As political debate focuses on the increasingly short timescale of the election, a Scottish think tank is promoting a ten-year perspective for education policy. The education and training commission of the John Wheatley Centre, an independent policy think-tank, has issued a report, Key Questions for a Scottish Parliament. It argues that if a Scottish parliament is set up, one of its crucial roles will be to ensure that policy-making has a longer-term perspective than at present.
Tom Schuller, director of Edinburgh University's centre of continuing education and convener of the commission, stressed that the report posed questions about building the basis for a learning society rather than setting out a blueprint. The report implicitly assumes that education will have to work within a fixed budget, and that the system should be rebalanced through a reallocation of resources. Its first question asks what the appropriate balance between initial and continuing education should be, and how far the aim should be to retain as many young people as possible in full-time secondary or tertiary education.