The Scottish Parliament's think-tank

Scotland 2030: Future Education Scenarios

Blue skyPic - Andrei Lazarev on Unsplash

With the Goodison Group in Scotland, the Futures Forum has been investigating the future for schooling, education and learning in Scotland, looking to 2030 and beyond.

In a series of interactive seminars, participants from a wide range of backgrounds, including education, academia, government and business, have been asked to consider our aspirations for education and learning in 2030 and beyond.

What could become a reality? What are the implications for education and learning when the future is uncertain and continues to change rapidly? What capacities will people of all ages need to develop to thrive in this type of environment? How will education and learning help shape our culture and society?

These scenarios designed to be aspirational – to provoke thoughts, ideas and responses. They are not predictions.

Draft scenario front page

Click the image to read the draft scenario

Schooling, Education and Learning in 2030 and Beyond

This scenario explores the context for education – politically, socially and in curriculum terms – along with the role of teachers and learners in a future education system.

In it, politicians and policymakers have set out a clear, long-term vision for education, which was drawn up in consultation with teachers, learners, the voluntary sector and businesses. This has led to a shared understanding of the purpose of education, in addition to greater trust of learners and educators.

Power and funding have been devolved to a local level to allow schools to deliver that vision, with the willing support from all sections of the local community. There are regular and transparent reviews into how the vision is being delivered; while teachers and learners have a stake in that process, there is a society-wide understanding that accountability requires openness and not just blame.

Early Years Scenario front page

Click the image to read the draft scenario

The Early Years in 2030 and Beyond

This scenario explores the experience of children in the early years of their education.

In it, Scotland is a place where childhood is celebrated. An ongoing national conversation on, ‘What is school for?’ continues to place a focus on young learners in recognition of the fact that education has the greatest impact in the early years.

A kindergarten system of ‘hubs’ has been established for all children between the ages of 3 or 4 and 7 or 8, which is developing well-rounded individuals who will go on to contribute to a more altruistic society. It is a system that links well to the rest of the education system and lays the foundation for today’s children to become encouraging parents for the next generation.

Communities are encouraged to work together to care for their children, through building on and enhancing family life. Care experienced siblings are kept together and additional support is offered for families who need it to give their children the best start in life.

Draft primary education scenario front page

Click the image to read the draft scenario

Primary Education in 2030 and Beyond

This scenario explores what our primary schools might be like in 2030.

In it, children leave the kindergarten system for primary school at around the age of seven, where they learn in mixed age groups at their own pace. In some areas the divide between primary and secondary education has gone with schools taking children from seven to sixteen. Innovations of this kind, shaped by teachers and children as well as the community, have been made possible since power and funding were devolved to a local level.

With the focus at this stage of the education system on encouraging children to find their skills and interests, the school day is largely unstructured with a flexible curriculum. There is a focus on enjoyment and fun. Children are encouraged to try different approaches to learning with the support of expert guides and mentors.


For more information on the discussions that contributed to these scenarios, along with further information on the project as a whole, visit our Future Education and Learning pages.

Scotland 2030 Logo