CHAPTER 12: EDUCATION AND LIFELONG LEARNING
The Education and Lifelong Learning portfolio is responsible for government policy for further and higher education, community and adult learning and development, skills and training, and for schools, children, young people and social care. The portfolio contributes substantively to all our Strategic Objectives and is the principal driver of our smarter Strategic Objective.
The portfolio resources further and higher education through the Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council and the Student Awards Agency for Scotland and is responsible for policy relating to all aspects of lifelong learning, including science, skills, community and adult learning, and literacy and numeracy.
Our responsibility for the provision of school education and community learning and development is shared with local authorities, individual schools and Community Planning Partnerships, and is to:
- work with local authorities, providing direction on priorities and measuring progress against those priorities;
- support and encourage local authorities and schools through guidance, advice, benchmarking of information and specific support for developments, including workforce planning; and
- provide guidance on the curriculum, the assessment system, the national qualifications framework and quality assurance through national inspection.
Responsibility for the provision of children's services and social care is also shared, both with other portfolios and with a range of service providers. The central Scottish Government budget supports workforce development and broader improvement in social services and the development of a range of policies and services for children and young people, particularly the most vulnerable. This involves working with, and through, local authorities and health boards as well as the voluntary and independent sectors that are largely responsible for the delivery of services. Our role is to assist service users and service providers by providing a policy and legislative framework, giving strategic direction and guidance and providing quality assurance through inspection and national standards.
SUMMARY OF KEY SPENDING PRIORITIES FOR THE EDUCATION AND LIFELONG LEARNING PORTFOLIO
A significant proportion of Scottish Government funding is allocated to local authorities and used to deliver local education and lifelong learning services - such as schools, nurseries and social care. Indeed the majority of the funding for schools, children, young people and social care is held and administered by local authorities. Chapters 17 and 27 set out the local government responsibilities for delivering national priorities and services relevant to the portfolio through improving the learning experience and expanding and improving early years provision, in particular:
- joint working to improve the learning experience for children and young people by improving the fabric of schools and nurseries and developing and delivering A Curriculum for Excellence;
- as quickly as is possible, reducing class sizes in P1 to P3 to a maximum of 18 and ensuring access to a teacher for every pre-school child, and making substantial progress towards a 50 per cent increase in pre-school entitlement for 3 and 4 year olds;
- legislating to extend entitlement to nutritious free school meals to all primary and secondary school pupils of families in receipt of maximum child or working tax credit in 2009 and to allow further extension of free school meals to all P1 to P3 pupils in 2010;
- giving more school pupils opportunities to experience vocational learning; and
- improving support for children, young people and families at risk including providing allowances for kinship carers of looked after children.
Most of the portfolio's resources go to the tertiary education system through the Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council and the Student Awards Agency for Scotland.
Spending priorities for the Education and Lifelong Learning portfolio for 2008-09 to 2010-11 are briefly described below. More detail about portfolio spending is given in table 12.01 and in chapter 22.
Improving life chances
- Ensure all children and young people have the best start in life and promote early intervention to protect vulnerable children and families at risk (£103.4m/£105.5m/£102.8m) by developing policy focused on improving children's services and users of social care.
Successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens
- Focus classroom practice upon the child and around the four capacities of education by investing £133.2m/£136.1m/£140.8m to develop a range of policies with local authorities and schools, notably the Curriculum for Excellence.
More skilled, successful and innovative
- Spend £3.9m/£7.9m/£7.9m to implement Skills for Scotland and increase funding to develop the capacity of the community learning and development (including adult literacy and numeracy) workforce;
- support students with funding of £509.1m/£507.7m/£533.8m, with a total of £29.0m/£30.0m/£60.0m for a phased transition from student loans to grants, starting with part-time students; and
- invest £1.49bn/£1.56bn/£1.61bn in further and higher education institutions in Scotland, recognising their central role in supporting our overall Purpose and Strategic Objectives; and in addition, increase capital investment to £176.7m/£191.6m/£192.7m. Taking account of Spending Review increases and the £100 million capital addition in 2007-08, the total planned capital investment from 2007-08 to 2010-11 will increase by 20 per cent from £692 million (if the original 2007-08 budget of £172.9 million had continued) to £834 million (£272.9m/£176.8m/£191.5m/£192.7m).
Table 12.01 Spending Plans 2008-11
2008-09 Draft Budget £m
2009-10 Plans £m
2010-11 Plans £m
Children, Young People and Social Care
Student Awards Agency for Scotland ( SAAS)
Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council
Other Lifelong Learning
Student Loans Subsidy to Banks (outside TME)