created a criminal class. Strenuous efforts have been made to improve living conditions but habits don't change easily, the diet of many

families is still lacking in wholemeal, fresh fruit and vegetables; the provision for sport is patchy.

General education meant sitting still for pupils aged four or five, at a time when their contemporaries on the continent could run and play, gaining life experience.

The situation in Scotland is different, school started traditionally at age seven and most children had to help on croft or farm; long walks to school fostered healthy bodies and a diet of oats and barley gave strength. No wonder the best regiments came from Scotland! Pressure to conform has taken away these benefits and today the curse of asthma, bronchitis and rheumatism affects many Scots. More hours are lost at work because of this but so far the main cause has not been identified: too early schooling! Boys take longer to develop and they are often bored at school, their breathing becomes shallow and tests have shown that after six months at school deep-breathing often ceases a fatal development. Girls are more willing to sit still and they are rewarded with rheumatism and arthritis later in life.

No other nation boasts 40,000 wheelchair users! It is not only the health of pupils which suffers, the joy of learning cannot arise before the brain has the capacity for abstract thinking, which comes after the change of teeth. Teachers are forced to use methods which rely on imitation, i.e. copying letters without understanding, or learning numbers by rote: two mind-destroying habits. The earlier a child can read the more its memory is weakened. Added to this problem is the pressure on teachers of testing pupils, which creates fear, destroys natural creativity and fantasy. It takes the spontaneity out of teaching and turns any professional enthusiasm sour. In contrast the 800 Rudolf Steiner Schools achieve better results academically though starting later; children from four to six teaches painting, drama, poetry, singing and clean habits. All pupils from six to sixteen learn two foreign languages and handwork, woodwork, weaving, pottery, leather craft, metal bashing, bookbinding, candle-making; Drama and Music play an important part in the social life of pupils and exchanges with foreign classes help to develop strong self-esteem. The UK should establish a Right to Childhood before Brussels dictates it.

Sibylle Alexander


This sheet of paper was given to me on June 14 2002 when holistic education was the theme of the last three meetings on Education in Scotland.

My husband, Dr R A Alexander, wrote his PhD at Tubringen University about Philosophy in Education. We taught two terms each at the famous Odenwaldschule, based on the Philosophy of Idealism, with a Fidele, Hegel, Schiller and Albert Schweitzer Haus; then two terms at a Kurt Halin Schile (like Gordonstoun) and two terms at a Quaker school, Frieburg Black Forest. Though the ethos was different, all schools followed a similar curriculum. In 1953 we were introduces to the Irene Waldorf Schule in Frieburg, where we both taught for one-and-a-half-years. Here everything was different, modern art and music, regular drama. Everything, a new, therapeutic art form of the movement. Every pupil learnt to play the recorder, much time was devoted to handwork, boys and girls learnt knitting, weaving, sewing a shirt on a machine, pottery, leatherwork, book binding etc. There was no streaming, all pupils stayed together from age six, lower school, to age 18, university by entrance.

All pupils learnt two foreign languages, French and German from class one to class nine, many chose Highers in Oxford A-Level language examinations, or Abiture in Germany. We arrived in Edinburgh in 1955 and taught at the Edinburgh R St School till my husband worked at Napier College and I became a German tutor, where my students enjoyed using Steiner methods during practicals.

Our own five children benefited enormously from this holistic education. Unfortunately, our son was enrolled at South Morningside aged four when he suffered nightmares till we took him to Steiner's. Some damage at this too early schooling still lives with him. I know that Waldorf paedagogic works in every setting, state or private, and is healthier, more creative.

Michael Rawson and Michael Rose: "Ready To Learn, From Birth to School Readiness"

In the introduction to this timely publication Dr John Pearce, Professor Emeritus in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry writes about the young people of today, problems of Attention Deficit, Hyperactivity, childhood depression and suicide among young men. He finds relevant answers in this book and speaks about the special combination of knowledge, wisdom and practical guidelines, an excellent starting point for teachers and parents. I wish it could become prescribed reading for politicians as well.

Each chapter gives observations about different stages of development for boys and girls, followed by examples how this is often accelerated today, describing the consequences and remedies. The main points are then listen, a great help for any student. The bibliography invites further research. The authors emphasise how during the first stage the baby's environment should be "softened, muted and kept warm." Dangers lie in the exposure to the rapid-fire impressions of modern technology and the drive towards early education. The sense of touch is of importance as it gives a feeling of communion. "Infants deprived of physical intimacy fail to thrive." (p41).

A child's need for rhythm, repetition, and continuity has to be met by human beings in order to lead it towards making sense of the world, being protected but not smothered by tender loving care.

In the chapter `Overload' the reduction in the sensory sensitivity of modern children is described as a massive loss of consciousness: children are bombarded with noise, intensive light and rapid movements. "We have far outstripped the evolutionary heritage we carry around in our genes." (p48).

In home or garden, children are happiest when imitating adults in simple tasks. (The movement in Germany towards Nature Kindergarten Workshops as described in four books by Irmgard Kutsch, following the seasons by planting, harvesting, baking and candle-making etc are excellent guides towards this holistic approach. ISBN 3-7725-2201 to 2204 Stuttgart.).

In the chapter `Memory Maps', the basis for deepseated moral sensibilities are pictured, a key to all our efforts towards creating a healthy society, it says: "If an experience is accompanied or clothed by a sense of wonder, by enthusiasm, by joy and love, these feelings will colour the memory...children also want to learn what the right feelings are in a given situation." (p56).

"It is better to know your back yeard well than to look at pictures of the Grand Canyon." (p59). We will be able to create a sense of wonder about the world if we remember our own childhood and speak out of such a mood. "The truth young children seek is the truth of feelings, not of abstract concepts." (p60).

