Regional Improvement Collaboratives: What are they?

25th February 2019

Scottish education is full of jargon and acronyms - you may have come across some new ones: RIC and Collaborative. Well, they are the same thing: a Regional Improvement Collaborative. 

What are Regional Improvement Collaboratives and what will they do?

There are 32 local authorities (councils) and they have formed themselves into six Regional Improvement Collaboratives (RICs). In 2017 the Scottish Government announced plans to get councils to co-operate more closely, so the councils organised themselves into RICs.  The RICs are listed below.

The RICs are ‘virtual’ bodies, formed with the purpose of improving education and closing the poverty-related attainment gap in the schools in their areas – this is the gap in achievement of children from poorer homes compared to more affluent areas. The intention is that they will do this by working together to give advice and support to schools, and to share examples of good work across local authority borders.

Each Collaborative has published a Regional Improvement Plan, setting out the vision and aims of the Collaborative. Comparing all six plans, improving literacy and numeracy is a popular aim for RICs, along with closing the attainment gap, improving the health and wellbeing of children, and making sure more school leavers go on to positive destinations (such as college, university, training or employment). Each collaborative has formed different working groups to work on these issues. Each group includes representatives from local authority, Education Scotland, schools, and other groups such as Connect.

Connect has been making contact with all of the Collaboratives to find out how parental and family engagement will feature in their work. We’re working with the South East Improvement Collaborative to bring our experience working in parental engagement to their workstream on equity, and with the West Partnership to help support their Parental Engagement and Family Learning workstream. We hope to work with the other Collaboratives in similar ways. Our message to them is that families matter – the link between family engagement with learning and good outcomes for children is very clear, so no Collaborative can hope to close (or narrow) the attainment gap without working closely with families.

Below is a list of the Regional Collaboratives and their local authority members.

Forth Valley and West Lothian Collaborative ( is made up of:

·         Clackmannanshire Council

·         Falkirk Council

·         Stirling Council

·         West Lothian Council

Northern Alliance ( is made up of:

·         Aberdeen City Council

·         Aberdeenshire Council

·         Argyll and Bute Council

·         Western Isles Council

·         Highland Council

·         Moray Council

·         Orkney Council

·         Shetland Council.

South East Improvement Collaborative ( is made up of:

·         Edinburgh City Council

·         East Lothian Council

·         Fife Council

·         Midlothian Council

·         Scottish Borders Council.

South West Collaborative is made up of:

·         Dumfries and Galloway Council

·         East Ayrshire Council

·         North Ayrshire Council

·         South Ayrshire Council.

Tayside Regional Improvement Collaborative is made up of:

·         Angus Council

·         Dundee Council

·         Perth and Kinross Council.

West Partnership (also known as Glasgow City Region Education Improvement Collaborative) ( is made up of:

·         East Dunbartonshire Council

·         East Renfrewshire Council

·         Glasgow City Council

·         Inverclyde Council

·         North Lanarkshire Council

·         Renfrewshire Council

·         South Lanarkshire Council

·         West Dunbartonshire Council.