‘Inquiry will put Scots schooling to the test’ – Scotsman

A MAJOR inquiry will begin today into all areas of schooling in Scotland.

The Commission on School Reform, established by independent thinktanks Reform Scotland and the Centre for Scottish Public Policy, includes representatives from political parties, heads of schools and colleges and figures from the business and sporting worlds.

Chaired by Keir Bloomer, former president of the Association of Directors of Education, the commission will meet for the first time today.

The inquiry is designed to ensure young people are able to reach their full potential in education.

Mr Bloomer, a member of the group that wrote the Curriculum for Excellence, said: “Our remit is very wide. There is really no aspect of Scottish education that we are prevented from considering.

“It will start by examining whether Scotland’s international reputation for excellence is still justified and whether our schools are still enabling young people, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to fulfil their potential and meet the unprecedented challenges of the modern world.

“In the course of its investigations, the commission will identify any problems with the current school system in Scotland and try to analyse the root causes of them.

“It will, therefore, consider key questions such as whether any problems are the result of a lack of funding or are connected with more fundamental structural issues such as the way in which our schools are governed and managed.”

Mr Bloomer added that the commission will look at the school systems in other countries to establish how their achievements compare with those in Scotland, and to consider if they would provide a “good guide”.

He said: “The commission will take evidence from a variety of individuals and organisations and, together with the lessons that can be learned from other countries and from our own past experience, this will inform the recommendations as to how we can improve the school system.

“The aim will be to produce a report setting out the commission’s findings and recommendations in the latter part of 2012.

“The commission’s aim is to be helpful,” he added. “It is not setting out to criticise this government or any of its predecessors. Rather, it is seeking to develop proposals that will help Scotland tackle the huge problems involved in being competitive in a world of bewilderingly rapid change.”