Muir report: key points on the future of Scottish education

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The long-awaited Muir report on the reform of the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) and Education Scotland is out today, a day ahead of schedule.

The SQA and Education Scotland are set to be replaced, as part of the reforms, with a new certification body and education agency being set up, as well as an independent Scottish Education Inspectorate. They would become fully established in 2024.

Here are some of the key points from the Muir report (which can be read in full here):

Excellence program

  • There should be “a national discussion about establishing a compelling and consensual vision for the future of Scottish education“, which should take into account the “vision of a curriculum of excellence”.

The successor to SQA

  • A new body, Qualifications Scotland, is to be set up, taking over the ‘current awarding functions of the SQA, primarily responsibility for the design and delivery of qualifications, the operation and certification of examinations and the issuance of certificates “.
  • The remit of this “non-departmental public body (NDPB) should also include “the contracted revenue-generating services currently provided by the SQA for organisations, governments and businesses” and “the current international work of the SQA”.
  • The new certification body should “include more representation and accountability to all learners, teachers, practitioners and stakeholders with whom it engages”.

New National Education Agency

  • A “National Agency for Scottish Education” should be created, “comprising the current support and improvement functions of Education Scotland, the Accreditation/Regulatory Directorate of the SQA, the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) and elements of Scottish Government Curriculum, Qualifications and Gaelic. Division”.
  • Regulating qualifications should be ‘independent of Scottish Ministers’.

Independent schools

  • All independent school teachers must be registered and regulated by the General Teaching Council for Scotland.

Inspection

  • A new education inspection body should be created, “with its independence enshrined in legislation”.

First years

Professional training

  • The Scottish Government’s Insight online tool is set to ‘help drive change in Scottish education, and in particular…improve parity of esteem between academic and non-academic qualifications and rewards’.

Workload

  • “Arrangements should be put in place to enable active monitoring of the volume of political expectations of local authorities, schools and senior leaders to ensure they are realistic, manageable and well understood.”

More details will follow after this afternoon’s parliamentary statement and the debate on the report.

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