This resource and supporting guidance explore the contributions of eight key partners in an empowered system. They encourage collaboration, collegiality and mutual respect between all partners.
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What is an empowered system?
There are eight key partners who work together in an empowered system to improve outcomes for children and young people:
- School Leaders
- Local Authority and Regional Improvement Collaborative
- Scottish Government and National Organisations
- Support Staff
- Teachers and Practitioners
- Parents and Carers
An empowered system is one that grows stronger and more confident, working in partnership to lead learning and teaching that achieves excellence and equity for all learners. Empowerment and collaboration for improvement happen at all levels in an empowered system.
PDF file: An Empowered System diagram (54 KB)
PDF file: An Empowered System diagram (Gaelic version) (331 KB)
Empowered System Guidance
This suite of draft guidance documents have been developed in partnership with a wide range of stakeholders and aim to support partners to improve outcomes for children and young people. Scotland’s education system has been on a journey towards an empowered system as demonstrated by the following quotation in How Good is Our School 3 from 2007:
"Our approach is consultative and collegiate, securing shared commitment. When required, we drive action forward directly. Those with leadership responsibilities reinforce a culture where staff and learners feel able to exercise initiative and take lead roles within and beyond the classroom." Quality Indicator 9.3 How Good is Our School 3, HMIE, 2007
While much progress has been made towards an empowered system, we can achieve still more through collaboration. The following draft guidance can be used by all partners in the system to reflect on their role in achieving an empowered system. It reflects eight key contributors in an empowered system, however it is acknowledged that there are overlaps between these eight sections and that many in the system will be contributing in more than one way at any one time.
Creating an empowered system
Local authority self-evaluation framework
This self-evaluation framework is a key element of the overarching work in evaluating the progress towards an empowered system, built on mutual trust, cooperation and highly effective communication. In an empowered system, head teachers and local authorities are partners, supporting each other and respecting the different role each plays within our developing system.
This document is provided to assist local authorities to evaluate and improve the way in which they deliver expectations of the Joint Agreement, and subsequent guidance documents, in the context of the empowerment of schools.
PDF file: Improving school empowerment through self-evaluation: a framework for local authorities (788 KB)
An evaluation strategy
This paper gives an overview of the agreed strategy for the evaluation of the impact of school empowerment. The agreed approach at this stage is to focus on the extent to which local authorities and schools are embedding the key principles of the empowerment agenda, and to what extent we are seeing changes in the intended short and medium term outcomes related to school empowerment.
The approach is based on the principles of mutual trust and cooperation which underpin the Joint Agreement. It seeks, where possible, to reduce requirements for new data sources, instead making use of data already available within the system.
PDF file: Creating an empowered system: an evaluation strategy (467 KB)
These case studies illustrate ways in which empowered key partners worked together to address successfully some of the challenges the pandemic presented. They are intended to stimulate reflection, discussion and action on what steps need to be taken to build on successes and strengthen school empowerment further.
PDF file: Progressing towards an empowered system – September 2022
When engaging with the guidance sections you may wish to consider the following reflective questions:
- What does empowerment look like in your context?
- To what extent are each of the contributors empowered in your context?
- What might you need to do differently to support empowerment?
- What examples of practice from your context could you share to exemplify empowerment?
The following slides can be used to support engagement with the empowered system guidance (if asked to enter credentials, click cancel):
PPT file: Empowered System Engagement (2 MB)
The Empowering School Leaders guidance considers the contribution of school leaders in an empowered system.
PDF file: Empowering School Leaders guidance (122 KB)
The Headteachers’ Charter for School Empowerment considers the contribution of headteachers in an empowered system.
PDF file: A Headteachers’ Charter for School Empowerment’ guidance (209 KB)
The Empowering Learners guidance considers the contribution of learners in an empowered system.
PDF file: Empowering Learners guidance (204 KB)
Local Authority and Regional Improvement Collaborative
The Empowering Local Authority and Regional Improvement Collaborative (RIC) guidance considers the contribution of local authorities and RICs in an empowered system.
PDF file: Empowering Local Authority and Regional Improvement Collaborative (RIC) guidance (102 KB)
Scottish Government and National Organisations
The Empowering Scottish Government and National Organisations guidance considers the contribution of Scottish Government and national organisations in an empowered system.
PDF file: Empowering Scottish Government and National Organisations guidance (190 KB)
The Empowering Partners guidance considers the contribution of partners in an empowered system.
PDF file: Empowering Partners guidance (202 KB)
The Empowering Support Staff guidance considers the contribution of support staff in an empowered system.
PDF file: Empowering Support Staff guidance (189 KB)
Teachers and Practitioners
The Empowering Teachers and Practitioners guidance considers the contribution of teachers and practitioners in an empowered system.
PDF file: Empowering Teachers and Practitioners guidance (208 KB)
Parents and Carers
The Empowering Parents and carers guidance considers the contribution of parents and carers in an empowered system.
PDF file: Empowering Parents and Carers guidance (274 KB)
The National Parent Forum of Scotland has produced the following nutshell guide to Scotland’s Empowered System, the importance of parents within this system and parents’ rights and responsibilities.