Description – The situation is the foundation for logic model development. The problem or issue that the program is to address sits within a setting or situation-a complex of sociopolitical, environmental, and economic conditions. If you incorrectly understand the situation and misdiagnose the problem, everything that follows is likely to be wrong.
Situation Analysis of Scottish Education (the following situation analysis draws heaviliy upon the Executive Summary of the OECD Report on the Quality and Equity of Schooling in Scotland , Dec 2007)
A major challenge facing Scottish schools is to reduce the achievement gap that opens up about Primary 5 and continues to widen throughout the junior secondary years (S1 to S4). Children from poorer communities and low socio-economic status homes are more likely than others to under-achieve, while the gap associated with poverty and deprivation in local government areas appears to be very wide.
A second challenge relates to the need to build on the strong platform of basic education through socially broader and more successful participation in upper secondary education and greater equity in Scottish higher education. Inequalities in staying-on rates, participation at different academic levels of national courses, and pass rates in these courses are a concern. So, too, are the number of young people leaving school with minimal (and in some cases no) qualifications and the comparatively high proportion in precarious transition.
A third challenge relates to static levels of achievement in national qualifications over the last eight years at a time when other countries are showing improvement in comparison to Scotland.
Local authorities have only limited influence over the curriculum in schools and over the full range of learning opportunities available to the communities they serve. Promotion of change in schools is hampered by the vulnerability of schools to adverse perceptions and judgements based on examination results. Although local authorities are the employers of teachers and the builders of schools, their influence is limited by wider arrangements which have a centralizing and conforming effect.
Schools need substantial freedom of action within a framework of agreed goals and outcomes to vary the courses and to offer programmes which best address these challenges. Greater management freedom in these two areas needs to be part of a compact with local government which establishes expectations in exchange for autonomy, and encourages and protects innovation and risk-taking through an authoritative mandate.
The OECD review considers that greater flexibility is needed in arrangements linking local councils to the Scottish Government, and linking schools in turn to local government. But without greater flexibility in arrangements relating to curriculum, examinations, and qualifications, more autonomy for councils and schools will not go far.
Any analysis of the situation in Scottish Education must also recognise that budgets are under extreme pressure and this is likely to be the case for a number of years as the global recession impacts upon the Scottish economy and public services in particular.