Commission on Rural Education – Call for Evidence

The Commission on Rural Education would like to invite you to respond to its Call for Evidence. 

The Commission is tasked with examining how the delivery of rural education can maximise the attainment and life chances of young people in rural areas, and the link between rural education and rural communities.

The Commission will also review the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010 and its application and make recommendations on the delivery of all aspects of education in rural areas.


Scottish local authorities are responsible for managing and delivering education services in their communities in line with national strategy set out by the Scottish Government.  This has to be achieved in line with councils’ duties on the delivery of Best Value and in conjunction with delivery of other council functions, including the management of the councils’ school estates.

The Schools (Consultation) Act 2010 came into force in spring 2010.  It introduced extensive changes to the procedures that local authorities follow when consulting on whether to close a school.  Included in the legislation are specific considerations for the treatment of proposals for rural school closures.

Since the end of 2010, concern has arisen regarding the operation of the Act.  Subsequently in June, the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning wrote to all Scottish local authorities seeking an agreement to suspend rural school closure proposals, to allow an opportunity for consideration of whether changes are required to the legislation itself and its application.


The purpose of the Commission on Rural Education is to get to the heart of competing priorities that face national and local government in the delivery of education in rural Scotland.

The Commission on Rural Education is established jointly by the Scottish Government and COSLA.  Our remit is to

    • To review the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010 and its application;
    • To examine how the delivery of rural education can maximize attainment and outcomes to give pupils the best life chances, and to examine, where appropriate, how this can be applied more widely;
    • To make recommendations on how to reflect best practice on the delivery of all aspects of education in rural areas (pre-school through to higher & further education);
    • To examine the links between rural education and the preservation, support and development of rural communities and to make recommendations on how these links might be strengthened if necessary; and
    • To examine and make recommendations on funding issues surrounding rural education.

Further information on our work can be found at:

The Call for Evidence

This Call for Evidence is intended to gather information to allow the Commission an opportunity to balance the interests of children, parents and communities and the overarching responsibilities of local government and Ministers.

The Commission would like to hear from individuals and organisations across Scotland who have views on the delivery of rural education.  The responses to this Call for Evidence will form an important part of the Commission’s considerations and inform its final recommendations.

Steps to completing the Call for Evidence questionnaire

  1. Please consider the attached questions.  These are not intended to be an exhaustive list of the issues and you are encouraged to provide comments on any other issue you feel may be relevant at the final question.

<<Call for Evidence questions#2.pdf>>   

2.   It would help us greatly if you could respond using the online form.  This is available at  This should be a quick and easy way to provide responses and comments on our questions, and will allow your responses to be analysed easily and efficiently. 

3.      However, please note that the online form must be completed in one session; does not offer a ‘Back’ button, and there is a maximum answer length for each question of 4000 characters – about one A4 page of text.  You can cut and paste text on to it. 

4.   If the online form is unsuitable for you, or you cannot access it, an alternative Word version of the form is available on request from: or by telephoning 0131 244 0877. 

5.      Or you may wish to write to us, in which case we would be grateful if you could indicate clearly which section or question you are referring to. 

Please ensure that we receive your response by 12 January 2012, when the Call for Evidence will close. 

Yours faithfully,


David Sutherland
Chair, Commission on Rural Education
Commission on Rural Education Secretariat
Area 2A South
Victoria Quay
EH6 6QQ 

Further information

In considering the Call for Evidence you may find it helpful to have further information on the following topics: