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NEW COMMISSION TO PROBE HEALTH OF SCOTS SCHOOLING

A high-powered inquiry group is being set up to carry out a detailed, forensic examination into key aspects of schooling in Scotland and its fitness for 21th century purpose.

It is being established by the independent think tanks Reform Scotland and the Centre for Scottish Public Policy and will include in its number leading educationalists, representatives of different political parties, heads of schools and colleges and figures from the business world.

The Commission on School Reform will meet for the first time on November 25 under the chairmanship of Keir Bloomer, former President of the Association of Directors of Education and member of the group that wrote Curriculum for Excellence.

Keir Bloomer 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.

‘It 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 21st century.

‘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 that the commission makes as to how we can improve the school system in Scotland.  The aim will be to produce a report setting out the commission’s findings and recommendations in the latter part of 2012.’