About Community Learning and Development

Community learning and development (CLD) practice covers a broad range of practice including youth work, community based adult learning, family learning and community development.

CLD empowers people of all ages to work individually or collectively to make positive changes in their lives, and in their communities, through learning, personal development and active citizenship.

CLD work in Scotland is guided by the Strategic Guidance for Community Planning partnerships: Community learning and development (2012) document and underpinned in legislation through The Requirements for Community Learning and Development (Scotland) Regulations 2013. A Revised CLD Guidance Note is now available.

The focus of community learning and development in Scotland is:

  1. improved life chances for people of all ages, through learning, personal development and active citizenship
  2. stronger, more resilient, supportive, influential and inclusive communities.

National strategies for youth work and adult learning are currently being updated and are due to be launched later in 2021. The most recent previous strategies are outlined below. Our ambitions for improving the life chances of young people in Scotland are set out in the National Youth Work Strategy 2014-2019. An interim report on the National Youth Work Strategy, produced in July 2017, is also available.

PDF file: National Youth Work Strategy 2014-19 (1.1 MB)

PDF file: National Youth Work Strategy 2014-19, Interim Report (July 2017) (3.4 MB)

Adult Learning in Scotland, a Statement of Ambition 2014 sets out the Scottish Government’s belief in the key role that effective adult learning plays at the core of a Scottish knowledge-based society.

PDF file: Adult Learning in Scotland - A Statement of Ambition (1.2 MB)

Adult Literacies in Scotland 2020 (ALIS 2020) aims to promote equal access to and participation in literacies learning for all adults.

PDF file: Adult Literacies in Scotland: Survey of progress and priorities 2010-2015 (794 KB)

Other key documents for adult literacies:

Welcoming Our Learners: Scotland's ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) Strategy 2015-2020 sets out the importance and context of ESOL learning in Scotland while the Mid Strategy Review, published in June 2018, gives a summary of activity to date.

PDF file: Scotland's ESOL Strategy 2015-20 (2.1 MB)

PDF file: Mid Strategy Review - Welcoming Our Learners: Scotland’s ESOL Strategy 2015-2020 (431 KB)

Community learning and development builds the capacity of communities to do things for themselves and have their voices heard in the planning and delivery of services. It therefore contributes to the Scottish Government’s ambitions for community empowerment and participation.

Related links

Wider policy context

'CfE Briefing 10: The role of community learning and development (CLD) and partnership working' explores the important contribution that CLD is making to CfE outcomes for learners through partnership working in educational establishments and communities.

PDF file: CfE Briefing 10 - The role of CLD and partnership working (2.4 MB)

Other policy links include:

Organisations supporting adult learning