RSE Education Committee

The RSE Education Committee was established in 2009. Through the Committee, the RSE identifies and promotes priorities for education in Scotland. Membership comprises a broad range of experience from across Scotland’s education sector.


The Education Committee:

  • Is concerned with all aspects of education in Scotland, and at all stages;
  • Considers education initiatives or proposals and advises RSE Council on how the Society should respond to these, particularly those from Government;
  • Organises events that stimulate debate on educational issues;
  • Is proactive in identifying and promoting priorities for education in Scotland;
  • Liaises with other relevant groups, including other RSE Committees.




There are a number of major reforms underway in Scottish education, not least the continuing implementation of the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) and the new national qualifications in Scotland.

The Committee has been concerned about the absence of a strategy for independent evaluation of the CfE reforms and has engaged with the Scottish Government on its proposals for commissioning the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to review CfE. The RSE has collated materials relating to the development and implementation of Curriculum for Excellence which have been submitted to the OECD reviewers.

In collaboration with others, the Committee has produced resources to support the teaching of Chemistry and Computing Science in Scottish schools. The Computing Science and Chemistry exemplification materials are freely available.

All reports produced using the expertise of the Education Committee are listed with our advice papers.

In collaboration with the STEM Education Committee (STEMEC), the RSE Education Committee has prioritised activity to embed interdisciplinary learning (IDL) within Scottish education.

The following paper, The Why’s, What’s and How’s of Interdisciplinary Learning, explains what IDL is, why it is important and how it can be delivered within and beyond schools.

The Why’s, What’s and How’s of Interdisciplinary Learning

In view of its centrality to Curriculum for Excellence, the RSE and STEMEC established a National Action Group comprising organisations from across Scottish education to support the implementation of IDL. The group has agreed a National Statement on IDL.

National Statement: Interdisciplinary Learning in the 21st Century Classroom

Committee Information

Keir Bloomer FRSE (Convener)

Professor Alan Alexander OBE FRSE, RSE General Secretary (ex officio)

Professor Sharon Ashbrook FRSE, Professor in Physical Chemistry, University of St Andrews

Dr Janet Brown FRSE (Observer), Chief Executive, SQA

Professor David Cole-Hamilton FRSE, School of Chemistry, University of St Andrews

Audrey Cumberford, Principal, West College Scotland

Jackie Ebsworth, Head Teacher, Alloa Academy

Emeritus Dr Patrick Harkness, School of Engineering, University of Glasgow, and member of RSE Young Academy

Anna Hazel, Headteacher, Nether Currie Primary School

Professor Martin Hendry MBE FRSE, Head of School of Physics, University of Glasgow

Dame Barbara Kelly, CBE FRSE, Chairman of the Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival, and Convener of the Crichton Foundation

Donald MacDonald, Headteacher, James Gillespie’s High School

Sandy McIntosh, Rector, Woodmill High School

Professor Stuart Monro OBE FRSE, Former Scientific Director, Our Dynamic Earth

Dr Ingela Naumann, Senior Lecturer in Social Policy, University of Edinburgh, and member of RSE Young Academy

Professor Mark Priestley, Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Stirling

Kate Walker, Independent Education Consultant, and member of RSE Young Academy

Professor Ian Wall, FRSE,  Member of Heriot-Watt University Court

Professor Petra Wend FRSE, Principal, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh

The Education Committee also maintains links with the Learned Societies’ Group on Scottish Science Education (which is facilitated by the RSE) and the RSE Young Academy of Scotland Excellence in Education working group.

For further information about the work of the RSE Education Committee, please contact William Hardie or telephone on 0131 240 5031.