Here we come to the very heart of the book: an early emphasis on abstract thinking consumes forces of vitality: the health is impaired and such loss can hardly ever be healed. With the fourth year children widen their capacity for play and this activity within a rich domestic scene of washing, cleaning, gardening can be beautiful so long as it is not perceived as drudgery but as a service, a moral example for life and ecological care for the environment. As the faculty of fantasy emerges the child needs props for plating: a chair can become a boat or a throne, pebbles turn into gold, and during this stage other children are needed as playmates. Now stories become food for the imagination, repeated over and over again. Songs and dance, playful rhythms develop the heart, the basis for health in life. If there is no other distraction like TV fantasy will become imagination, creating an inner world which is rich and satisfying, with an impulse to transform the world.

What happens if this process is curtailed at five and formal schooling begins? Pupils need to focus on symbols and that demands directing the will into thinking! As long as the will is channelled into feeling the child will enjoy caring for other, younger children, forming friendships, strengthening relationships and making the environment beautiful. "If sensitivity toward other people and the environment is not well developed early on, the child may struggle to find equilibrium later. If the will forces flow directly into thinking, unmediated by the life of feeling and aesthetic judgement, this can manifest itself as selfish, self-centredness, and nervousness in later life. Furthermore, the ability to form subtle judgement, rather than jumping to quick, rational conclusions, may be weakened." (p79). Here is an explanation why today so many adults suffer from an inability to form lasting relationships, have a high rate of divorce and depression.

Because boys develop more slowly, they suffer more acutely by too early schooling than girls do and the authors recommend that boys should be specially encouraged to care for others and for the environment.

The importance of play is documented on page 82 by a quote from Lesley Garner: "What Patents Need - a Few Mud Pies"."

The next half of the book is about positive examples of education in Kindergarten and Primary School, emphasising Rudolf Steiner's contribution to methods of learning. From pre-literate cultures we know that the power of memory is stronger where reading is unknown, the world is experienced as `Thou', not as objective, distant and abstract, Children recapitualte what humanity has developed over the ages and will naturally come to want to move to higher levels of consciousness when ready, usually after the age of six. Any earlier attempts take away the very vitality which can regenerate our culture.

The surprising idea to start with writing down things children know by heart and learning to read as a secondary activity, is one of the keys to the success of Steiner schools. The transition from implicit to explicit learning depends on the skill of teachers to interest the whole class, enabling children to concentrate by using pictorial language. The forces of imitation are still there, but pupils learn to internalise an experience. Learning songs and poetry by heart, clapping or stamping multiplication tables strengthen the learning process. When a new skill has been learnt we make it part of ourselves by forgetting.

A teacher is an authority, but not a commanding officer: children respect a moral authority when they recognise the love and competence of a teacher to feed the mind or soul of pupils. "Dry facts taste like ashes. Living images are like milk to the child's soul." (p117).

The chapter "Do Boys Learn Differently From Girls?" gives an insight why so many boys become disruptive or drop out of school altogether; they need to be treated with the same gentleness and nurturing care as girls and fathers can do much as good role models. There are social benefits in teaching boys and girls together in ways that caters meaningfully for learning differences.

Then follows a wealth of practical experiences, a joy to read and stimulate parents and teachers in any setting. Positive co-operation between them leads to bridge-building between Home and School.

The humanity of childhood is essential for us to remember: "The story begins with a garden of innocence - fertile, fruit-ful and full of life. Into this garden is transported a new-born `creature of earth', whose first breath unites it in body and spirit with the world of nature and the creative power that sustains it." Mythology comes before science! The conclusion of this book is thought-provoking, it offers solutions to many contemporary problems like youth criminality, drug-taking and depression but it is not a recipe but rather a therapy for us, the adults, whether as parents, students, policemen, teachers, politicians or social workers. The spiritual dimension of education brings with it a wealth of poetry, song, colour and dance, it re-juvinates our life and enriches our culture. Where schools are places of beauty and order, when the drama of growing-up is experienced in full, there no child will want to play truant, no vacuum has to be filled with drugs, and members of different races or creeds will enjoy and respect.

The tide is turning, the 800 Free Waldorf or Steiner Schools worldwide are proof that children who grow up without undue pressure reach a high academic standard and at the same time obtain practical, artistic and language skills. They keep the vitality of youth and are measurably healthier and more creative in later life.

In Britain these ideas have often been dismissed as suitable for rich families, forgetting that the first Free Waldorf School was founded in 1919 for factory workers' children in Stuttgart, where classes were big, forty pupils per class! Society suffered from defeat in World War One and poverty was rife. Doctors and teachers who fled from Hitler brought the ideas to Britain, founding the Camphill Homes for Handicapped children, and Steiner schools which begin with kindergarten at age four and lead to university entrance at eighteen.

This is a courageous book, born from a lifelong experience and out of love for all children and hope for a better future.

(This questionnaire was sent in by Mrs Alexander)

1 Formal Schooling should begin at age 6

2 State provided nursery/kindergarten should be available for children pre-school

3 Children's early, pre-school learning should be age-appropriate and focus on developing the whole person and creative and flexible thinking


Name (printed): Antoinette Lennon

Address:80 Gala Park


Scotland Yes


Name (printed):




Name (printed):

Address: play

Signature: McLeod

Name (printed): Sharon

Address: 7 Croft Street


Scotland Yes


Name (printed):




Name (printed): Freeplay



Name (printed): Lilias A Steeple

Address: The Shieling

Blairgowrie Yes


Name (printed):




Name (printed): No TV



Name (printed): Mary Canning

Address: 21 George Street

Innerleithen Yes


Name (printed):



Signature: No videos

Name (printed): Playing outside




Name (printed): Alisa Gedes

Address: 7 Roberts Court



Name (printed):




Name (printed):

Address: Yes

Outdoor activities

(Mrs Alexander sent in the questionnaire below but there were no names with it)

1 Would Scottish Children Benefit From State Paid Kindrgartens

Ages 4-6 Plus?

2 Should formal education start at the age of 6?

3 How can creativity and flexible thinking be encouraged?


Yes, but with exceptions


Need flexibility within the system



Yes but holistic/Montessori kindergartens where the senses are stimulated

No. Preferably four years old is better



No. 4-5 preferable


Yes - but only with parental choice



Yes, however parents have the right to choose and properly funded






Yes, our own children went to the Steiner kindergarten

Yes. Their health suffers from sitting still too early


Yes - free play for all

Yes. So it does on the continent

Music, art and drama



Free play



Drawing and painting out in the countrysdie


Overall Key Question

Is there a need in a rapidly changing world for radical change in the education system?

