Community Learning and Development Policy transferred from Education Scotland to the Scottish Government in September 2018. Prior to this transfer, the Strategic Forum for Adult Learning, supported by Scottish Government and Education Scotland had been tasked to “develop a national framework for adult learning that outlines the key priorities in delivering adult learning in Scotland”. As a result, the forum developed the Adult Learning Statement of Ambition.
The Scottish Government is committed to supporting and developing adult learning. With this in mind, the new CLD Policy Team has worked with the adult learning sector to refresh this forum to create the Adult Learning Strategic Forum Scotland [ALSFS]. The forum’s revised membership and terms of reference were approved in April 2019. The ALSFS is anticipated to operate until 2023.
The ALSFS will provide strategic advice to the Scottish Government in support of adult learning policy and in particular on matters of direction, performance and planning. Their current focus is to build on the Statement of Ambition and develop a new Adult Learning Strategy for Scotland to be launched sometime in the spring of 2020. At the Adult Learning Conference at Newbattle Abbey College on 22nd May, the Minister for Further Education Higher Education and Science: Richard Lochhead, announced that the ALSFS would be chaired by the former principal of West Lothian College Mhairi Harrington.
The ALSFS will continue to consult across the adult learning sector and more widely with other areas of the education and skills system and significant organisations in the public private and third sectors. The Adult Learning Conference in May provided an opportunity for both discussion groups and workshops on the priorities for adult learning and what should this new adult learning strategy aim to deliver for the people of Scotland. The Minister made it clear in his speech that this strategy must be about more than ambition and characterised by delivery and action
While consultation is and will be essential, the ALSFS has recognised the sense of urgency in the development of the strategy and that clear direction and focus is also needed. To that end it has tasked several members of the ALSFS to form a working group to take the strategy forward. The members of the working group are:-
Ray McCowan – Workers Educational Association
Jackie Howie – Learning Link Scotland
Emma Whitelock – LEAD Scotland
James King – Scottish Prison Service
Jane Logue – CLD Managers Scotland
Wendy Burton – Scottish Union Learning
Sandra Grieve – Newbattle Abbey College
Bonnie Slade – University of Glasgow
Nicola McAndrew – Scottish Government
Elisha Fisher – Scottish Government
Lindsay MacDonald – Education Scotland
The group met the day after the Adult Learning Conference and have agreed to meet once a month until the strategy is delivered in the Spring of 2020. Work has begun on a survey aimed at ensuring that learners are fully involved in the consultation process and will have a significant say in the strategy’s development. At the same time they are building on the large amount of work already undertaken to develop the key themes of the strategy. They are considering how they can promote an intensive week of consultation across the country in the early autumn to get some focus on the development of the strategy. The aim is to deliver the first draft of the strategy and to circulate this out for extended consultation by late autumn 2019.
The intention is to keep stakeholders across the sector fully informed on how the work of the ALSFS is progressing. This will be achieved through regular updates to the sector following on from each monthly meeting of the ALSFS.