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Scotland's Spending Plans and Draft Budget 2016-17


Chapter 6 Education and Lifelong Learning


The Education and Lifelong Learning portfolio is responsible for government policy related to improving outcomes for children and young people as well as developing and championing the social care workforce. This includes all aspects of early years provision; support for children and families; school education; further and higher education; university research, innovation and knowledge exchange; science; and community and adult learning and development.

The work of the portfolio makes a significant contribution to tackling inequality and towards more fiscally sustainable public services. It links closely to that of the Fair Work, Skills and Training portfolio by ensuring effective alignment of school and college education to industry needs and helps to better prepare individuals for work. It aligns to the Finance, Constitution and Economy portfolio in supporting the translation of our world-class university research into economic growth. It also aligns to the Health, Wellbeing and Sport, and Justice portfolios by supporting early intervention to increase positive outcomes.

Funding within the local government settlement provides for local authority delivery of early learning and childcare, school education and social work.


We will continue to invest in early learning and childcare as we work towards delivering the increased entitlement of 1,140 hours a year by the end of the next Parliament. This will include additional investment in a graduate-led workforce to ensure the best level of care, support and educational development in the early phase of the learner journey, with an initial focus on our most disadvantaged communities. Alongside this, we will continue to tackle inequalities and improve outcomes for our youngest and most disadvantaged children with a programme of work to strengthen child protection and by supporting the use of improvement methodology through the combined efforts of our childhood collaborative programmes.

We will continue the development and implementation of a National Improvement Framework for Scottish Education which sets out our clear priorities for delivering excellence and equity in Scottish education. The development of the Framework represents a new phase in the ongoing implementation of Curriculum for Excellence, as we work towards improving literacy and numeracy via programmes such as Read, Write, Count, throughout schools in Scotland. The Framework and the Scottish Attainment Challenge, as part of the Attainment Scotland Fund, will underpin the work to close the attainment gap between the most and least disadvantaged children. We will continue to invest in the quality of our teaching profession and school estate through the implementation of Teaching Scotland’s Future and the Schools for the Future programme.

The government looks to the higher education sector to maintain its focus on benefits for learners through a high quality and streamlined learner journey; to enhance its contribution to innovation; and to further increase efficiency and value for money in its operations. Our aim is to ensure that economic and social outcomes from the sector are maintained and enhanced. In terms of future funding levels, we will seek to ensure that over the period of the spending review to 2019-20, the allocation for higher education from the Scottish Government’s budget will support the continued success of our world-class, research-excellent and internationally competitive universities. We will also work with the sector to develop a Compact that will provide a longer-term framework for a productive partnership focused on working together to maximise the benefits of higher education for Scotland’s success.

We will continue to invest substantially in the college and university sectors with a particular focus on tackling inequality by working to widen access to university and ensuring we address underrepresentation of women and other groups, on courses and in academia. We maintain our commitment to create a world-class vocational education system. To that end, we have maintained current levels of funding for the college sector to deliver courses that support young people into employment.

In support of our youth employment strategy, ‘Developing the Young Workforce’, we will complement the work being undertaken within the Fair Work, Skills and Training portfolio to strengthen links between our schools, colleges, universities, employers, local authorities and Skills Development Scotland, ensuring a seamless transition for young people from education and training to work.

We will continue to support high-quality learning in our higher education institutions that equips graduates for employment. We will support accelerated translation of world-class research into economic growth through the work of the Innovation Scotland Forum to increase collaboration and knowledge exchange between universities and businesses, and continue to invest in Scotland’s network of innovation centres.