Not only is the world changing rapidly, but one of the most significant features of this change is the widening gulf between those who have and those who don't. For many around the world, the rights in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are little more than a paper promise - the 1.3 billion people who struggle to survive on less than $1 a day; the 35,000 children who die of malnutrition and preventable disease every day; the billion adults, most of them women, who are illiterate; the tens of thousands unlawfully killed each year in conflicts fuelled by injustice, inequality and human rights abuses.

According to the Poverty Alliance, even in a relatively well-off country like Scotland, one in four households live in poverty and one in three of Scotland's children live in those households. The 1996 International Adult Literacy Survey found that 23% of the Scottish population perform at the lowest level of a five point literacy scale.

Globalisation - the spread of the free market economy - has led to greater freedom and prosperity for some, but to growing destitution and despair for many.

It seems obvious that, if it could be said that the human project has been the attempt to live together and ensure peace and prosperity - or even just a basic standard of living - for all, we have failed. The scale of the problem cannot be underestimated: a fifth of the world's population on less than a $1 day. The implications of this are staggering.

Yet, the education system continues to prepare young people to perpetuate the status quo, to be mere cogs in this destructive wheel. It emphasises the need to pass exams, to get jobs, to maintain the global capitalist economy, in an unthinking, unchallenging way.

Given the problems facing us today - a read through any newspaper highlights the endemic violence, poverty, and disillusionment suffered by so many - this is simply not good enough.

As no doubt so many of the contributors will be pointing out, Scotland's education system, with its fine reputation, could and should do better.

Theme 1: Coping with Change and Uncertainty

Key Question: How can the education system help children and young people to cope with high levels of uncertainty and the rapid pace of change?

Amnesty International defines human rights education as the combination of knowledge about rights and responsibilities and the values and skills to put them into action. Its goal is to sensitise students to the rights of others, and to encourage responsible action in the safeguarding the rights of all in school and the wider world.

The sort of skills and values we are talking about here will help young people to not just cope with change and uncertainty, but to reflect critically on the changes happening in the world around them and empower them to do something about them.

Such skills include communication skills (reading, written, and oral expression, discussion, debate, and listening); critical thinking skills (analysing material from a variety of sources, identifying different perspectives, distinguishing between fact and opinion, detecting prejudice, bias omission, reaching logical, fair and balanced conclusions); and social skills (co-operation, conflict resolution, mediation, and forming positive relationships).

The values developed through human rights education include human dignity, justice, fairness, commitment to equality, and appreciation of diversity.

Schools need to use a variety of participative teaching styles in order to encourage the development of such skills and values. Discussion and debate allows pupils to learn how to work together and respect the rights of others. Role plays and similar activities help young people empathise with others - a crucial first step in motivating a concern about the world.

Genuinely democratic processes and principles throughout the school are valued by pupils, who intuitively understand the concepts of fairness and justice, but are often not encouraged to develop and internalise them. An example of good practice in this regard, would be Norway's Children's Ombudsman, who circulates any new legislation affecting children round Norway's schools for the children to comment on.

Similarly, with equality, pupils may recognise the principle of equality underpinning relationships between individuals, groups and societies, but need to be encouraged to think more deeply about the concept, and what it means in practice in different contexts and situations. Discussion of controversial issues in the world today can help young people to think more deeply about concepts such as equality, freedom and justice.

The inclusion of examples from different cultures and perspectives helps young people develop and open minded approach and appreciation of diversity. It can also give a living context to human rights issues around the world.

These examples of teaching processes can help young people develop the skills and values outlined above. Equipped with such skills and values, young people will be empowered to cope with change, and to be more than just cogs in the wheel, but well-rounded individuals, questioning, aware, critical, and compassionate, able to create a better world.

Theme 2: Engaging With Ideas

Key Question: How far should education encourage children and young people to be capable of engaging with existing knowledge and developing innovative ideas as the basis for questioning authority and social conventions?

Amnesty International believes this aspect of education is fundamental. Children must be encouraged to engage with existing knowledge in a reflective and critical way. First of all, because this enables them to think for themselves, develop their self-esteem and confidence, and to fulfil their potential. In that sense, Amnesty agrees with the comment that education is an end in itself. Secondly, unless young people are encouraged to be creative and critical, solutions will not be found to the current problems in society, and millions of people will continue to suffer.

Some of the ideas we are suggesting young people engage with are by no means simple concepts, easy to teach and learn. However, given the challenges we face, it is essential that we try. Amnesty International's experience is that concepts such as justice, fairness, equality, power, wealth and rights are best dealt with through case studies, role plays, and other empathy exercises, rather than abstract discussion.

The term in the discussion paper "apprenticeship for society" has sinister overtones, but only in the context of our current political and social system, where the ideological convergence of the political parties has led to very few opportunities to express alternative views. This lends "apprenticeship for society" its sinister air, as if the education advocated was about brainwashing young people to become obedient citizens, unwilling and unable to challenge the status quo. If, however, what we are talking about is encouraging young people to think creatively and critically, to take decisions and be responsible for their actions, and to question the status quo, then education can be an apprenticeship for society in a more positive sense.

Theme 3: Keeping Everyone Involved With Learning

Key Question: Is what we are currently doing in schools an adequate proxy for what we think education ought to do?

Education alone cannot tackle poverty and exclusion, but it could certainly do more to overcome discrimination and to build the self esteem and confidence of those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Greater attention to developing the skills and values mentioned under theme 1 would help Scottish schools identify racism, sexism, and homophobia where they occur, develop an understanding of what causes such prejudice and contribute to challenging discrimination.

Our experience shows that greater exposure to different cultures, opinions, and social groups leads to a greater sensitivity to difference amongst young people, and ultimately to a more tolerant and inclusive society.

