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Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills

Current role holder: Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP

Shirley-Anne Somerville  MSP

Shirley-Anne Somerville was appointed Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills in May 2021.


The Cabinet Secretary is responsible for:

  • COVID-19 Education and Development recovery
  • school standards, quality and improvement
  • school infrastructure and staffing
  • attainment, and closing the attainment gap
  • reform of the curriculum
  • National Improvement Framework
  • teaching profession
  • removing barriers to education and supporting digital inclusion
  • behaviour and measures to combat bullying
  • protection of vulnerable groups
  • Education Scotland (ES)
  • school learning and support
  • education analytical services
  • education strategy and performance
  • additional support for learning
  • lifelong learning
  • cross-government support for learning disabilities, autism and neurodiversity
  • learning difficulties
  • National Digital Academy
  • Scotland's languages, include Gaelic, Scots and BSL

Supporting Ministers


Educated at Kirkcaldy High School, she then graduated from the University of Strathclyde with a BA (Hons) in Economics and Politics (1996), followed by a Diploma in Housing Studies at the University of Stirling and a Diploma in Public Relations from Queen Margaret University College.

She has worked as a parliamentary researcher, a Policy and Public Affairs Officer at the Chartered Institute of Housing, and as a Media and Campaigns Officer at the Royal College of Nursing.

Shirley-Anne was previously an MSP for the Lothians region from 2007 to 2011, and returned to the Scottish Parliament in 2016 as MSP for Dunfermline. Shirley-Anne Somerville was previously Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, and was appointed Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People in June 2018.