Scottish Government consultation on learning hours in schools

22 March 2023: The Scottish Government has launched a new consultation on prescribing the minimum annual number of learning hours in schools.

Prescribing the minimum annual number of learning hours: consultation

This consultation seeks views on the Scottish Government’s plans to set a legal minimum number of hours of school education school pupils should receive each year.  

Traditionally, Scottish primary schools provide around 25 learning hours per week, and Scottish secondary schools around 27.5 hours per week.  However, while local authorities are required to have their schools open for 190 days each year, the number of learning hours is not prescribed.  

The Scottish Government is now planning to use the existing provisions in the Education (Scotland) Act 2016 to set the minimum number of learning hours in a school year, and propose to use this power to make regulations later this year.

Have your say

This consultation is an opportunity for local authorities, parents, children and young people and other stakeholders to provide views and evidence about the potential impact of the implementation of this policy. 

Find out more and submit your views

The responses will be used to inform future regulations and non-statutory guidance.

The consultation closes on 13 June 2023.

Recording of Parent Council meeting on 21 March 2023 now available

21 March 2023: Many thanks to those who were able to join us for the James Gillespie’s High School Parent Council meeting on Tuesday 21 March.


  • Welcome from Parent Council Chair – Sarah Scott
  • Parent Council Report – Sarah Scott
  • Science Curriculum at JGHS – Iain Coltart, followed by Q&A (slides available below)
  • Headteacher report – Neil McCallum, followed by Q&A

The recording of the meeting is now available:

Watch the Parent Council Meeting 21 March 2023 on YouTube

View presentation from Ian Coltart

Headteacher’s Report 21 March 2023

Independent Review of Qualifications and Assessment: have your say

Updated 19 March 2023: The Scottish Government is carrying out an Independent Review of Qualifications and Assessments, led by Professor Louise Hayward.

Independent Review of Qualifications and Assessments

Qualifications and Assessment review

The Qualifications and Assessment Review brings together ideas to modernise Scottish qualifications and assessments. This means that the new qualifications and assessments will be inclusive of all learners, while meeting the needs of employers, colleges and universities, and Scottish society.

Education – qualifications and assessment review: consultation

Phase One looked the vision and principles, and Phase Two explored options for a new approach to qualifications and assessment in Scotland.

In support of Phase Three a potential new model for qualifications and assessment in Scotland has been developed – the Scottish Diploma of Achievement.

Live online discussion 29 March

As part of the review process the National Parent Forum of Scotland (NPFS) and Connect are the gathering views of parents and carers.

Connect will be hosting a live online discussion for parents and carers with Professor Hayward on the new qualifications model.

  • Date: Wednesday 29 March 2023
  • Time: 7.30 – 9 pm

Places are free, but booking is essential.

Book your place now

Reforming Scottish Qualifications Parent/Carer Survey Launches

Connect and National Parent Forum Scotland have also published a survey for parents and carers to gather views on the proposed Model for Qualifications and Assessment.

The Independent Review of Qualifications and Assessment: Phase Three Parent/Carer Survey

The survey is open until early April 2023.

Latest news from Connect

The March newsletter from Connect is also now available.

Connect Newsletter March 2023

Next Parent Council meeting is on 21 March 2023

6 March 2023: The next meeting of the James Gillespies High School Parent Council will be on Tuesday 21 March at 7 pm via MS Teams. The joining link will be circulated by the School in the week of the meeting.

Focus on science teaching

There will be a special focus on science teaching at this meeting, with presentation from the Curriculum Leader Mr Iain Coltart.

There will also be the usual updates from Headteacher Mr McCallum and from Parent Council Chair Sarah Scott, and the opportunity to ask questions via the Q&A panel.

We very much hope that you will be able to join with us

If there are any questions you would like to have addressed, please send them to the Parent Council ahead of the meeting and we will forward them to the School.

Email the Parent Council

Previous meeting

Details of the previous Parent Council meeting can be found here:

Parent Council meeting on 1 February 2023

School leaver attainment and initial destinations

2 March 2023: The Scottish Government published its latest statistics on school leaver attainment and their initial destinations on 28 February 2023.