As with theme 2, Amnesty International believes that abstract discussion does not work as well in the classroom as activities which involve empathising with others. Such participative activities tend to bring about a change in attitudes in a way that simply reading about injustice cannot. The act of empathising can also contribute to the challenge of engaging and inspiring young people, and making education seem relevant and important.

Theme 5: Developing Necessary Skills

What skills are needed to make sense of large amounts of information, and to bring them together into a coherent response to change?

Critical thinking skills, as outlined under theme 1, are crucial. Amnesty International is in agreement with the paper when it argues that the development of the skills of critical thinking cannot and need not be postponed until the basic skills of numeracy and literacy are acquired. Critical thinking can be introduced at a basic level, and indeed this can aid the process of engaging young people and convincing them of the relevance of education.

As the paper points out, education has to be about something, but there is space for including skills in all learning by using participative methods to tackle any subject matter. There is also room to study more controversial issues, those that deal with the big questions of poverty, justice, distribution of wealth, discrimination, etc. in a way which encourages critical thinking and opens up the possibilities of new solutions.

Claire Duncanson

Amnesty International Scotland


I am responding to your request for viewpoints on the relevance of Steiner Education in the Educational provision in Scotland.

I am a strong believer in variety in educational provision, in order to best meet the particular needs of the individual child. We have three children of primary school age, each of them in a different school. Two of them are in different state primary schools. Our eldest daughter, (with special educatinal needs) was moved from Kinloss Primary, where she was struggling, to Applegrove Primary, where she is thriving.

Our son, (also with special needs) is having difficulty coping in the local schools and the Moray education authority is considering sending him to a Steiner Camphill School in Aberdeen, as they are having difficulty meeting his needs locally.

Our other daughter moved to the local Moray Steiner School last year, as the curriculum and ethos in the state school just did not suit her. Since the move to the Steiner School she has blossomed, greatly increasing her self esteem and interest in education.

Finding the funding for the Steiner School is extremely difficult for us to meet, but it is worth it. I know there are other parents who would like to try Steiner education for their child, but cannot because of lack of funds. The school itself financially runs on a wing and a prayer. The Steiner Curriculum is well proved over the years to be excellent, producing well rounded and valuable citizens for our society. Other countries such as Germany, Holland, New Zealand, and Hungary, (to name but a few), all give State funding to Steiner Schools. I urge you to do the same in Scotland so that this form of education can be given as a viable choice to the people of Scotland.


The Association of Christian Teachers (Scotland) welcomes the opportunity to comment on the above document. We shall attempt to select those areas which have a special bearing on the stance of Christian teachers and parents.

Theme 1

Education will, one hopes, in the next decades recognise that communication between teachers and parents is a priority. If parents are helped by the school to understand the curriculum, the school's policy, the ethos and the culture/subcultures of the school and the pressures of the peer group upon their youngsters, they will be enabled to deal with problems effectively in the home context. This will help to establish an effective learning environment. Areas such as spiritual/moral development, personal/social values and personal search need to feature prominently and meaningfully.

Theme 2

Socialisation must concentrate on preparing effective citizens who will have an ability to be committed individuals of integrity that society needs, to remain politically healthy and live ethically with technology. Parents need to be helped by schools to understand fully this `wider than academic' agenda and to realise they have a part to play in youngsters, who have these personal and professional attributes.

Theme 3

As far as poverty, alienation, drugs, racism and gender issues are concerned, first, we recognise as teachers, that in these areas there is a hard core, minority of parents who do not or cannot for good reasons pull their weight in partnership between home and school. Education, or rather teachers alone, cannot be expected to deal with this kind of situation. For this reason we welcome the growing use of `New Community School' approaches, the role of multi-professional teams, of mentoring, buddy systems, chaplaincy, after school clubs, study clubs and the like.

Theme 4

Heritage is something which should in the discernible future have an increasing role to play. Scottish children are fairly ignorant of their own Christian heritage, the part Scotland has played in fostering change, development, technology, commerce, the environment and similar in many parts of the world. There is scope for the development in school curricula of the relationships which are needed by a society. Emphasis must grow on eradicating the attitudinal weaknesses of Scottish society e.g. bigotry and the automatic sidelining of the religious dimensions in educational discussion.

Theme 5

Areas which stand out here as of significance within the school/home partnership might arguably include: the shared concern which will inevitably grow as technology develops about the ethical aspects of ICT and in particular the content of the Internet to which future generations of highly computer literate young people have access, the need to educate parents who come from an earlier pre-ICT generation about the problem.

Theme 6

In the coming years there is likely to be a growth in Home Education, Christian and other private schools because of the perceived secularity of state school curriculum. The European context of human rights, considerations and alleged discrimination on grounds of personal religious belief, faith stance or philosophy will predictably be factors in this debate too.

Specialist schools will not necessarily have to be seen as anti-comprehensive. We would hope to see a school system which values every individual, develops every gift and attempts to counteract every disadvantage.

We hope these points may constitute a useful contribution to the ongoing debate.

Miss Kirsti Paterson


Association of Christian Teachers


Please find attached the Association of Scottish Colleges' (ASC's) evidence to your Committee's Inquiry. This includes at Annex A a short context document about Scotland's FE colleges and their students. At the start of your Inquiry we also copied relevant sections of our evidence to the Enterprise and Lifelong Learning Committee's Inquiry into Lifelong Learning to the Committee. This is attached at Annex B for ease of reference.

For both our main evidence and these annexes, were are happy to amplify the points made and to give sources for the facts we quote. If you have any requests of this type, please ask the Committee secretariat to contact either myself (01786 892100; or Jane Polglase, our Policy Manager (01786 892105;

ASC would also welcome the opportunity to give oral evidence should the Committee feel that this would help its deliberations further.

With our thanks for the short extensions we have been allowed in order to incorporate the outcome of a Principals' Forum discussion on the Inquiry on 13 June into our response.

Tom Kelly

Chief Executive

1. The Association of Scottish Colleges is the representative voice of Scotland's colleges of further education. ASC welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the debate on schools education initiated by the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Executive.