Table 6.01: Spending Plans (Level 2)

Level 2 2015-16 Draft Budget
2015-16 Budget
2016-17 Draft Budget
Learning 191.3 191.3 201.5
Children and Families 120.4 120.4 117.2
Advanced Learning and Science* 7.7 7.7 6.7
SFHEFC 1,647.2 1,647.2 1,652.1
HESS** 970.3 970.3 876.3
Total Level 2 2,936.9 2,936.9 2,853.8
of which:
DEL Resource 2,478.9 2,478.9 2,375.0
DEL Capital 103.0 103.0 85.5
Financial Transactions 7.2 7.2 14.0
AME 347.8 347.8 379.3
Central Government Grants to Local Authorities 4.5 4.5 4.5

*Previously Lifelong Learning and Science

** Note – the fall in HESS is largely due to a decrease in ringfenced non-cash budget relating to the student loans RAB charge. This does not represent a real spending cut as budget cannot be redeployed.

Table 6.02: Spending Plans (Level 2 real terms) at 2015-16 prices

Level 2 2015-16 Draft Budget
2015-16 Budget
2016-17 Draft Budget
Learning 191.3 191.3 198.1
Children and Families 120.4 120.4 115.2
Advanced Learning and Science* 7.7 7.7 6.6
SFHEFC 1,647.2 1,647.2 1,624.5
HESS 970.3 970.3 861.7
Total Level 2 2,936.9 2,936.9 2,806.1
of which:
DEL Resource 2,478.9 2,478.9 2,335.2
DEL Capital 103.0 103.0 84.1
Financial Transactions 7.2 7.2 13.8
AME 347.8 347.8 373.0
Central Government Grants to Local Authorities 4.5 4.5 4.4

*Previously Lifelong Learning and Science


Table 6.03: More Detailed Spending Plans (Level 3)

Level 3 2015-16 Budget
2016-17 Draft Budget
People and Infrastructure 82.0 60.6
Strategy and Performance 24.7 55.0
Learning and Support 33.7 36.7
Gaelic 23.2 23.2
Education Scotland 24.8 23.3
Education Analytical Services 2.9 2.7
Total 191.3 201.5
of which:
DEL Resource 128.6 170.8
DEL Capital 55.5 26.7
Financial Transactions 7.2 4.0
AME - -

What the budget does

The majority of expenditure on school education in Scotland is funded by local authorities from budgets outlined in the local government chapter. The Learning budget delivers improved outcomes for learners through targeted national programmes for education and related support. This budget includes the Attainment Scotland Fund which supports the Scottish Attainment Challenge programme. Launched in February 2015, this four-year fund provides targeted funding in local authorities and schools with the highest concentrations of deprivation, and is focused on closing the attainment gap. The budget also contributes to the delivery of Gaelic education at all stages of education, including support to key bodies such as Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Storlann, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and MG ALBA’s contribution to BBC ALBA. Education Scotland provides frontline support for the implementation of learning and teaching in Scotland.

In 2016-17 we will:

  • continue to support the delivery of the Scottish Attainment Challenge through the Attainment Scotland Fund which will focus on targeted improvements in literacy, numeracy, and health and wellbeing;
  • fund the development and implementation of a National Improvement Framework for Scottish Education which will support the Scottish Attainment Challenge by providing the data and evidence needed to ensure that every child can achieve the high standards set out within Curriculum for Excellence;
  • provide £24.3 million capital funding to invest in the Schools for the Future programme to contribute to the delivery of new or improved schools across Scotland;
  • ensure that we develop the right number of new teachers whilst maintaining teacher numbers and investing to strengthen the skills of the existing workforce;
  • provide funding for bodies and projects which maintain momentum in the use of Gaelic, increase the numbers speaking, learning and using Gaelic and issue Guidance on Gaelic education as required by the Gaelic provisions of the Education (Scotland) Bill; and
  • act on the findings of the OECD review of Curriculum for Excellence by continuing to support the delivery of Scotland’s approach to learning and teaching, including through the work of Education Scotland and the Scottish Qualifications Authority.