The new report provides information on the attainment and destinations of 2021/22 school leavers from Scotland’s publicly funded schools.

It includes information on leavers’ attainment in National Qualifications gained throughout their time at school, and reports on their destinations approximately three months after the end of the school year in October 2022. It also includes statistics on the proportion of leavers who gained vocational (or ‘skills-based’) qualifications.

You can read the newsletter from the Office of the Chief Statistician (ScotStat) or access the summary statistics at the links below:

Newsletter from ScotStat

Summary Statistics for Attainment and Initial Leaver Destinations No. 5: 2023 edition 

Thank you!

25 February 2023: The Parent Council would like to say a special thank to all the parents and carers who so generously donated the the 2022 Festive Fundraiser campaign in aid of our Small Sums Fund.

JGHS Festive Fundraiser 2022

In December, the total raised on ParentPay was £910, which will now all go towards funding a wide range range of staff projects. Past projects have included subscriptions to periodicals, specialist books and equipment for learners with additional support needs, specialist art equipment, and equipment for Duke of Edinburgh expeditions.

The next round of applications to the Small Sums Fund will be towards the end of this academic year.

You can find out more about the Small Sums Fund and the projects we have funded here:

JGHS Parent Council Small Sums Fund

The Parent Council will also raising money for the Small Sums Fund on the refreshment stalls at the upcoming Spring Fling concerts and other in-school events – so please look out for us!

National Parent Forum Scotland: strikes survey

23 February 2023: The National Parent Forum Scotland (NPFS) have opened a fresh survey for parents and carers across Scotland, to gather and assess views regarding the ongoing industrial action among teaching unions.

As the detail of strike action has changed, the NPFS are asking for follow-up opinions on this issue.

Complete the survey here

The survey is open until 5 pm on Monday 27 February.

City of Edinburgh Council budget for 2023/24

22 February 2023: The JGHS Parent Council sent a letter to the City of Edinburgh Council to raise concerns about the draft budget of the Council that had made proposals to cut education services for 2023/24.

You can read a copy of the letter here:

JGHS Parent Council – budget proposals 2023

Note added 23 February 2023: The BBC News reported that at their meeting today, the City of Edinburgh Council agreed a budget that scrapped the proposed £5.5m cuts to school budgets, and the £370,000 cuts to speech and language therapy.

Read the BBC News story

Parent Council meeting on 1 February: addressing antiracism

Updated 22 February 2023: Many thanks to everyone who was able to attend the JGHS parent council meeting on Wednesday 1 February.

This was a very interesting meeting, which covered a wide range of topics over the course of the evening. The minutes will be available in due course.

Headteacher’s report

An update on school activities was presented by the headteacher Mr Neil McCallum – see link below.

Headteacher’s report 1 February 2023

Antiracism activities at JGHS

The main focus was on antiracism activities at JGHS with presentations give by teachers Mr Porter, Mr Watt and Mr Cham, and by Grace Dempsey from Intercultural Youth Scotland, and the work she is doing in the school to support pupils and teachers to address racism and discrimination.

Intercultural Youth Scotland

A+ Group

We were also very pleased to hear about the A+ Group, a new project that will be starting in the school later this month, led by Zaki El-Salahi.

The group:

  • is for Parents & Carers of young people who are from the African and Asian diaspora, and go to JGHS
  • is also open to Parents & Carers with ‘Ethnic Minority’ status, who want to listen, learn from, & support Black and Asian families at JGHS
  • will make specific parts of our meetings welcome to White/’Ethnic Majority’ Parents & Carers – to listen, learn from & support us.

You can learn more about the group and its aims below:

A+ Group – slides

A+ Group further information

The group will meet online on the last Wednesday of each month from February to June 2023. For further information and/or join the A+ group, please contact Zaki:

Email Zaki

Latest Connect newsletter now available

8 February 2023: The February 2023 edition of the Connect newsletter is now available, and covers a number of important issues including:

  • Connect’s School Uniform Survey Report
  • National Discussion – what next?
  • Independent Reivew of Qualifications and Assessment
  • New Scottish Parliament Cross Party Group on Families Supporting Children’s Learning
  • Scottish Education Updates

Read the newsletter here

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