2. Participation in lifelong learning is crucial for employability, citizenship and personal satisfaction. FE colleges provide the largest number and widest range of opportunities for those who have left school to acquire qualifications, skills, and experience over a very wide range of subjects and specialisms. (Some key facts on FE are given in Annex A).

3. This submission focuses on:

·The distinctive contribution of schools to lifelong learning

·Increasing the uptake and esteem of vocational education and training

·Improving the benefits of school to those who currently obtain least advantage from it

·Ways of making it easier to move on from school to college for those who choose this route

·Ensuring that improvements in school education and lifelong learning complement and support each other

Redefining the Purposes of School Education

4. Schools have not been successful for everyone. As Linda McTavish (Principal, Anniesland College) put it to ELLC, young people have for too long been divided into:

·Those who are getting on;

·Those who are getting by; and

·Those who are getting nowhere

Investment and attention have been concentrated on the first group. Many more of the second group now benefit from lifelong learning in FE college often beyond age 25. Many in the last group require customised support and individual encouragement to make the best of their abilities.

5. From this perspective ASC regards the following three themes as the most important of those identified by ECSC:

Theme 4: Keeping everyone involved with learning

Theme 5: Developing necessary skills

Theme 6: Fitting structures to purpose

Importance of School Leavers

6. The attainment and attitudes of school leavers are the benchmark by which the performance of schools is judged. Overwhelmingly parental, employer and university attention focuses on the qualifications and achievement of each year's cohort of school leavers.

7. It should be noted, however, that:

Each cohort of school leavers - now around 57,000 - constitutes only about 3% of the population of working age

Far and away the majority of those who leave school go direct to some other form of education (mainly higher education or further education but also to training schemes)

Many individuals will shape their lives more by qualifications they achieve after leaving school than those they obtained while at school

8. This is not to diminish the importance of school education. Compulsory schooling - characterised by age and stage provision - has to lay the foundations on which individuals draw for the rest of their lives, particularly in literacy, numeracy and communication skills. Aptitudes and enthusiasms acquired at school may be of lasting benefit for the remainder of individuals' lives. Those who do best at school enjoy the best advantages of subsequent education, training, jobs, and earnings.

9. The model for lifelong learning beyond school, however, is a different one. It focuses on empowerment of the individual and the opportunities and choices they need to acquire knowledge and understanding, skills, and experience needed for work, adult citizenship and personal satisfaction.

10. The shift from conscription of compulsory schooling to voluntary involvement in lifelong learning is fundamental. Successful education requires investment not just of public funding but of time, effort, and resources by individuals, their families, and employers.

11. A crucial task of secondary school education is to prepare individuals for later opportunities and choices in lifelong learning.

Critical Success Factors for School Education

12. From the point of view of those who receive school leavers at the next stage in their education and lives, the critical factors for measuring success of schools are:

·Qualifications (number and level) of school leavers

·Attainment levels in key skills, not just subject specialisms

·Preparation for realistic choices of work and education and training opportunities beyond school

·Ability to handle individual responsibilities in terms of work, personal finance, and coping with new environments

13. It should be a priority of the Inquiry to identify improvements needed for those who are not the highest achievers at school, but emerge with disadvantages in the way of their subsequent progress in employment, self-reliance, and lifelong learning.

Vocational Education

14. Most of the current political debate on education concentrates on academic achievement and progression. The appearance is often given that Scotland values abstract academic excellence and subject specialisms more than relevance to work and life, or than competence and skills for work.

15. The "fast stream" of school leavers who go direct from school to full-time higher education at university and at FE college is well monitored and understood. Much less is known about the transition for those who go direct to non-advanced vocational education, training, employment or (despite New Deal) non-employment.

16. It should not be forgotten that much academic specialisation is itself vocational, ie preparation for the vocation of teaching or research or further study in that subject. No one should dispute the importance of high-calibre academics and teachers. But the education and training they require should not be the only pattern for those likely to pursue other occupations or areas of work.

17. Some justify the increasing emphasis on the academic on the claim that Scotland will need more "knowledge workers" in the next decade. In fact, most of the job opportunities will arise from retirement of older workers rather than from new jobs of a kind not previously seen.

18. The price Scotland pays for undervaluing general vocational education and occupational training is considerable. For a country of its size, Scotland is not short of graduates or university provision. But for many years it has been known that Scotland has:

·Too few people with intermediate and technical qualifications

·Far too many people with no or only the most basic qualifications

19. Recent evidence suggests that vocational qualifications achieved later in life will improve prospects of getting a job and levels of earnings. Many graduates now find that they must acquire or present evidence of vocational skills to gain entry to the jobs market.

20. It has to be a key purpose of education for the next decade that it will meet current and potential employer requirements.

National Qualifications

21. One of the explicit objectives of the "Higher Still" reforms was to achieve greater parity of esteem between the vocational and the academic. This aim has been set back by the concentration of attention and resources on new Highers since the SQA debacle in 2000. There has been serious neglect of other valuable elements of the National Qualifications (NQs), in particular:

·Vocational units and courses

·Intermediate 1 and 2 and Access level units and courses

·Scottish Group Awards

·Project-based courses

22. The simple, annual "exams diet" needs a fresh look. Is it right that 3 cohorts of school pupils are required to sit exams in May each year on the basis that results will be available on in mid-August subject to appeals in September and October (and, in 2000-01 further review by the following January)?

23. There is a role and a value in summative or integrative assessment of what pupils have achieved by a given stage. But continuous and cumulative learning through and beyond school is just as important as grading for comparison with others at one point in time. More priority needs to be given to the Scottish Qualifications Certificate as a record of units and core skills achieved so far and not just grades achieved in one diet of exams.

24. Faster progress is needed towards all year round assessment and certification so that students can:

·Complete units or courses of study at the time most appropriate to their progress

·Get results, feedback and guidance on those results much sooner

Making Lifelong Learning More Inclusive

25. Scotland's strategy for lifelong learning beyond school is currently under review. The Enterprise and Lifelong Learning Committee (ELLC) of the Scottish Parliament is expected to present its final report this autumn and the Scottish Executive to respond before the turn of the year.

