The 2020 David Raffe Memorial Lecture
Thursday 30 April (new date), 17.30, in the Anatomy Lecture Theatre (rm 425), doorway 3, Old Medical School, Teviot Place, University of Edinburgh (doors open 17.00).
Book here (opens on Eventbrite page)
Abstract by Lord McConnell:
“Education is back at the centre of debate in Scotland. Serious concerns about quality and results, worries around teacher recruitment and retention, and questions asked about the lack of progress on closing gaps in attainment have all contributed to demands to review, change course and reform.
20 years ago, as Education Minister and then as
First Minister of Scotland I oversaw a period of major change in
Scottish education. The new professional teaching agreement, policies on
global and environmental education, the school building programme, new
rights for those with special needs, national music tuition and language
teaching initiatives all helped reverse years of decline, and began to
create a foundation for excellence in our schools.
the Curriculum for Excellence was to transform Scottish education from 3
to 18 and to ensure that all young people had the chance to achieve
their incredible human potential. The initial concept attracted wide
support but there is now much debate about its impact, particularly on
the secondary school curriculum and its possible negative impact on the
school experience and post school transitions of less advantaged young
In this lecture, I will take the opportunity to offer a personal, longer-term perspective on developments and reform in Scottish education. Teaching was, and is, my passion and I have passionate views about what is right and wrong in our schools today. This will be an opportunity to lay them out, but also to suggest a way ahead. “
McConnell, former First Minister of Scotland, will give the 3rd annual
memorial lecture in honour of the late David Raffe, Professor of
Sociology of Education and Director of the Centre for Educational
Sociology at the University of Edinburgh. David’s work was underpinned
by a concern with issues of inequality in education and how policy
change and educational reforms might impact on inequalities. This theme
is reflected in this third memorial lecture given by Lord McConnell, 20
years after he became Minister for Education in 2000.
Hon Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale was First Minister of Scotland
from 2001 to 2007. He is still the youngest person to serve as First
Minster in any of the UK nations, and was the first who had not
previously been an MP at Westminster. He grew up on a small sheep farm
on the Isle of Arran and was a high school Mathematics teacher for a
decade before moving into full time politics.
serves as Vice President of UNICEF UK; Chair of the McConnell
International Foundation; and Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary
Group on the UN Global Goals. He advises in the implementation of peace
agreements and is Chair of the global judging panel for the Tomorrow’s
Lord McConnell is currently Chancellor of
the University of Stirling. He has a keen interest in sport, serving as
Chair of the Commonwealth Games (Scotland) Endowment Fund and as
Honorary President of Scottish Athletics. He chairs the Sustainable
Development Panel of SSE, is Deputy Chair of the UK/Japan 21st Century
Group, and is a global adviser to PwC.
From 1999 to 2011, Lord McConnell was a Member of the Scottish Parliament. He was Scotland’s Minister for Finance 1999-2000; Minister for Education, Europe and External Affairs 2000-2001, and President of the Legislative Regions of Europe in 2004. He was UK Special Representative for Peacebuilding 2008 to 2010, when he was appointed to the House of Lords.