About Community Learning and Development

Community learning and development (CLD) practice covers a broad range of practice including youth work, community based adult learning, family learning and community development.

CLD empowers people of all ages to work individually or collectively to make positive changes in their lives, and in their communities, through learning, personal development and active citizenship.

The CLD Workforce in Scotland

The CLD workforce in Scotland is diverse and includes practitioners in the public and third sectors who share common values and competences.

The Competences | CLD Standards Council for Scotland

National CLD Policy

CLD work in Scotland is guided by the Strategic Guidance for Community Planning partnerships: Community learning and development (2012) document and underpinned in legislation through The Requirements for Community Learning and Development (Scotland) Regulations 2013. A Revised CLD Guidance Note (December 2020) is now available.

The focus of community learning and development in Scotland is:

  1. improved life chances for people of all ages, through learning, personal development and active citizenship
  2. stronger, more resilient, supportive, influential and inclusive communities.

The national strategy for youth work in Scotland is currently being updated and is due to be launched towards the end of 2022. Information from the most recent national youth work strategy (2014-19) can be found here:.  National Youth Work Strategy | YouthLink Scotland

Adult Learning in Scotland, a Statement of Ambition 2014 sets out the Scottish Government’s belief in the key role that effective adult learning plays at the core of a Scottish knowledge-based society.

PDF file: Adult Learning in Scotland - A Statement of Ambition (1.2 MB)

Adult Literacies in Scotland 2020 (ALIS 2020) aims to promote equal access to and participation in literacies learning for all adults.

PDF file: Adult Literacies in Scotland: Survey of progress and priorities 2010-2015 (794 KB)

Other key documents for adult literacies:

Welcoming Our Learners: Scotland's ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) Strategy 2015-2020 sets out the importance and context of ESOL learning in Scotland while the Mid Strategy Review, published in June 2018, gives a summary of activity to date.

PDF file: Scotland's ESOL Strategy 2015-20 (2.1 MB)

PDF file: Mid Strategy Review - Welcoming Our Learners: Scotland’s ESOL Strategy 2015-2020 (431 KB)

Community learning and development builds the capacity of communities to do things for themselves and have their voices heard in the planning and delivery of services. It therefore contributes to the Scottish Government’s ambitions for community empowerment and participation.

CLD also makes a significant contribution to the Families and Communities organiser of the Scottish Attainment Challenge.

‘Prior learning and research evidence shows us that schools and education services alone will not reduce the poverty-related attainment gap. The mission of the Scottish Attainment Challenge is one that must be supported by ‘collective agency.’

‘Consideration should be given to how the local authority can work with wider local services, such as Community Learning and Development, Social Work or Family Services, and with community or third sector partners to support the health and wellbeing, attainment and outcomes of children and young people impacted by poverty. The three organisers of learning and teaching; leadership; and, families and communities should shape local approaches.’

From: Scottish Attainment Challenge: framework for recovery and accelerating progress, March 2022

Quality and Improvement in CLD

Education Scotland’s How Good Is Our Community Learning and Development? Framework (2021) sets out the standards used by HM Inspectors to evaluate and report on quality and improvement in CLD in Scotland. The framework is designed to be of use for every practitioner and manager working within the CLD sector in Scotland, as well as those who use CLD methodologies in their work.

How good is our CLD

Related links

Wider policy context

'CfE Briefing 10: The role of community learning and development (CLD) and partnership working' explores the important contribution that CLD is making to CfE outcomes for learners through partnership working in educational establishments and communities.

PDF file: CfE Briefing 10 - The role of CLD and partnership working (2.4 MB)

Other policy links include:

Organisations supporting adult learning