The International Council of Education Advisers (ICEA), of which Professor Alma Harris from our Department of Education is a member, has made 19 recommendations to further strengthen the Scottish education system in a new report released this week.

Overall the council is supportive of the direction that Scotland’s reforms are taking, and it commends the core ambition of raising achievement and ensuring every child has an equal chance to succeed, regardless of their background.

In the council’s first formal report, it highlights progress made to date but also identifies the challenges in transforming the Scottish education system to devolve even more power and resources to schools.

Key findings

The council:

  • commends the Scottish Government for its continued support of Curriculum for Excellence;
  • notes the importance of the Scottish Attainment Challenge funding and progress being made as a result, with a recommendation that this work is continued and sustained;
  • recommends that Scotland’s strong track-record of collaboration and consensus remains the central focus of improvement, with further thought given to whether a legislative approach is essential;
  • welcomes the potential the Regional Improvement Collaboratives provide for capacity building and as a source of lasting cultural change.

Professor Harris explained: "It has been a pleasure working with the International Council of Education Advisers (ICEA) to advise the Scottish Government on its plans to consolidate equity and excellence throughout the education system. My research work, at the University of Bath, has been part of the collective advice, given by the ICEA, concerning future improvements and potential developments in the Scottish education system.

"It is clear that the Scottish education system is on the move and I have a huge respect for all those who work within and also on behalf of schools, so tirelessly and relentlessly, to secure better life chances for all the young people of Scotland.This is what is most important."​

A global leader in education

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “The advice and guidance the International Council of Education Advisers provides is vital in realising our ambition to learn lessons from around the world and ensure Scotland is a global leader in education.

“Their invaluable expertise and wide range of perspectives have helped to drive real improvement within our education system, challenging and scrutinising our plans each step of the way to ensure we are making the right decisions to improve outcomes for our young people.

“We will now consider the recommendations in the report in full, using them to inform our National Improvement Plan, as we continue our ambitious journey of empowerment and devolution to drive improvement in Scottish education.”