Scott, Jim

Dr, Professor


Research activity per year

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Personal profile


  • In Headship course
  • Into Headship course
  • MEd modules (until 2016)


Research interests:

  • Politico-educational governance
  • Curricular theory, practice and leadership
  • Pedagogical theory, practice and leadership
  • Effectiveness of major educational initiatives
  • Effectiveness of audit and evaluation
  • Specifics: ICT, Mathematics, Modern Languages


Jim Scott is an experienced educational leader in national, local authority and school contexts.  His activities have included being the chair/member of a broad range of national educational committees; playing a leadership role in aspects of almost all recent major Scottish educational developments, including the introduction of ICT-based learning, Standard Grade, Higher Still, Curriculum Flexibility, Curriculum for Excellence and the SCEL-related Headship developments. 

Jim also has experience of leadership in a subject context in Mathematics, Computing and Modern Languages; he was the first Principal Teacher of Computing in Scotland and one of the leadership group which initiated the teaching of Chinese Languages in Scotland.  His research activities in these areas span a period from the 1980s to date.  

Jim ls also a long-term leader and developer of assessment programmes and qualifications for the Scottish Examination Board and the Scottish Qualifications Authority, as well as being a national co-designer and co-developer of the Masters-level Into Headship and In Headship courses which implement the recommendations of the Donaldson Report for senior school managers. 

Jim is an experienced leader and provider of training and CLPL/CPD for public and private organisations across Scotland. He is also an educational consultant, having carried out local authority inspections, local aspect inspections and analysis/mentoring/support across approximately half of Scottish local authorities.

Before his academic career, Jim was a secondary headteacher with eighteen years’ experience of successfully leading two of the largest secondary schools in Scotland (combined with a period of taking over and refocussing a combined nursery/primary/secondary school).  HMI grades awarded to Jim and his colleagues throughout that period were either Excellent or Very Good on all occasions.

Jim's national roles include:

  • examiner, visiting national examiner, principal examiner and assessor with SEB and SQA
  • vice-chair, Higher Still Implementation Working Party
  • vice-chair and chair, SQA Scottish Baccalaureate Key Partners Group
  • secretary, SEB Computing Panel
  • member, SEB/CCC Higher Computing Joint Working Party
  • chair, SQA Higher Computing Materials Group
  • chair, Building OUR Curriculum Self-Help (BOCSH) Group 
  • member, SCEL Into Headship and In Headship Development Groups

Jim led the implementation of the national Into Headship and In Headship programmes in the University of Dundee and is external examiner for these courses in the University of Aberdeen.

Jim's research has embraced all three subject areas mentioned above, with Modern Languages a current part of his work, but his current principal areas of interest are the curriculum, particularly the evolution and implementation of the Scottish curriculum, and the politico-educational governance of education, within and beyond the UK.  Jim has presented at national and international conferences on these topics since the 1990s.  Jim is currently providing advice on these topics to parliamentary parties and the Civil Service, with three publications in 2018 and a further three nearing publication in early 2019.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Unintended Consequences The Governance of Modern Language Learning in Scotland (1946-2014)

15 Apr 201230 Jul 2014

Award Date: 11 Nov 2014

Unknown, Bachelor of Science, BSc (Hons) in Mathematics with Computational Science

28 Sept 197025 Jun 1974

Award Date: 16 Jul 1974

External positions

External Examiner, University of Aberdeen

15 Sept 2018 → …


  • LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools
  • curriculum
  • governance
  • attainment
  • modern languages
  • LB2361 Curriculum
  • curriculum design
  • leadership
  • political administration


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