Learner Empowerment and School Improvement

The Back to School resource sits within a commitment to an empowered system and school improvement.

Empowerment and collaboration for improvement happen at all levels in an empowered system. An empowered system is one that grows stronger and more confident, working in partnership to lead learning and teaching that achieves excellence and equity for all learners. There are many partners in an empowered system. This resource focuses on learner empowerment as central to the recovery curriculum.

Learner participation in schools includes all the ways in which a child engages in practices and dialogue with educational staff, parents, carers, and community members to create positive outcomes and changes. Participation should be inclusive, respectful and transparent. It should involve power sharing that is relevant, authentic and consequential – leading to new practices and relationships. As a consequence of such experiences the learner is empowered.  

Empowerment is understood as the process of becoming stronger, more confident and autonomous, especially on controlling aspects of one’s life and claiming one’s rights. When an educator is committed to learner empowerment – and this has never been more true than in the circumstances we find ourselves in – they help the child overcome any sense of powerlessness and lack of influence. This supports them to recognise and use their resources, and represent their interests, in a responsible and self-determined way.  

The activities in this resource compliment the How Good is Our School resource and the importance of learner participation in self-evaluation and school improvement. The Back to School resource activities support children to share their experiences of relationships, learning and teaching, the school environment, health and wellbeing, and to consider their successes and achievements.

1. Education Scotland. An Empowered System:

2. Education Scotland. How Good is OUR school? A resource to support learner participation in self-evaluation and school improvement:

“There [are] so many activities that give real opportunities for the children to learn about themselves as learners, and would let me know more about the class as well.”

– Class teacher working with the Children’s Parliament: Imagining Aberdeen programme