Education in Scotland has a long history, beginning in medieval times with Church-run schools. The Protestant Reformation led to the establishment of parish schools, ensuring education for all. Scottish education evolved through various reforms, including the significant Education Acts of 1872 and 1918.
The Education Act 1872 established universal education and free primary schooling for children aged five to thirteen. The Education (Scotland) Act 1918 extended compulsory education to age 14, introduced secondary education for all, abolished school fees, and allowed for a dual system accommodating religious and non-religious schools.
Powers devolved to the Scottish Parliament:
- Education policy and curriculum: the Scottish Parliament has the power to set educational policy and determine the curriculum for schools in Scotland. It comprises the development and implementation of the Curriculum of Excellence, which provides a framework for learning and teaching across different stages of education.
- School administration and governance: legislation related to the school administration and governance, it determines the powers and responsibilities of local authorities, school boards and head teachers.
- Teacher recruitment and employment: it can set requirements for teacher qualifications, registration and ongoing professional development.
- Funding and budgets: power to allocate funds to local authorities and educational institutions, considering priorities and needs. The Parliament determines the overall budget and makes funding decisions.
- Student support and welfare: student financial assistance, school meals, student welfare services and additional support for students with special needs.
- Higher education: it determines the policy and funding framework for universities and colleges, including tuition fees, student funding and quality assurance.
Powers reserved by the UK Parliament:
Education in Scotland is not directed by the UK Parliament. The Scottish education system has its own distinct legislative framework and is primarily directed by the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government.
It has limited powers, mainly related to research funding and the regulation of professional bodies.
In March 2023, Graeme was appointed as Minister for Higher and Further Education; and Minister for Veterans.
As the Minister, he has specific responsibility for further education and colleges, higher education and universities, science and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics, student funding, youth work, and widening access to education.
Any questions in relation to his portfolio should be addressed to MinisterHEFEV@gov.scot
What Graeme can do:
- Build relationships with local schools, colleges and universities, and visit these institutions.
- Visit schools to engage in conversation, debates and questions with students about politics and current affairs.
- Assist his constituents in navigating the application process for grants, scholarships or bursaries.
- Raise awareness about the available financial aid options and help students and their families access these opportunities.
- Encourage lifelong learning by promoting adult education program, vocational training and apprenticeships.
- Guide his constituents on education-related matters.
- Be in contact with schools and universities to ask questions about potential issues the constituents might be facing.
What Graeme cannot do:
- Directly control educational institutions. MSPs cannot have direct control over an individual school, college or university, as they are managed by educational boards or governing bodies.
- Alter the curriculum content: its development usually lies within the expertise of education professionals and government bodies.