European network for adult literacy and numeracy

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Education Scotland - United Kingdom, Scotland

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Education Scotland is the principal Curriculum body for Scotland supporting schools and Community Learning and Development. Education Scotland is responsible for implementing Scottish Government community learning and development policy.

The Working and learning together to build stronger communities (WALT) policy defines three priorities for Community Learning Development: working with adult learners, working with young people and building community capacity.

Education Scotland
Denholm House
Almondvale Business Park
Almondvale Way
EH54 6GA
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)141 282 5000 (Reception)
Fax: +44 (0)141 282 5050

Work environment

As a result of the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS) of 1996 the Scottish Government published the Adult Literacy and Numeracy in Scotland report (ALNIS) in 2001 which committed new resources to provision across Scotland.

The recent Scottish Survey of Adult Literacies 2009 shows that 26.7% of Scottish adults may face occasional challenges due to their skills and 3.6% face serious challenges in their literacies practices. View the full report and the summary.

New strategic Guidance on Adult Literacies has been launched by the Scottish Government in December 2010.

Education Scotland

Aims, Mission and Goals

Education Scotland Communites team supports adult learning practitioners across Scotland to develop effective and innovative learning approaches to help adults develop their skills in the right setting.

Adult Literacies, defined in Scotland as: "The ability to read, write and use numeracy, to handle information, to express ideas and opinions, to make decisions and solve problems, as family members, workers, citizens and lifelong learners." The Adult Literacy and Numeracy in Scotland Report 2001 (ALNIS)

The Scottish approach to adult literacies adopts a social practice model, which sees literacies as part of the wider lifelong learning agenda. Such an approach recognises that:

  • literacy and numeracy are complex capabilities rather than a simple set of basic skills
  • learners are more likely to develop and retain knowledge, skills and understanding if they see them as relevant to their own context and everyday literacy practices
  • learning should be negotiated with the learner through an individual learning plan, selecting the knowledge and skills most relevant to the individual learner’s goals.

Structure of the institution

The Education Scotland Communities team supports practitioners in Scotland who work in the field of Community Learning and Development. There are 3 sub teams :

  • Community Capacity building team
  • Adult Learning team
  • Work with Young people team

Adult literacy and numeracy cuts across all teams.

Current lines of work

  • Continuing professional development for adult literacies practioners through qualifications, seminars, workshops,networks and online through the Communities of Practice in Adult Literacies (COPAL)

Examples of Achievements

  • The Big Plus National Awareness raising campaign : television and radio advertising to attract learners and reduce stigma
  • A growing database of Scottish based learning and teaching resources, training materials and useful research and reports .


See online : Education Scotland

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.

This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Education and Culture DG