Children and Families

Table 6.04: More Detailed Spending Plans (Level 3)

Level 3 2015-16 Budget
2016-17 Draft Budget
Care and Justice 52.6 54.7
Children’s Rights and Wellbeing 5.5 6.0
Disclosure Scotland 6.8 0.8
Early Years 38.8 38.9
Office of the Chief Social Work Adviser 16.7 16.8
Total 120.4 117.2
of which:
DEL Resource 120.4 113.1
DEL Capital - 4.1
AME - -

What the budget does

The Children and Families budget supports a broad range of activity to improve outcomes for children, young people and families. We continue to provide support in the early years of life, and at the earliest point where problems emerge.

This includes investing in support and services that give parents and carers, who have such an essential role, the support, advice and guidance that will help them give the children and young people in their care the best start in life, particularly the most disadvantaged in society.

In 2016-17 we will:

  • continue investment in the Third Sector to support the delivery of vital services to those children and families who need them most;
  • support delivery of the children’s hearings system via Children’s Hearings Scotland and Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration;
  • continue to support the functions of the children’s services workforce regulator – the Scottish Social Services Council – and drive delivery of the Social Services Shared Vision and Strategy;
  • support the implementation of key provisions in the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014;
  • provide strengthened protection and care for children at risk through more effective evidence-based interventions, earlier permanence, better support for carers and embedding our collective approach to corporate parenting; and
  • resource the independent inquiry into Historic Child Abuse to continue its vital work.

Advanced Learning and Science[1]

Table 6.05: More Detailed Spending Plans (Level 3)

Level 3 2015-16 Budget
2016-17 Draft Budget
Qualifications and Accreditation 2.3 2.2
Higher Education 2.0 1.5
Office of the Chief Scientific Adviser 3.4 3.0
Total 7.7 6.7
of which:
DEL Resource 7.7 6.7
DEL Capital - -
AME - -

What the budget does

This budget principally supports policy and development relating to qualification accreditation and international mobility opportunities to enhance employability for students.

This budget also includes the work of what was previously the Office of the Chief Scientific Adviser – now mainstreamed into Advanced Learning and Science Directorate. It promotes Scotland as a science and innovation nation and enables the Scottish Government to make best use of science advice and knowledge. This includes support for science engagement and promotion across Scotland, including our science centres and science festivals.

In 2016-17 we will:

  • continue to support qualification accreditation; and
  • embed the work of a new Chief Scientific Adviser and a refreshed Scottish Science Advisory Council to promote Scotland’s science and to ensure we make best use of science advice, knowledge and techniques.

Scottish Funding Council

Table 6.06: More Detailed Spending Plans (Level 3)

Level 3 2015-16 Budget
2016-17 Draft Budget
College Operational Expenditure 695.7 715.1
College Operational Income (165.4) (184.8)
Net College Resource 530.3 530.3
College NPD expenditure - 24.4
HE Resource 1,062.5 1,027.2
College Capital Expenditure 45.0 50.0
College Capital Receipts (19.5) (23.0)
Net College Capital 25.5 27.0
HE Capital 21.0 35.7
SFHEFC Admin 7.9 7.5
Total 1,647.2 1,652.1
of which:
DEL Resource 1,600.7 1,589.4
DEL Capital 46.5 52.7
Financial Transactions - 10.0
AME - -

What the budget does

The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) budget funds our investment in Scotland’s colleges and higher education institutions, including the Open University in Scotland. This funding will support the development and delivery of study programmes that offer coherent high-quality provision for learners across Scotland. It will also enable universities to undertake world-class research to maintain Scotland’s international competitiveness.