26. Submissions of evidence and the Interim Report of ELLC have identified new themes intended to transform the availability and quality of lifelong learning beyond school. ASC regards the following as the most important ideas put forward in the debate stimulated by ELLC's Inquiry:

·Entitlement to public funding of tuition and student finance for all adults ensuring opportunity for all, not just the brightest school leavers

· A Lifetime Learning Account recording each individual's achievements, needs, and learning plan

· Full implementation of the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) linking and giving due credit to all the different kinds and levels of nationally recognised qualifications

· Better cohesion and joint working between the different agencies delivering or supporting lifelong learning

School College Partnerships

27. Schools and FE colleges already work closely together in partnerships intended to give pupils:

· A wider choice of courses and facilities

· Early opportunities and taster courses in vocational specialisms

·An out-of-school option for disaffected or at risk students

28. Examples of current involvement of colleges with school pupils are given in Annex B.

Education for Life

29. No individual's education is or should be completed by the time they leave school. Learning is a continuous and cumulative process extending through and beyond the years of working age. All stages and experience of education should be:

· A stepping stone to further learning

· An escalator not a revolving door

· A source of personal satisfaction

· A means for individuals to contribute more through work and citizenship

Annex A


Further Education (FE) is the lynchpin of lifelong learning in Scotland. Scotland's 46 colleges deliver first class education, training and skills to nearly half a million students each year. Colleges promote wider access for all and work with employers and more other partners than any other part of the education system to deliver innovative learning and training opportunities to help individuals, communities and employers maximise their potential, develop and grow.

FE is the main supplier of:

·Lifelong learning - at all levels, and for whatever stage in life

·Services for enterprise and business - tailored to their needs

·Skills and training - for work and life

·Easy local access - in communities, towns and cities

Colleges achieve this by:

·Encouraging enterprise and skills to improve lifetime employability

·Promoting social inclusion for disadvantaged groups

·Offering a supportive and quality learning experience

·Fostering partnerships with other sectors and agencies

Facts about FE Colleges


There are 46 FE colleges in Scotland

·487,341 student enrolments in 2000/01

·Enrolments have increased by over 70% in the last six years

·Government grant to FE £419m in 02/03 and £425m for 03/04

·College productivity increased by 24% since 1996

·Over 22,000 staff in colleges equating to 12,310 full time equivalents.

·54% teaching staff & 46% support staff

·Over 90% of the population of Scotland live within 30 minutes of a college, 40% live within 2 miles of a college

·89% of the population in the areas classed as most deprived in Scotland live within 4 miles of a college

·Colleges provide learning in over 4,000 sites across Scotland including community and work based locations

·All colleges are connected to the broadband telecommunications network superJANET, most with connections of between 34 - 100mbps

Chart - Age of College Students

Facts About FE Students

·22% of college students are under the age of 18

·One quarter of all students are from areas of "high deprivation" (Scotland's 20% most deprived areas)

·67% of students entering college had no qualifications

·80% who complete a course gain employment or progress to more advanced education

·Over 56,000 FT students receive either student awards or FE bursaries

· 28% of all HE study in Scotland is provided within FE colleges - mostly HNC or HND

About Courses

·Colleges offer a wide range of further and higher education qualifications including National Qualifications, Higher National Courses and Diplomas (HNC and HND), SVQs and specialist courses

·Most colleges provide flexible learning and 70% provide on-line learning

·Approximately 1 million entries for SQA qualifications from FE colleges each year

·88% of students enrol on vocational (job related) courses

·60% of Scots entering HE for the first time do so in a college

·The most popular college courses are in "Information Technology" (22% of all enrolments), followed by "Family Care/Personal Care/Personal Development" (15% of enrolments)

·The fastest growing college courses are in "Family Care/Personal Care/Personal Development", "Information Technology", "Health Care" and "Sport"

·Nearly 25,000 students are enrolled on learning programmes for those with special needs.

Annex B

Colleges' Work In Partnership With Schools

(Originally submitted to ELLC following a specific request for this information, along with oral evidence)

Scotland's colleges are also currently extensively involved in teaching students under 16 in a variety of partnerships with schools. The extent of this involvement varies from college to college but the main categories or programmes in which colleges work with schools can be summarised as follows:

·Giving access to subjects and facilities, which either have too few students interested to be taught in individual schools or for which the facilities are too expensive to be installed in a single school.

·Providing taster courses to engage the interest of those in the 14 - 16 age group, who are unsure of what career they wish to pursue, wish to know more about a training course or particular subject before embarking on a course or who are unsure of their ability to study at a college.

·Allowing "at risk" youngsters who are outgrowing interest in schools a more extensive chance to study alongside older students learning subjects (generally vocational) at college. These older students tend to be strongly motivated towards education because they have chosen to expand their knowledge and career choices. Such experience re-engages the majority of school students, who similarly benefit from improved career prospects, benefits schools by minimising disruption and benefits society by helping these individuals develop as citizens.

·Promoting career opportunities in key skills areas such as science and engineering.

·Providing links to other educational pathways and employers and job schemes.

·Working with pupils with special needs and from special schools.

·Providing interesting and structured revision facilities in school holidays to help students from local schools achieve better results in examinations.

·Offering Winter Leavers' Programmes, starting students in a structured Higher Still transition.

·Working with community organisations providing, for example, holiday play groups. This has the aim of making young people and parents who might not otherwise come into contact with the college aware of the range of opportunities that further education offers.

·College students also work with schools, where appropriate, as part of their training.

·In summary Colleges providing more choice and opportunities for school students and a therefore different stepping-stones into employment or university.

