SCDC welcomes the Education (Scotland) Bill

Statement from the SCDC 

Scottish Community Development Centre (SCDC) plays a leading role in promoting community development in Scotland. Many of our staff are members of the Community Learning and Development Standards Council (CLDSC) and actively support its work.

SCDC welcomes the Education (Scotland) Bill as it creates positive opportunities to address broader educational issues which impact on communities, parents and learners. Increased investment in the CLD workforce is essential in achieving these goals and we believe that the proposed legislation could strengthen implementation of Scottish Governments Strategic Guidance for CLD and the Community Learning and Development (Scotland) Regulations 2013. However, we also recognise that the CLD workforce is considerably broader than those involved in educational activity, it spans the public, third and community-led regeneration sectors, including volunteers, and all are needed to reshape conditions in communities. It also includes those carrying out community development functions in community planning and other related disciplines. Combining the CLDSC and the new Education Workforce Council should be seen in this wider context.

CLD plays a key role in supporting mainstream education in schools and in adult learning. Its methods of engaging and supporting young people, adult learners and communities are well evidenced through the inspection process. We support the view that the Education (Scotland) Bill could deepen this role through better links with teachers and other professionals. This is vital in creating an infrastructure for enabling the wider wellbeing environment essential to the delivery of services which address inequality in attainment. However, the context for CLD is increasingly re-focusing on empowerment activity with communities and there is a need to balance these inter-related, but distinct, roles.

The broader imperative for CLD, and other public services, to implement the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 requires community capacity building and engagement support to meet new statutory requirements. These activities are essential in delivering the National Performance Framework, and creating transformative change via co-production to strengthen services and address inequality for individuals, families and communities.

To protect and sustain the broader focus of CLD as described above, we support the CLDSC’s position on the need for an autonomous body for CLD in Scotland, attuned to the needs of this wider CLD workforce and supporting its professional learning and standards.  This would be better placed to support the focus on community and citizen empowerment. Such a structure would still support learning for CLD within and between disciplines but do so across a wider landscape than those focused purely on education. This is key to addressing the wider social determinants for improving educational and other social outcomes, and in implementing service reform.