Today [15 September] College Development Network (@ColDevNe) published a new research report, ‘Co-Creating the Learner Journey: School-College Partnerships and Effective Skills Pathways’.

Prepared for the Scottish Government’s Curriculum and Assessment Board, the report defines a School-College Partnership as any learning activity for young people aged 3-18 delivered by a college in collaboration with a school - with a focus on skills for life and work.

Significantly, the report shows that between 2016-17 and 2019-20 School-College Partnership enrolments rose from 53,000 to almost 73,000. The new research reveals that if the upward trend continues, once we have recovered from the pandemic, it is anticipated that 12% of all school pupils in Scotland will engage in study with a college.

The research, which contains 11 case studies, goes on to identify ten key characteristics of successful School-College Partnerships. It also makes nine recommendations, including the need for an annual report to allow meaningful and consistent comparison across school/college provision.

Jim Metcalfe, Chief Executive of CDN said:

‘I am delighted that CDN’s Research and Enhancement Centre has collaborated on the development of such an important piece of work for the college sector, and Scotland’s wider education landscape. The report’s findings and recommendations underline the critical work that colleges across the country are engaged in everyday with their schools and local communities.’

Dr Ken Thomson OBE, Chair of the School-College Partnership Report Steering Group and Principal of Forth Valley College said:

‘I’m delighted to have been involved in this critical research which provides a fascinating insight into school-college partnerships and their critical impact on our younger generations.   It explores the ways in which schools, colleges, local authorities and employers are working together to create seamless learner journeys and ensuring our young people develop skills for life and work.   Importantly, it also provides recommendations to ensure continued success and demonstrates how school-college partnerships can support other national developments and priorities.’

Minister for Higher and Further Education Jamie Hepburn said:

‘I welcome the publication of this key report, which highlights the important role of School-College Partnerships in giving young people the opportunity for sector and industry insight when still at school.

‘This in turn helps our young people to make better informed choices in their learning journey and drives more talent into growth areas and sectors where there are recognised skills shortages.’

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