11. SUMMARY OF PROPOSALS
EFFICIENT, FLEXIBLE LEARNER JOURNEYS
- Ensure all 16-19 year olds have a place in post-16 education and training, making that commitment for the first time.
- Maintain our focus on full implementation of Curriculum for Excellence, including the implementation of the new National Qualifications Framework.
- Ensure 16+ Learning Choices is fully and consistently implemented for all young people in Scotland, irrespective of where they learn.
- Complete the roll-out of Activity Agreements in order to improve access, retention and progression in learning for our more vulnerable 16/17 year olds.
- Modernise careers services in line with the Government's Career Information Advice and Guidance strategy.
- Develop our apprenticeship programme to deliver a wider range of progression and articulation opportunities, including higher level technical and graduate apprenticeships.
- Minimise bureaucracy for employers, particularly Small and Medium-sized Enterpises ( SMEs), and providers participating in our training programmes
- Review the current funding models for training, including how we can use funding to improve performance.
- Consider legislation to create a statutory framework guaranteeing articulation from college to university - where there is a clear curricular fit.
- Consider whether the higher national ( HN) qualifications need to be refreshed to improve how they prepare learners for university, while maintaining their value to employers.
- Further develop the Scottish Baccalaureate and other senior school qualifications and their use to gain advanced entry into higher education.
- Accelerate progress in the promotion and use of the SCQF within post-16 education and beyond, including articulation with advance standing across different parts of the system.
- Review the uptake of the SQA's vocational qualifications, taking a close look at the cost and priority of low demand qualifications.
WIDENING ACCESS TO POST-16 LEARNING
- Ensure full and consistent implementation of 16+ Learning Choices for our most vulnerable young people.
- Continue to support local authorities and partners to improve transitions planning, including specifically, implementation of the Additional Support for Learning legislation.
- Develop a community learning and development strategy that takes account of its contribution to wider national priorities, working with local authorities, the Third Sector and other partners.
- Maintain efforts to reach back well before the point of entry to start preparing the student and raising our collective ambitions for all our young people early in their school career.
- Ensure that raising aspirations is central to SDS's delivery of Career IAG, particular through its services for those needing additional support.
- Support Universities Scotland-led efforts to broaden universities approach to selection..
- Ask the SFC to develop a Widening Access Outcome Agreement in partnership with lead universities and to introduce financial penalties conditional on achievement.
- Consider placing a statutory duty on institutions to seek out those with the greatest potential who would be identified with reference to their grades and their situation.
ALIGNING NON-ADVANCED LEARNING & SKILLS WITH JOBS & GROWTH
- Improve the alignment of Government investment in learning and skills with jobs and growth, consistent with the needs of employers and the wider economy
- Ask the SFC to allocate its resources to meet the needs of regions; identify national provision and resource it to meet national needs; put new expectations on colleges to plan their courses to prepare students for careers in industries where there will be a good chance of them getting a job; focus funding on nationally recognised qualifications and units.
- Develop a range of employer engagement models - including the introduction of voluntary training levies and greater engagement with trade bodies
- Expand opportunities for practical work experience in other parts of the post-16 education system.
MAINTAINING SCOTLAND AS A GLOBAL LEARNER IN UNIVERSITY RESEARCH
- Ask the SFC to develop proposals to increase the concentration of our funding on research excellence and align our research to national priorities.
- Work with the SFC, Scottish Enterprise, and Highlands & Islands Enterprise to ensure university research is better exploited for the benefit of business, and the economy.
- Work with the sector and with the UK Government to ensure continuity of access to Research Council funding.
- Continue to engage with our stakeholders on the development of Horizon 2020 and encourage our research pools to engage further in Europe, increasing collaboration and maximising the opportunities to win research grants and contracts.
- Provide a new stream of competitive funding for postdoctoral exchanges with key partner countries in Europe, North America, China and India.
- Ask SFC and Industry Advisory Groups to identify opportunities for industry and universities to increase PhD students working on industrially-led projects.
- Work with the SFC and enterprise bodies as appropriate to review support for knowledge exchange and innovation to ensure it is effective, well aligned and genuinely joined up.
- Ask the SFC to develop, with universities, proposals for a single Knowledge Exchange Office.
FAIR AND AFFORDABLE STUDENT SUPPORT ARRANGEMENTS
- Review a range of factors related to non-advanced student support with a view to developing a more coherent, fairer and sustainable system.
- Establish a working group to develop proposals for the simplification of the higher education student support system and the options for the provision of a minimum income guarantee of at least £7,000 for the lowest income students.
- As part of this we will also consider the support available for postgraduate students through the Postgraduate Student Allowances Scheme ( PSAS).
- Develop new part-time policy proposals considering how we can clarify the balance between the student and/or institutional support.
EFFECTIVE & SUSTAINABLE DELIVERY
- Ask the SFC to move towards regionalisation of colleges, whilst protecting access-level provision locally.
- Ask the SFC to work with the college sector to determine the best regional structure, testing proposals against a range of criteria, including coherence of provision and value for money.
- Support the SFC and the colleges already involved in planning mergers to implement these quickly.
- Move to the new structure of colleges over the next three years.
- Ask the SFC to begin the process of funding colleges regionally from academic year 2012-13.
- Ask the SFC to work more closely with universities to consider how overlaps are best removed through greater collaboration or, where the case exists, merger.
- Continue to encourage universities to differentiate themselves, with institutions focusing on different markets, building on their strengths and achieving excellence in their areas of focus.
- Ask the SFC and the universities to give particular attention to capacity for language learning and to related issues..
- Legislate to require the SFC periodically to review the number and pattern of fundable bodies.
- Continue to work with partners to integrate skills and employment services so as to improve access and progression for those further from the labour market.
- Consider greater use of new technologies to enhance learner choice, support larger learner numbers (including those in-work) and extend geographical reach.
- Ensure SFC has the capacity to lead and support change, whilst simplifying its processes and streamlining bureaucracy.
SIMPLIFYING FUNDING AND INCREASING INCOME GENERATION
- Introduce a cap of £9,000 through primary legislation for 2013/14, subject to allowing universities to set their own fees for RUK students.
- Reinvest any savings arising from revisions to student number targets in areas where Scotland might otherwise lose its competitive edge.
- Examine options for an EU Management Fee, within the boundaries of European law.
- Continue to work with universities, the SFC and employer organisations to maximise the scope to generate income from philanthropic giving and contributions from business
- Work with Universities Scotland to identify individual and collaborative action to enhance efficiency.
- Ask the SFC to adapt its teaching funding methods so it can respond to our proposals for reform of the shape and structure of the sector.
- Ask the SFC to fund colleges based on the needs of a region, taking into account the demography and economy of the region in question.
- Ask the SFC to consider where there is scope to introduce funding models for regional universities, similar to those proposed for colleges.
- Work with SDS, the SFC and local authorities to consider the case for pooling budgets for pre-employment training programmes into a new approach to employability funding.
- Maximise the leverage exerted by Government funding through co-investment in non-advanced learning and skills with employers - and potentially individuals.
PERFORMANCE, GOVERNANCE AND ACCOUNTABILITY
- Pending the outcome of the higher education governance review, consider the functions of the Privy Council in relation to the governance of Scottish universities.
- Develop a more robust and coherent approach to the performance management of our institutions and training providers.
- Work with universities to ensure public information meets Scotland's needs and supports them to maintain their competitive position within the UK.
- Consider the case for expanding the quality assurance and improvement role of Education Scotland in relation to the wide range of post-16 learning and skills