Tartan United

A seminar I attended today was about policy analysis. The main focus was to compare two ‘policy’ documents:

  • The English White Paper:
    The Importance of Teaching: The Schools White Paper 2010
  • The Scottish report:
    Teaching Scotland’s Future 2011

The contrast between the two tomes is stark, despite the fact that they are tackling similar issues based upon often the same data sources. Underlying each is an idealogy of the authoring body, and the contrasting differing political stances each takes. Here we have two nation under one sovereign state with very contrasting opinions on how to progress with their education policies. The few differences I’m recording here are the ones which bear deeper analysis sometime, as the underlying philosophies might be interesting to take note of as there are some fundamentals at stake here:


  • Published after the new coalition took power, it does not hold back from being dismissive of past regimes and influences.
  • Highlights extra authority, autonomy and leadership enhancement initiatives to be delivered through third sector organisations.
  • Authoritative in character reflecting neo-conservative and neo-liberal leanings towards economic priorities.
  • Refers to needing to take the best examples of success from other countries.
  • Extols added freedom of professionals but lays down controlling mechanisms through a hierarchy.
  • Seeks to promote the quality of the teaching profession through minimum degree status, (“top graduates from top universities”) attracting other professions into teaching and developing new fastrack leaders.


  • Published before the elections which moved the SNP to a majority.
  • Highlights greater development of teachers through career-long ‘extended-development’ and collaboration between University and Local Authorities.
  • Democratic in character reflecting progressive nationalist sentiments.
  • Omits direct reference to English policy.
  • Extols the development of professionals through on-going collaboration.
  • Seeks to promote the quality of the teaching profession through development of core skills and existing teachers for a career-long development.

Interesting …





Department for Education (2010a) The Importance of Teaching. The Schools White Paper 2010. London, The Stationery Office. https://www.education.gov.uk/publications/standard/publicationdetail/page1/CM%207980

Donaldson, G. (2011) Teaching Scotland’s Future. Edinburgh, The Scottish Government