The Education Committee brings together experts across all areas and levels of education to debate and analyse educational issues and produce recommendations for decision-makers. Since its inception in 2009, it has established itself as an independent and credible voice on various education issues such as the attainment gap, the review of Curriculum for Excellence and interdisciplinary learning.
The Education Committee will:
Be concerned with all aspects of education in Scotland, and at all stages
Consider education initiatives or proposals and advises RSE Council on how the Society should respond to these, particularly those from Government
Organise, where appropriate, events that stimulate debate on educational issues
Be proactive in identifying and promoting priorities for education in Scotland
Be guided by the Programme Committee on resources, priorities, strategic fit and links with other work.
- Meeting frequency: normally meets three or four times a year as agreed by the committee.
- Activities outwith meetings: to ensure that the RSE is in a position to engage with developments between meetings, sub-groups can be established to develop contributions by the Society to ongoing changes in education in Scotland. Such sub-groups must ensure that any submissions are signed off by the Convener or Vice Convener.
- The Convener is responsible for signing off submissions and external engagement by the Committee. RSE General Secretary is responsible for signing off Education Committee responses on behalf of the Society.
- Budgetary responsibility: to remain within the budget as set by Council. If projects or initiatives arise which would go beyond this, a case must be presented to the Council or appropriate Office Bearer with delegated powers for approval.
- Committee quorum: at least Four members must attend meetings, including Convener or member of Council.
- Reports to: the RSE Council.
The future of education
The RSE’s plans focus on the education and skills system that will be needed as we transition to a net zero economy and sustainable development and practices, while stressing inclusion and interdependence and coherence across the education system.
Key questions that sit beneath this overarching challenge include:
What does society value in education and skills?
How do we ensure we have the skills to achieve net zero?
What knowledge do learners need?
What is the balance between knowledge and skills?
What is it we are seeking to assess in education?
The committee is also actively engaged in the education reform agenda that is underway in Scotland, coordinating expertise advice and stimulating wide-ranging debate on critical issues. This includes the implementation of the findings of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) review of Curriculum for Excellence, Professor Ken Muir’s review of educational governance, and the Hayward review of qualifications and assessment.
The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) has, in partnership with others, sought over many years to raise the profile of interdisciplinary learning (IDL) in Scottish education, especially at primary and secondary school levels. While IDL is an explicit context for learning within Curriculum for Excellence (CfE), it has not yet been widely developed or embedded in school practice. The Committee recognises that there are positive examples of IDL being successfully implemented in schools, but in others it is clear that there has been little or no coordinated IDL development, indicating sporadic implementation at best.
The Education Committee held its first major full-day conference in January 2019 on the topic of IDL in education. This brought together policy makers and influencers, practitioners, learners and employers, and combined insights from leading international figures and practical wisdom and experience from closer to home. The conference considered: what IDL is; the importance of IDL for addressing major societal and global challenges; how IDL is currently being developed and delivered in Scotland and in other education systems; the main challenges to implementing IDL; and how teachers and schools can be supported to deliver IDL.
IDL teaching resources
Early years education
The RSE held an early years conference that focused on placing the needs of children – their being and belonging – at the heart of early learning.
The conference took a comprehensive look at placing the needs of children at the heart of their learning, rather than focusing on early learning and childcare (ELC) as a means to an economic or practical end. The event comprised a series of plenary sessions which began by identifying problems before presenting potential solutions, culminating in a final session to hear sectoral views on where Scotland wants the ELC system to be ten years from now and the steps needed to get there.
Contact the education committee
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