Who does what in Scottish Education?

The Scotland Act 1998 gave the Scottish Parliament power to make laws on devolved matters.  Education and training is a devolved matter. (others include health and social services, law and order, local government, sport and the arts).  Employment and Social security are amongst the reserved matters.

The Scottish Parliament comprises of elected Members of the Scottish Parliament and is the law-making body for all devolved matters.  The Parliament considers proposed legislation and scrutinises the activities and policies of the Scottish Government through debates, parliamentary questions and the work of committees.

Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) represent their constituents and can take a number of actions in the Scottish Parliament, including putting forward an issue for or speaking in a debate in the Parliament, introducing a bill or proposing changes to the law. Ask questions of the Scottish Government.   The MSPs in the other parties with responsibility for Learning/Education are:

Scottish Parliament – Party Spokespersons
Scottish Labour Iain Gray Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Education, Science and Skills
Scottish Conservative Liz Smith Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Education & Skills
Scottish Liberal Democrat Tavish Scott Spokesperson for Education and Sports
Green Ross Greer International Development, External Affairs, Education, Skills, Culture & Media Spokesperson

The main committee in the Parliament that deals with education related issues is the Education and Lifelong Learning Committee. The committee ask relevant parties to provide written or oral evidence if they are scrutinising an issue.  The NPFS has been asked to provide evidence.  The committee members are:

Scottish Parliament – Education and Culture Committee
Convener James Dornan SNP
Deputy Convener Johan Lamont Scottish Labour
Member Colin Beattie SNP
Member Daniel Johnson Scottish Labour
Member Fulton MacGregor SNP
Member Gillian Martin SNP
Member Jenny Gilruth SNP
Member Liz Smith Conservative
Member Ross Greer Scottish Green Party
 Member Ross Thomson Conservative

Scottish Government  is responsible for deciding how the country is run for devolved matters.  It makes policy and implements laws that have been passed by the Scottish Parliament.   The current Administration is the Scottish National Party (SNP).  Nicola Sturgeon is the First Minister and Head of the devolved Scottish Government.  She is supported by 9 Cabinet Secretaries and 12 Ministers.

The cabinet is made up of the senior members of the Scottish Government. Every Tuesday, during the Scottish Parliamentary term, the Cabinet meets to discuss the most important issues for the Scottish Government.   John Swinney ( Deputy First Minister) is Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills.

There are 12 ministers who are aligned to and support the work of the Scottish Cabinet. Shirley-Anne Somerville was appointed Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science in May 2016.  Shirley-Anne Somerville supports the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills

Scottish Government is managed by a Strategic Board of Directors (the civil service top table) who are responsible for different areas of responsibility.  Leslie Evans is the Chair of the Strategic Board.  The Director-General for Learning and Justice is Paul Johnston.

Scottish Government is made up of Civil Servants.  Learning Directorate is structured as follows:

Education Scotland is Scottish Government’s integrated national development and improvement agency for education, charged with providing support and challenge to our education system, right through from the early years to adult learning. It brings together the work of Learning and Teaching Scotland, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education and some functions currently carried out by Scottish Government.   As an Executive Agency of the government, Education Scotland agrees its broad strategic plan with Ministers, but also operates with a high degree of independence in turning that plan into practical action.  Dr Bill Maxwell, former HM Senior Chief Inspector of HM Inspectorate of Education is the  Chief Executive Officer of Education Scotland.

Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) is the national body in Scotland for the development, accreditation, assessment and certification of qualifications other than degrees and some professional qualifications. It is responsible to the Scottish Government for the credibility, reliability and worth of its qualifications.  The Chief Executive is Dr Janet Brown.

COSLA is the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, and is the representative voice of Scottish local government and also acts as the employers’ association on behalf of the majority of Scottish Councils.  There are 32 directly elected Councils in Scotland and 1,222 elected councillors who are elected every 4 years.   Councils are responsible for the delivery of local services including education.   COSLA represents collectively the Councils to Scottish Government.

ADES is the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland   They are an independent professional network for leaders and managers in education and children’s’ services.  They work in partnership with local and national government and other agencies.