The Gathered Together Toolkit- “Understanding The Scottish Education System”


Creating the toolkit

From our work with ethnic minority parents it became clear that many parents do not understand the Scottish education system- parents were unsure how their children were being taught, what exams they would sit and did not know about all the options open to children on leaving school (including Modern Apprenticeships). In our research into the experiences of 164 ethnic minority families only 20% of the parents knew what the Curriculum for Excellence was, one parent, on being asked if she knew what the Curriculum for Excellence was, said

No idea at all- but I know from someone who told me it is very hard to understand (Mother, Pakistan)

We wanted to help EM parents to understand the education system in Scotland and build their capacity to best support their children’s learning. In October 2015, Gathered Together, in partnership with other organisations including SPTC, Glasgow EAL service, College Development Network and the Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland delivered a series of workshops for ethnic minority parents to help them understand the Scottish Education System including the Curriculum for Excellence, the options open to children once they leave school, how parental involvement works in Scotland and the legislation that is in place to keep children safe, healthy and happy. From these workshops we developed the toolkit as a resource for schools, parents and organisations supporting EM families.

Using the toolkit

This toolkit is for schools, parents and organisations working with EM families. We believe that it is vital that all parents are supported to become partners in their children’s learning and that parents from ethnic minorities are supported to be able to give their children the support and guidance they need to achieve their potential. This toolkit is designed to give parents a basic understanding of four key areas:

  • The Scottish education system
  • Post 16 Choices
  • Parental Involvement
  • Keeping children safe, healthy and happy

Each area includes a presentation and facilitator notes, handouts with additional resources and activities. When delivering the toolkit you may add or delete slides as you find appropriate and adapt the script to suit the style and length of your session.

  • Scottish Education System

    The Scottish Education System gives a brief over-view of the education system- including how children are taught, what the Curriculum for Excellence is and when the key events happen for children (including starting school, choosing subjects and exams).
  • Post 16 Choices

    Post 16 Choices highlights the options that are open to children in Scotland once they turn 16- including university, college and Modern Apprenticeships and the supports available to young people in each of these pathways.
  • Parental Involvement

    Parental Involvement outlines how parents can support their children’s learning, the value that being involved can bring and an over view of the role of the Parent Council.
  • Keeping children safe, healthy and happy

    Keeping children safe, healthy and happy provides a very brief introduction to some of the legislation that is in place to protect children’s rights and ensure that children are safe, healthy and happy. Included is information on the Getting It Right For Every Child approach, the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.