4 Oct 2012
Alex Salmond has been accused of presiding over a growing crisis in Scotland’s education system from our schools to universities.
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson today challenged the First Minister to take responsibility for the Scottish Government’s disastrous higher education policy, as a report showed all but one of the country’s universities had slipped down the world rankings, with one falling out the top 200 altogether.
She went on to highlight during First Minister’s Questions that a fifth of children leave primary school unable to read and write properly, while Scotland’s leading educationalist Prof Lindsay Paterson has warned that teachers tasked with delivering the new Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) are being given a lack of “clear leadership” from the SNP
Ruth also revealed that Scotland’s most disadvantaged students will see their bursaries slashed by 34 per cent, meaning they will receive almost £1000 less a year, while there are 70,000 fewer college places.
Despite this, Alex Salmond claimed he was more than happy with the job his education secretary Mike Russell was doing, asserted that student numbers were being maintained and there was “great enthusiasm” among teachers and parents for CfE.
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson MSP said:
“From primary one to postgraduate, the SNP’s education policy has been a catalogue of failure and arrogance that ‘we know best’.
“While Alex Salmond obsesses about separation and swans around the golf course, his education secretary has presided over a chaotic situation from top to bottom.
“Scotland’s children, aged from five upwards, are now being directly harmed by this Scottish Government’s head in the sand attitude to our education system.
“The First Minister’s weak response today that everything is ok shows he is clueless about the havoc being wreaked on our education system by Mike Russell.
“Scotland’s schools and universities have been the envy of the world, but under this SNP administration we are quickly sliding down the international league table.
“It is time for Alex Salmond to finally get a grip on education, and get a grip on an Education Secretary who is losing the confidence of virtually everyone around him.”
Notes to editors
A report released today showed Scotland’s universities are tumbling down global rankings:
Alex Salmond was warned by Glasgow University Principal Anton Muscatelli last year that the SNP’s funding gap for universities would harm performance.
A fifth of Scottish pupils cannot read and write properly on leaving primary school:
Prof Lindsay Paterson said there was “no clear leadership and focus in the implementation of curriculum for excellence”.
- The Times (Scotland) 17/09/2012
Scotland’s Colleges evidence to the Education and Culture Committee on the Draft Budget 2013/14 – Tuesday 2 October 2012 – stated budget cuts had cost 70,000 Scots a place at college this year.
Details on bursary cuts for Scotland’s poorest students are available from SPICe. From next year the maximum bursary available for students from the poorest families under the Young Students Bursary Scheme will go down from £2640 to £1750 – a 34 per cent cut.