Call for evidence


Commission on School Reform Call for Written Evidence
We live in an increasingly competitive global economy.  At the same time, our society faces a range of difficult challenges.  Education is universally regarded as having a vital role to play in equipping Scotland to face these challenges.

Opinions differ on how well Scottish education performs.  However, no one can doubt that it needs to improve – and keep on improving – if it is to meet the country’s present and future needs.

The Commission on School Reform was set up by the think tanks Reform Scotland and the Centre for Scottish Public Policy to consider whether the school system in Scotland is meeting the present and future needs of young people and to make specific recommendations as to how things might be improved or areas that require further enquiry. 

Commission Members

  • Keir Bloomer (Chair - former President of the Association of Directors of Education and member of the group that wrote Curriculum for Excellence)
  • John Barnett (Former Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate and former Parent Council Chairman)
  • David Cameron (Former President of the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland)
  • Claire Hervey (Geography Teacher, Falkirk High School)
  • Hamira Khan (Chief Executive of the Scottish Youth Parliament)
  • Frank Lennon (Head of Dunblane High School)
  • Judith McClure (Former Head of St George’s School in Edinburgh; Convener of Scotland-China Education Network)
  • Anne Marie McGovern (Head of St Benedict’s Primary School, Easterhouse)
  • Linda McKay (Principal of Forth Valley College)
  • Cllr Paul McLennan (SNP leader of East Lothian Council)
  • Peter Peacock (Former Minister for Education and Labour MSP)
  • Morag Pendry (Education Development Manager at the Co-operative Education Trust Scotland)
  • Cllr Graham Simpson (Conservative Councillor in South Lanarkshire)
  • Professor Dame Joan Stringer (Principal of Edinburgh Napier University)
  • Angus Tulloch (Investment Manager)


  • To form a fair and objective view of Scotland’s educational performance compared with what is provided elsewhere;
  • To consider the challenges that Scottish education is likely to face in the next 50 years and how likely it is to meet those challenges;
  • To identify any problems with the current school system in Scotland and try to analyse the root causes of them; 
  • To develop proposals that will enable young people, whatever, their background, to fulfil their potential and meet the unprecedented challenges of the modern world.

In meeting its objectives, the Commission will want to consider key themes such as standards within Scottish education – how we compare with other countries as well as whether our system will meet the future needs of society and the economy; diversity within the Scottish school system; the governance structures of schools and support provided; how quality is assured and the incentives or obstacles to improve; funding; and broader social factors which affect education.  

In the course of its work, the Commission will look at the school systems of other comparable countries to establish how their achievements and structures compare with our own.  Further, it will consider whether the measures used in international comparisons provide a good guide to the ability of different systems to equip young people for life in the twenty first century.

Submitting Written Evidence
To inform the work of the Commission, you are invited to offer your views on any matters that are relevant to the remit.  Evidence from individuals as well as from organisations and professional bodies is welcome.  It would be helpful if respondents considered the following questions:

  1. What do you think are the main challenges facing Scottish schools and how are these best addressed?
  2. Is Scottish education sufficiently ambitious?  What should it do to ensure that it meets future challenges and remains internationally competitive?
  3. What are the outcomes for children and young people that we should hold as being most important?

Evidence should arrive by no later than Friday 29 June 2012.

Responses should be no more than six sides of A4 in length and be sent, wherever possible, electronically and in Microsoft Word format to

Hard copy responses may be sent to: Reform Scotland, 7-9 North St David Street, Edinburgh EH2 1AW.