In all these cases, colleges are working with their school partner(s) to secure the best results for individual students. Examples of partnerships are as follows:

a. Higher Still - Expanding Choice and Opportunity

Motherwell College offers coherent programmes of SQA Units to schools on a part-time basis. These programmes are agreed with School Managers and are carefully chosen to ensure that they do not compete with the curriculum offered by the schools. They enhance the curriculum by offering opportunities that otherwise would not be available to the students. These courses normally require students to attend the College on two occasions each week, with each session lasting approximately 2 hours. Examples of courses available are: Engineering, Construction, Computing, Hospitality, Caring, Sports Studies. Currently 12 schools and approximately 500 students participate in the programme. Motherwell College also offers First Aid training (not only as vital knowledge but also as an aid to employability) to approximately 800 students per year.


Kilmarnock College offers Higher Psychology, but also offers vocational programmes for 88 S4/S5 school pupils, who have an interest in vehicle services, caring, hairdressing and engineering.

Dundee College offers two half days/week to S5/S6 pupils for either Units or Highers in Mechantronics, Biotechnology, Psychology, Philospophy, Sociology and Travel and Tourism.

Elmwood College offers:

c. Links with the three North East Fife Secondary schools which allow S5 and S6 pupils to spend 1 afternoon in College per week undertaking study options (including some Highers) not available in school

d. Falkirk College has joined-up with all 8 secondary schools in the area to offer S6 students the opportunity to study vocational NQs up to two afternoons per week in college. The most popular subjects are psychology, care, engineering, tourism and hospitality.

Langside College Glasgow also offers inter alia Higher Economics, Modern Studies and Drama and Units in Engineering, Horticulture and Information Technology.

Lauder College currently offers Advanced Highers not available in local schools (50 students in 2001/2 on the Scholar programme), a range of non-traditional Highers such as politics, more unusual languages and drama (32 students) and a range of intermediate programmes (17 students).

West Lothian College offers choices agreed with 11 local secondary schools where school students can travel either to a different school or college to enhance their subject choice. Additional courses are offered through a "choices column" in the school timetable. Over 100 students have participated to date in a variety of courses including Studying Care, Media, Sport, Psychology and Sociology.

bi. Promoting Careers Opportunities in Key Areas of Scotland's Economy Where Skills Gap Exist or are Emerging Such as in Science and Engineering

Lauder College runs an after school fun club for about 20 primary students. Entitled "Chips with Everything" it provides a 6 week basic microelectronics introduction leading to the College's Robot Fun Course.

Colleges are frequently involved in running Young Engineers Clubs for school pupils studying science and technology. For example, Angus College organises local networks of engineering employers, the Angus Engineering Forum, which provides support for the local Young Engineers Club.

Fife College has two particular initiatives which have been designed to promote career opportunities in science and technologies:-

a) An annual crystal-growing competition involves all primary schools in Fife, and culminates in a final "judging" day in the college which is attended by a team of three pupils from each school. As well as having their crystal "judged" by an MSP, and receiving substantial prizes (donated by Boots the Chemist), pupils are able to tour the college biotechnology labs and learn all about potential careers in this sunrise industry.

b) The CISCO Kids Club is an after-school opportunity offered to Higherand Advanced Higher pupils in central Fife secondary schools. As well as receiving support in their study for Higher or Advanced Higher with SCHOLAR materials, pupils get practical experience of working with CISCO network equipment, and can access CISCO on-line learning programmes.

Both the above initiatives have been highly successful and have been well attended and appreciated by the participating pupils.

Motherwell College has run a 2-day programme called LITE (Look into Technology and Engineering) successfully for a number of years. It is designed to be delivered to S2 female pupils before they select their standard grade subjects. It aims to influence positively their choice by introducing then to the careers and opportunities available in technology and engineering. All participating students receive a college certificate. The initiative has proved to be popular and attracts 40 students each year.

bii. Education/Industry Links

Dumfries and Galloway College - Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) Curriculum Centre. The College works with local primary and secondary schools and the CITB in delivery of a Curriculum Centre which is designed to involve pupils of all ages in construction related work. Such centres also provide facilities for students projects. Examples of recent initiatives include involvement of primary schools in the design and construction of facilities to use in playgrounds. Angus College also organises a Health and Safety Course for school pupils undertaking work placements in the local construction industry.

Angus College has worked with pupils from Timmergeens primary to design "wheelie bins" with compartments for recycling. Other colleges offer facilities to primary school pupils for special project work linked to industrial sectors.

Elmwood College offers young Chefs provision aimed particularly at young male pupils and delivered in school by College staff in order to attract young people to the Hospitality Industry.

Kilmarnock College's Enterprise Team has also worked with colleagues in the primary school sector on language material for teaching French where specialist language teachers are not available.

Dundee College runs community projects involving primary schools with environmental studies in the area of horticulture. This project involves college students working with primary schools to develop sensory or low maintenance gardens and links the work done to how the horticultural industry works.

Colleges' work placement schemes also allow employers to evaluate trainees in a way that would not be possible through normal recruitment processes and very frequently leads to offers of permanent employment.

Motherwell College runs a course for pupils from S3/S4/S5 in Starting Your Own Business. This is a basic Introductory Course designed to raise awareness of the opportunities of self-employment. The course can be delivered as part of a Social Education Programme using a single period per week over a number of weeks or over two full days.

Edinburgh's Telford College offers training to S5/6 pupils in vocational areas which care characteristic of the SME sector. Within the College, students can undertake business and management units which enable them to develop key enterprise skills required to support self- employment. The College works flexibly to timetable this experience, giving courses after school hours where timetabling causes problems. Across the College curriculum, pupils can access a wide range of open learning courses (ranging from tasters to full Higher National SQA Units) in, for example, Creative Process, Design Process, Business Communication, Interpersonal and Groups Skills, Customer Care, Marketing and Finance - all of which help creativity and enterprise.

Dundee College's Welcome Host Days for S6 pupils helps them develop their own part-time jobs.

Kilmarnock College's Enterprise Team co-ordinates enterprise activity in primary and secondary schools in East Ayrshire. The Enterprise School and College Groups sell their Christmas gift ideas at the Enterprise Christmas Fayre in December held in the College.

cii. Assisting the School to College Transition

Oatridge Agricultural College has partnerships with 12 local schools to assist in the transition between school and college. Typically, around 160 pupils participate in the course of a year. Every Tuesday, a different group of around 8 pupils come to college to experience "vocational skills". The aim is to enable pupils to experience "a day in the life of" for example an animal technician, a stockman, an engineer, a greenkeeper etc. and to assist them in making career choices.

