Independent review of community learning and development: Call for evidence - Learner and Potential Learner

Closed 3 Mar 2024

Opened 22 Jan 2024

Feedback updated 24 May 2024

We asked

We asked for your views on Community Learning and Development (CLD) in Scotland. We asked learners, potential learners, practitioners and stakeholders of CLD what they think is working well and what could be done better.

We did this to help the Independent Review of CLD provide information and recommendations to the Scottish Government relating to measuring outcomes delivered through CLD, delivering positive outcomes and improved life chances for marginalised and vulnerable learners and a suitably professionalised CLD workforce equipped to deliver high quality outcomes for learners.

You said

We received a total of 1140 responses on Citizen Space, of which 717 were from learners and potential learners and 423 were from practitioners.

Awareness and visibility of CLD was highlighted as a key issue. Respondents suggested that awareness can be limited by CLD being a poorly defined sector and having insufficient policy profile. There were calls for better communication to improve awareness of CLD provision, and especially around the positive impacts being delivered.

Poor awareness of CLD opportunities was also highlighted as a particular issue for people who want to access learning. Respondents suggested that access can be easier for those who have already engaged with CLD and who are aware of local opportunities. Reaching those who might benefit from CLD but who have not yet engaged with services remains a challenge. 

Flexibility of learning provision was seen as a key strength for CLD, especially in terms of making opportunities as widely accessible as possible. However, respondents referred to multiple barriers to access. These included access to and cost of transport, digital exclusion, and maintaining CLD alongside other time commitments. Funding challenges were also highlighted as impacting the CLD workforce and learner journey.

Practitioners were clear about the positive outcomes they deliver for learners, and the contribution that CLD makes to national policy priorities. However, there was a perception that CLD is undervalued. Respondents wished to see change to increase the profile and status of CLD across the wider learning and skills sector.

Learners reported that they felt well supported by CLD practitioners throughout their learning. This included support to build on their current learning, and specifically around transitions during their learning journey. Practitioners referred to a range of methods used to assess the effectiveness of outcomes, but saw scope for this to improve. It was suggested that consideration should be given to data collection around national outcomes against a set of agreed KPIs.

We did

The Scottish Government is grateful to those who took the time to provide a response to these consultations. The responses have been helpful in informing the review report and recommendations to the Scottish Government, which will be published in due course. We have published all non-confidential responses to the review. The analysis of these responses will be made available in the overall Evidence Report, which will be published alongside the review report and recommendations. Direct links to these will be added below once they are published.

Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


Community Learning and Development (CLD) is learning that takes place in a community setting. This means that it might take place in a community centre, college, library, or other community facility.

Some CLD might also take place in a school building such as a community wing, or in booked rooms or spaces.

Examples of CLD learning opportunities might include classes to improve reading and writing, using numbers, or a computer; or participate in Youth Work activities, including youth awards like the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

CLD includes special ways of working with different groups of people like Youth Work, Community-based Adult Learning, Family Learning, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), and numeracy and literacy classes.

The Scottish Government is reviewing CLD in Scotland, to find out what people think is working well, and what could be done better. We have asked an Independent Reviewer, Kate Still, to look into this in more detail.

As someone who has taken part in CLD learning in the past, or might want to in the future, we would really like to hear your views.

The information you provide will be confidential and will not be used to identify you.

There is some more information on the Review below.

Useful information about responding to this consultation

As you complete your response, each page will provide the option to 'Save and come back later' at the bottom. This means you can save your progress and return to the consultation at any time before it closes. If you don't use this feature and leave the consultation midway through, your response will be lost.

Once you have submitted your response, you can enter your email address to get a pdf copy of your answers sent to you.

On the 'About You' page at the end of this consultation, organisations will have the opportunity to tell us more about their work and/or how their response was informed.

After the consultation has closed there will be a few months delay before any responses are published. This is because we must check any responses to be published abide by our Terms of Use.

A analysis report will usually be published some months after the consultation has closed. This report will summarise the findings based on all responses submitted. It will be published on the Scottish Government website and you may be notified about it if you choose to share your email address with us. You can also join our consulation mailing list where we regularly list newly published analysis reports (as well as new consultations).


Why your views matter

Listening to Learners

Hearing what learners and people who might want to learn in future is really important for this review. We want to hear your thoughts and experiences on the community learning you have done or may want to do in the future.

Please help us with our review by taking some time to complete 12 questions.

We have translated these questions into a range of languages, these can be accessed at the bottom of this page. 

Or, if it’s better for you, please email and we can provide a copy of the questions for you. 


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