Janet Brown

 Janet Brown BSc, PhD, FInstP, FRSA, FRSE 


Janet holds a BSc in Physics and a PhD in Physical Metallurgy & Materials Science. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and Fellow of the Institute of Physics. 

Janet has held leadership roles in Education, Economic Development and Industry and has worked in research and technology development both in academia and the private sector. She has a keen interest in knowledge and skills development across all sectors of education and training.  

She was Chief Executive of SQA and since retiring in 2019, Janet has taken on a variety of non-executive roles and is Convenor of the Education Committee of the RSE. 


Scottish Education – evolution or revolution? Some thoughts. 

Scottish Education is once more in the midst of major reform. We are seeing changes to Early Years provision and institutional reform in the school sector with the creation of three new national education bodies: a qualifications body, a national agency for Scottish education, and an independent inspectorate body.  Additionally, there is an ongoing review of Post-school education, research and skills. There is a lot of consultation and planning being done. 

All these activities build on what is currently in place, an evolution of curriculum, pedagogy, assessment and institutional provision. High quality, appropriate education is critical to the future success of the individual and the society in which they live that change must be carefully considered, well-implemented and regularly monitored. No-one wants to risk a young person’s future. As a result, change is often slow and in many cases, faces significant challenge from the status quo.  

Scotland’s current approach to reform raises some major questions about an education system that we know begins when a child is born and continues throughout life and work:

  • Is there an overall strategy to ensure Scottish education benefits all – individuals, society and the economy?
  • How linked are these reforms? The development and implementation of strategies and in the responsibilities of different government directorates and different Ministers.

But there is larger questions that we should be considering:

  • Is the content and nature of the curriculum appropriate given rapidly changing social and economic environments? What knowledge and skills do children, young people and those in work need for the middle of the 21st Century?
  • Is there a need for a radical review or will evolution be enough?






Janet Brown