Education Scotland praise Community Learning & Development in Midlothian

Report into Community Learning and Development (CLD) services in Midlothian highlights positive progress 

An inspection report by Education Scotland was published today following a progress visit on how well the authority and partners were leading and progressing the CLD plan, which took place during March 2024. 

Inspection Report

During the visit, Education Scotland spoke with learners and community representatives, CLD leaders in the public and third sectors, managers, staff, and volunteers, and other key stakeholders to determine Midlothian Council’s and partner’s effectiveness and areas for improvement.  

Confident and Effective Leadership

In their report, Education Scotland stated: “the leadership of CLD at all levels is confident and effective. There is a clear shared vision and ambition for improving the lives of individuals and communities.” 

Positive Progress

In particular the report emphasised that “the council and partners are making positive progress towards achieving almost all of the high-level targets within the  CLD Plan.”

CLD Provision for Young People

With regards to CLD for young people, areas of positive progress highlighted in the report included the following: 

  • The majority of participation and achievements of learners returning to pre-pandemic levels. 
  • A consistently high number of young people achieving a positive post school destination. 
  • Significantly reduced levels of youth anti-social behaviour, following the delivery of a multi-agency programme of diversionary youth work activity.
  • Committed and well-supported volunteers are helping to improve lives and communities.

CLD Provision for Adult Learners

Midlothian’s CLD provision for adult learners also received praise in the report, with the following areas highlighted:

  • Conversation café volunteers are helping adults learning English and become part of their community.
  • All of the adults participating in the No One Left Behind employability programme are developing skills, gaining qualifications and progressing to further learning, volunteering or employment.
  • Adults attending the online mental health and wellbeing course are developing strategies to help them tackle stress and anxiety and learning how to support other members of their family too.

Community Development Support

The report also highlighted the progress of Community Development Support in the following areas:

  • Partners focused on improving health and wellbeing and tackling poverty are improving their coordination of provision. 
  • The communication between council departments and the Federation of Community Councils, its sub-groups and local Community Councils is improving.
  • Local community development trusts (CDT) positively benefit from effective support provided by the local authority and Midlothian Voluntary Action (MVA)
  • The Shaping Places Programme is building capacity and leading to improvement.

Removing barriers to participation 

The local authority and partners are very effective at removing barriers to participation. For example, they deliver many programmes and activities free of charge, cover travel expenses and provide equipment. Adjustments to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award provision is helping to remove barriers to participation, including for young people with additional support needs.


Councillor Ellen Scott, Cabinet Member for Education, said: “Congratulations to everyone involved in the CLD services and our partners on receiving such a positive progress report from Education Scotland. 

“This report is testament to the hard work that is undertaken every day to improve the lives of our residents and to ensure that Midlothian is a great, green place to grow as well as ensuring  that CLD opportunities build skills for learning life and work.” 

Continuous Improvement

Fiona Robertson, Executive Director Children, Young People and Partnerships, said: “I am pleased that Education Scotland has recognised the CLLE team and our partners for the positive difference they are making to the lives of young people, adults, families and communities across Midlothian. 

“While we are delighted to be recognised for the positive impact of our CLD work, we are also committed to continuous improvement of our services too and we will act upon the areas for development, which are set out in the report.” 

Education Scotland’s report can be read in full here.

30 Apr 2024