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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-07835: Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 8 March 2017

To ask the Scottish Government how it mainstreams gender equality in (a) early years, (b) primary, (c) secondary, (d) further and (e) higher education.

Answered by: John Swinney 16 March 2017

The Scottish Government wants all children and young people to realise their full potential regardless of their circumstances or any protected characteristic, including sex (gender). School education is underpinned by policies which have equality considerations embedded throughout, including: Getting it Right for Every Child; Curriculum for Excellence; and Additional Support for Learning. We published a 2013-17 equalities outcome for education, which includes a focus on gender, and reported progress on mainstreaming the equality duty in 2015. We will report progress again in April 2017.

We define our vision for Equity and Excellence in schools in the 2017 National Improvement Framework (NIF) and Improvement Plan. NIF sets out our high-level strategic plans for improvement and identifies specific improvement activity, such as actions around teacher professionalism and school leadership intended to mainstream equality.

Gender equality in Further and Higher Education is a priority for all of Scotland’s colleges and universities as both an employer and educational establishment. The Scottish Funding Council has published a Gender Action Plan in order to address gender imbalances and reduce gender gaps amongst staff and students. Its Outcome Agreements ask institutions to remove barriers and support full participation and successful outcomes for all groups of learners in their local community.

The Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Bill announced in the Programme for Government 2016-17, will require positive action to be taken to redress gender imbalance on public sector boards, including colleges and universities.

Education Scotland’s self-evaluation tools How Good is Our Early Learning and Childcare?, How Good is Our School?, and How Good is our College?, enable early learning and childcare settings, schools and colleges to evaluate the quality of outcomes for learners’ wellbeing, equality and inclusion.