Scottish Government defeated over education record

Written by Tom Freeman on 9 March 2017 in News

MSPs rebuke the Scottish Government over its record on education and the Curriculum for Excellence

Iain Gray - Scottish Parliament

The Scottish Government’s record on education has failed teachers and pupils, the Scottish Parliament has concluded.

MSPs voted last night to back a bruising Labour motion criticising the education policies of the SNP Government in a debate Education Secretary John Swinney called “disgraceful”.

Scottish Labour’s motion highlighted a recent poor showing in the international PISA ratings and said teachers have lost confidence in government body Education Scotland and the Scottish Qualifications Authority.


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Labour’s education spokesman Iain Gray said it had been a “stinging defeat” for the government’s record.

“The education secretary occasionally asks me whether we still support curriculum for excellence. We do, and it is exactly because we support it that it pains us to see the mess that this Government has made of its implementation,” he said.

“The decade of CfE implementation has been a decade of cuts to school budgets. We now have more than 4,000 fewer teachers, more than 1,000 fewer support staff and class sizes that are increasing steadily.”

Conservative Ross Thomson said the debate had been “thoroughly depressing” because of the issues raised, accusing Swinney of a “nothing-to-see-here response”.

Swinney pointed to increases in the number of higher passes and positive destinations for school leavers.

“Those are being delivered as a consequence of our efforts,” he said.

“We are determined to ensure that we improve that performance in a way that is consistent with the national improvement framework, and that we work with schools and local authorities to achieve that.”

The Scottish Greens said they voted against the government’s amendment because Swinney had refused to back their own proposals.

Education spokesman Ross Greer said these included greater subsidy for school uniforms and transport and more support for pupils with additional support needs and victims of LGBTI bullying.

“All parties agree on the principle of high quality education for everyone. The issue is how we believe it is achieved,” he said.

“Greens will continue to put forward constructive suggestions to ensure all young people and teachers get the support they need.”

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