CLD in Scotland

Community Learning and Development in Scotland is a field of professional work linked to a more widely shared set of values and approaches. It draws on a long history of Community Education, Community Development and Youth Work (here is a brief history).

Read examples of work in Scotland’s local CLD services.

The role of community learning and development is to empower individuals, groups and communities. Learning opportunities are offered in a variety of ways – through group work, casual conversation, one-on-one sessions, play activities, and community action – making learning accessible for everyone.

In 2012, the Scottish Government published new  Strategic Guidance for Community Planning Partnerships: Community Learning and Development . This says that “CLD should empower people, individually and collectively, to make positive changes in their lives and their communities, through learning”.  All partners “should aim to deliver CLD outcomes through:

  • community development (building the capacity of communities to meet their own needs, engaging with and influencing decision makers)
  • youth work, family learning and other early intervention work with children, young people and families
  • community-based adult learning, including adult literacies and English for speakers of other languages (ESOL)
  • volunteer development
  • learning for vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in the community, for example,people with disabilities, care leavers or offenders
  • learning support and guidance in the community”.

The Guidance draws special attention to the focus of CLD on prevention. “CLD practitioners prioritise preventative measures, work to reduce inequality and target the underlying causes of inter-generational deprivation and low aspiration.”

In 2013 the Scottish Parliament enacted The Requirements for Community Learning and Development (Scotland) Regulations, the first ever Scottish legislation giving explicit recognition to CLD, which require each local authority in Scotland to “maintain and facilitate a process” of assessing needs and priorities for CLD and whether these are being met, and to publish a plan every three years detailing what the council itself and other providers are doing to provide CLD.

There are over 5,000 CLD providers in Scotland, including 32 local authorities, many of the colleges and a large number of third sector organisations (according to an estimate by Lifelong Learning UK, an organisation that was formerly responsible for workforce development in the sector). Some of these providers may not use the term ‘CLD’, but they share its skills and approaches.

LLUK’s survey ‘Profile for the community learning and development workforce in Scotland, 2010‘ identified 4,328 paid staff and 5,132 volunteers involved in the delivery of CLD in Scotland (even though it covered only 34 public sector organisations, and 30 of the larger third sector organisations).

Read more about what CLD can deliver in our ‘Doing Things Differently’ section and in our Case Studies of Prevention and Early Intervention.

Further news updates on policy and practice in the field can be obtained from:

CLD Standards Council for Scotland

Youthlink Scotland




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