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Education, Children and Young People Committee

Scottish Government response to Scottish Funding Council review

Letter from Minister for higher education, Further Education , Youth Employment and Training

Dear Stephen

Scottish Funding Council (SFC) review of Coherence and Sustainability: A review of Tertiary Education and Research

I am writing today to inform you of the publication of the Scottish Government response to the SFC review and its recommendations.

The decades to come will bring significant change at pace in the sector – shifts in automation, digital developments and artificial intelligence, changes in the world of work and study, global competition for talent and resources, responding to the climate emergency and our future demographic, health and social care needs. To examine these challenges, in June 2020, the Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science formally commissioned the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) to review how it could best fulfil its mission of achieving coherence, quality and sustainability in tertiary education and research in these changing times. SFC’s report - Coherence and Sustainability: A Review of Tertiary Education and Research - was published at the end of June 2021.

The Review itself is comprehensive and wide-ranging. It makes a compelling case for continued, evolutionary, whole-system change that builds from existing strengths, recognises Scotland’s particular context and policy drivers, and signals opportunities to work towards a responsive, coherent education and skills system, while sustaining research and knowledge exchange for the future.

The Scottish Government broadly accept the Review’s recommendations. We have made some early decisions that set an important context. The development of a National Impact Framework and the Strategic Intent for the tertiary sector, will underpin our response to these recommendations, setting out a clear statement of intent for the future of the sector.

Some recommendations will require further development for consultation. In some instances, the pace, scale and timing of implementation will be determined by wider spending and resource considerations. In all areas, it is our intention to work together with SFC and sector stakeholders to design the delivery of the recommendations for improvement and change.

Jamie Hepburn