When will the SNP take education seriously? Good question!

The SNP government needs to address the issue of educational inequality in Scotland’s poorest areas [Image: Phil Boorman/Getty Images/Cultura RF].

The SNP government needs to address the issue of educational inequality in Scotland’s poorest areas [Image: Phil Boorman/Getty Images/Cultura RF].

This Writer disagrees strongly with the article’s author on his suggested solution to Scotland’s education problem; unleashing the Tory plan of ‘Free’ or ‘Academy’ schools on school pupils won’t help them and will only put money into the hands of the wrong people – as we’ve seen in England.

But something must be done, otherwise the SNP’s tattered reputation on education could drag the party down altogether.

Perhaps that is for the best, if the nationalists were elected under false pretences.

John Swinney’s appointment as Scotland’s new cabinet secretary for education is being widely regarded as a statement of intent by Nicola Sturgeon. Swinney is one of her most formidable ministers and the first minister has asked us all to judge her on her government’s ability to close the educational attainment gap. Swinney was not two weeks in the job before the latest data from the Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy was released. On the face of it, the figures were depressing and indicated a decline or at least no improvement since 2011. At primary 4 level, standards of numeracy have retreated and at S2 level there has been no improvement on figures that weren’t originally encouraging.

The underlying pattern in these figures, though, was not merely depressing – they were nothing short of a national disgrace. By every indicator and at every stage of primary and secondary schooling, children from our most disadvantaged communities performed much worse than those from more affluent neighbourhoods. At S2, there is an educational attainment gap of 28%.

This trend has been apparent in Scotland since before the SNP assumed government, but they have now been in power for more than nine years. That is more than enough time to have considered all possible solutions and to have listened to the submissions of all stakeholders.

Yet Swinney’s response was merely to talk about teachers requiring more understanding of the importance of numeracy and literacy. No they don’t, John – your government needs to start now to address educational inequality in our poorest areas.

Source: When will the SNP take education seriously? | Kevin McKenna | Opinion | The Guardian

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3 thoughts on “When will the SNP take education seriously? Good question!

  1. rockingbass

    I hope that the debate which is going on in Scotland about education develops away from academic attainment and “tests” to a encouraging vocational education, things like how to budget,fostering interest in the arts,and helping children to think about what they are being taught.etc.My grandchildren are both enjoying school and talking with parents local children are as well educated if not better than I was in London in the 1960’s..It is well worth reading the Education (Scotland) Act 2016…http://www.legislation.gov.uk/asp/2016/8/section/2/enacted.

  2. Joan Edington

    I don’t think fot one moment that Kevin is suggesting Scotland moves to the academy system. He wants more power to be given to the Head Teachers, rather than the indescriminate whims of local councils. He also says he wants more community involvement “within the state system” which is not the way I see the English academies working. It is a postcode lottery when education is totally funded and run by councils, none of which seem to have the same priorities. What the Scottish Government are proposing, I nelieve, is to take some of the council’s education budget and give it directly to schools, on the basis that Head teachers and staff have a much better idea of the needs of pupils in their own area.

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