In 2016-17 we will:

  • maintain college funding at current levels. This will allow the reformed college sector to build on its strengths in delivery of relevant, high-quality learning connected to the needs of their regions;
  • continue to support free tuition ensuring that access to education is based on the ability to learn, not the ability to pay, and supporting a strong and productive labour force, with the skills to maximise our country’s economic potential;
  • continue to ensure best value from public investment in our universities by encouraging ambitious outcome agreements with them and by considering any recommendations emerging from Audit Scotland’s Audit of Higher Education in Scotland;
  • support access to higher education for students from more disadvantaged areas and consider how best to respond to the findings of the Commission on Widening Access;
  • continue to support initiatives which develop and enhance knowledge exchange including the programme of Innovation Centres;
  • work in partnership with the Scottish Funding Council, university sector and others to address the underrepresentation of women in STEM subject courses and in academia;
  • continue to work with the college and university sectors, with students and trade unions to ensure our colleges and universities reflect the highest possible principles of good governance; and
  • provide £10 million of financial transactions to support capital investment in the HE sector.

Higher Education Student Support

Table 6.07: More Detailed Spending Plans (Level 3)

Level 3 2015-16 Budget
2016-17 Draft Budget
Student Support and Tuition Fee Payments 301.6 301.6
Student Loan Company Administration Costs 4.5 4.5
Student Loan Interest Subsidy to Bank 3.0 3.0
Cost of Providing Student Loans (RAB charge)* 302.1 175.6
SAAS Operating Costs Resource 10.3 10.3
SAAS Operating Costs Capital 1.0 2.0
SAAS DEL Total 622.5 497.0
Net Student Loans Advanced 468.3 491.3
Capitalised Interest (52.0) (55.0)
Student Loans Fair Value Adjustment (72.0) (60.5)
Student Loan Sale Subsidy Impairment Adjustments 3.5 3.5
HESS AME Total 347.8 379.3
Total 970.3 876.3
of which:
DEL Resource 621.5 495.0
DEL Capital 1.0 2.0
AME 347.8 379.3

* Note: The fall in this budget line is due to a decrease in ringfenced non-cash budget relating to the student loans RAB charge. This does not represent a real spending cut as the budget cannot be redeployed.

What the budget does

The Higher Education Student Support (HESS) budget provides financial support to Scottish domiciled and EU students undertaking Higher Education courses in Scotland, and Scottish domiciled students studying in the rest of the UK. This includes the provision of free tuition in Higher Education. The HESS budget is administered by the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS).

The Annually Managed Expenditure (AME) figures are forecasts and relate to the amount of AME funding for student loans.

Student loans are provided at a cost to the Scottish Government which is calculated using the gross value of loans advanced in the year. The Student Loans Company administers the borrower’s loan accounts on behalf of the Scottish Government.

SAAS administers bursary schemes covering support for higher education students (at college and university).

The student loans Resource Accounting and Budgeting (RAB) charge is non-cash ringfenced resource to cover the cost of providing student loans and cannot be used for any other purpose. This budget has reduced significantly in 2016-17 to better reflect actual RAB charge requirements due to 2015-16 being artificially high as a result of budget consequentials arising from technical HM Treasury adjustments.

In 2016-17 we will:

  • continue to drive forward progress on priorities such as widening access, delivering on our commitment to ensure that education is based on the ability to learn and not the ability to pay;
  • continue to deliver on our commitment to support the poorest students with a minimum income guarantee, currently £7,625 per year in maintenance support and to keeping higher education free for Scottish domiciled students;
  • expand access for more students to the maximum student support package by raising the household income threshold from £17,000 to £19,000; and
  • continue to provide fee and maintenance loan support for postgraduate students on eligible taught courses.

Local Government Gaelic

Table 6.08: More Detailed Spending Plans (Level 3)

Level 3 2015-16 Budget
2016-17 Draft Budget
Local Government Gaelic Grant 4.5 4.5
Total 4.5 4.5
of which:
DEL Resource 4.5 4.5
DEL Capital

What the budget does

This budget supports local authorities with any additional costs associated with the delivery of Gaelic education and Gaelic-medium education in Scotland. Twenty-two authorities receive grants from this fund for a wide range of Gaelic education programme and projects.

In 2016-17 we will continue to use this fund to support the delivery of Gaelic education in schools at all levels.