Skip navigation
The Progressive Policy Think Tank

Autonomy in the right place: School governance reform in Scotland

In the Scottish education system, there is a persistent gap in attainment between pupils from the highest and lowest income households. Closing this poverty-related attainment gap is a national priority for the Scottish government. 

“The attainment gap in Scotland is pervasive throughout the life course, starting in the earliest years of childhood and with far-reaching negative effects that persist into outcomes for adulthood.”

This report examines the governance of the Scottish school system, and makes recommendations for how decision-making powers over education should be devolved to the local level as default.

“There is a strong rationale for involving and engaging classroom teachers in school leadership processes and, in a number of cases, devolving decision-making powers to teachers” [Reader link: ] 

As the Scottish government reviews the governance structures and processes of Scottish schools, this report considers how reforming school governance could have a positive effect on pupils’ attainment. It also addresses the evidence of any differences between denominational and non-denominational schools.