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EACEA National Policies Platform


6. Education and Training

6.10 Current debates and reforms

Last update: 25 January 2021
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  1. Forthcoming policy developments
  2. Ongoing debates

Forthcoming Policy Developments


UNCRC Incorporation Bill

In September 2020, the government announced the UNCRC (United Nations Convention on the Human Rights of the Child) Incorporation Bill - to introduce legislation to fully implement the international human rights treaty into Scottish law. This is a significant step towards ensuring all children and young people growing up in Scotland have their human rights respected, protected and fulfilled, where the right to education is central. The Children and Young People’s Commissioner in Scotland would have power to take legal action if children’s rights under the UNCRC are breached and the Scottish Government must publish a Children’s Rights Scheme to show how they are meeting UNCRC requirements and explain their future plans for children’s rights.

The aim is for the Bill to be passed before the end of the current parliamentary term in 2020.



The Scottish Government consulted on the Draft British Sign Language (BSL) National Plan 2017-2023. Subject to the consultation outcomes, by 2023 Scottish Ministers will take these steps:

  • ensure that education authorities and schools know that BSL can be part of the language offer in schools under the 1+2 language policy
  • gather information annually on where BSL is being offered in schools as part of the 1+2 language policy
  • gather and share examples of good practice in teaching BSL to hearing pupils as part of 1+2, and make sure there is guidance to support this
  • make sure that students whose first or preferred language is BSL have a much more positive experience when they make the transition to post-school education
  • ensure that schools, colleges, universities and employers are aware of their responsibilities and work together to improve the information given to BSL users.

The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) will establish a steering group to help colleges and universities develop their own BSL plans. Further details are available.



In 2020, the COVID-19 Education Recovery Group was set up with the aim to: 

  • bring together decision makers and key influencers to ensure that the delivery of childcare, early learning and education maintains a strong focus on excellence and equity for all, within the necessary constraints of the COVID-19 response
  • provide leadership and advice to ministers and local government leaders in developing the strategic approach to the response and recovery of the ELC and education system
  • work across organisational and structural boundaries to support the response and recovery efforts
  • consider and provide advice on any proposed changes in Scottish education strategy, taking into account any long-term effects of the COVID-19 response
  • be a forum for frank and open discussion about what is working and what and where more improvement is required

A review of exams and revision of practices is being discussed as a result of the pandemic. In the Programme for Government 2020-2021, it states: 

To ensure that we best recognise the achievements of Scotland’s young people in the future we have already appointed a leading education expert to carry out an independent review of the handling of awarding of qualifications in 2020. In addition, we will ensure a broader independent review of the Scottish approach to assessment and qualifications takes place which will consider best practice globally and provides recommendations. To ensure no young person loses out on a chance of a university place, we will also provide additional funded places. 

It remains to be seen what developments will come from this review.



The UK left the EU on January 31st 2020 at 11pm, beginning the transition period that is set to end on December 31st 2020. Anupdate on the website of the Erasmus+ UK National Agency states that: 

under the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated with the EU, the UK will continue to participate fully in the current (2014-2020) Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps (ESC) programmes. This means that the projects successfully bid for during the current (2014-2020) Erasmus+ and ESC programmes will continue to receive EU funding for the full duration of the project, including those where funding runs beyond 2020 and the end of the transition period. As a result, the UK government guarantee of EU funding will no longer be required and the Erasmus+ and ESC guarantee IT system has been closed. 

Additional updates have been published on theErasmus+ site.


Internet safety strategy

In 2017, the Internet Safety Strategy Green Paper was released, which set out proposals to tackle unacceptable behaviour and content online. Since then, the Government’s period of consultation and responseto the Green Paper, as well as the 2018 Digital Charter set out to create a more regulated and safer online experience in the UK for all. The Charter states an investment of an additional £7 billion in research and development by 2021/22, delivering major upgrades to the digital infrastructure, and states the government will introduce a new statutory duty of care enforced by an independent regulator to tackle harmful online content. A National Data Strategy is also expected to be established.