Edinburgh's Telford College arranges course shadowing for school pupils, where they can spend a day with a group of full time college students and are allocated a student mentor for the day. Such courses are first aimed at S3/S4 students with the aim of overcoming the "fear barrier" for school pupils who have preconceptions of the difficulties of developing vocational skills outside the "comfort zone of school. Many of these students develop sufficient self-confidence to progress to other College programmes in S5/S6 and then take up full-time education at the College.

Langside College Glasgow is delivering on-line computing units to students in S5 and S6, in partnership with its local schools. Students attend College at the beginning and end of each Unit and remain in contact with their College tutors throughout the course. This forms an excellent introduction to College activity as well as preparing students for the world of work. In addition, there are regular groups of young people spending a half day experiencing College life via the "On Track" initiative.

Elmwood College offers Easter Revision classes in our St Andrews Outreach Centre using materials supplied by the School but supported by access to computers and tutors provided through the College

d. Vocational Taster Courses, Progression and Links to Employment

Dundee College runs "A Day in the Life Of" programme for S3 pupils annually. This assists pupils in determining which potential career they should take up. Over 20 career areas are offered (from Accounting to Welding) and 1000 local school pupils participate.

Edinburgh's Telford College organises a 3.5 day programme for S4 pupils to raise awareness of progression routes, careers etc in a particular vocational area. The College also organises one-day tasters for S3 pupils. Pupils can choose options they are interested in including building, wood crafts, chef for a day. Similar schemes are organised by many other colleges. For example, Glasgow College of Food Technology and Motherwell College have networks for cookery/cake decoration demonstrations to assist in raising awareness about the hospitality industry. Motherwell also runs pre-vocational hospitality courses for S3/4 currently piloted with 180 pupils.

West Lothian College offers "Engineering your Future" seminars for schools.

Elmwood College offers vocational taster days which brought 260 youngsters in from local schools to experience a range of vocational areas including agriculture, animal care, hair & beauty, food studies, sport & fitness.

e. Encouraging "at risk" youngsters to stay in education

Reid Kerr College has been working in partnership with Renfrew Council to develop a pilot programme for disaffected under-16 year-olds, under the New Directions Scheme. This has been so successful that the initial pilot group of 10 students has been expand to 20, who are now involved not only with skills based subjects but are also becoming re-engaged with the broader curriculum and are considering future transitions to work and additional education

Fife College works with local schools and the Careers Service to provide support at both S3 and S4 for pupils who are at risk of failing at school. Programmes were developed which provided core skill development and vocational tasters in the "voluntary" college environment. Recruitment to the programme was through referral by school guidance and Careers Service staff. This contact allowed for a progressive and planned transition from a school-based environment to the College. A one week taster ran in June in which the pupils undertook a sample timetable from the programme. Pupils entering the programme retain contact with school until leaving age and also maintain a link with the Careers Service. The programme is entitled Skilled for Work and seeks to maintain these students in education and prepare them for the job-market.

Kilmarnock College has a number of innovative projects working with pupils excluded from schools. Pupils participate in vocational subjects such as carpentry or joinery; motor vehicles, care or hairdressing and are provided with extra support by the college. The project has achieved successes and as a result, schools have been able to re-engage with pupils whose behaviour has improved significantly due to their college experience. The feedback from the pupils indicates that they enjoy being treated as adults by college staff who work extra hard for them.

Langside College Glasgow's Glenwood Campus provides a year long course designed to suit the needs of those young people who have not been as successful at school as they would have wished. This prepares them for a variety of vocational courses. The Flexible Learning Centres at the Colleges campuses are used by young people whose attendance at school has not been good and is viewed favourably by the schools who otherwise find appropriate education difficult to obtain.

f. Winter Leaver Programmes

Lauder College has run a Winter Leavers Programme since 1995. It attracts approximately 140 pupils per annum and is designed to start these students on a structured Higher Still transition. The Course lasts 20 weeks, each with 25 hours study. Exit guidance and progression to January programmes, Skillseekers or employment is supported by Careers Fife.

West Lothian, Jewel and Esk Valley, Stevenson and Edinburgh's Telford College runs a Winter Leavers Programme with European Social Fund support in partnership with the four councils in the Lothians. This large project targets groups of disaffected youngsters who spend their final school term in college. Programmes have been most successful where good guidance and pastoral care has been given.

Pre-entry and exit guidance are also an important part of Langside College Glasgow's winter leavers programmes. These offer appropriate progression into a wide variety of vocational areas including Nursing, PE., Progression into the Armed Services, Beauty, Computing and Arts and Social Science.

g. Working with pupils from Special Schools

Colleges work in a variety of schemes with pupils from special needs schools. For example: -

Dundee College offers a "Course Ready" programme to assist pupils from special schools to prepare for a variety of pathways to college (Mainstream, Skillseekers or Special Programmes). The programme is designed to ensure that they are then best prepared for the world of work.

Glasgow College of Food Technology offers courses in banqueting skills for MLD students from special schools.

Elmwood College has links with Special needs schools including the New School Butterstone for whom we have provided supported residential accommodation for young people with autism and other needs living away from home

Since 1994, Lauder College has also been recognised as a best practice provider in special education transition programmes for a range of secondary and special schools. Many of the practices developed at Lauder have been extended nationally under the Beattie programme.

Langside College Glasgow enjoys a close working partnership with nine special schools. Students are engaged in College canteen work, learning through the Skillstart Programme and students also have the opportunity throughout the year to try subjects such as motor vehicle maintenance, Horticulture and PE, s well as gaining in confidence and life skills by experiencing College Life. Students progress from this to the College's full time New Opportunities Course.

h. College Students working with schools as part of their training


Children from Timmergreens primary school visited Angus College's NQ Catering Kitchens to experience catering production.


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