Experts throw down gauntlet to SNP on education reform

2 Nov 2015

Closing the attainment gap in Scotland’s schools must not be achieved by dragging the best performing pupils down, experts have warned the SNP.

In a stark message to ministers, Reform Scotland said upping standards across the board had to be the priority in education, and challenged the Scottish Government to outline exactly how this was to be achieved.

Its Commission for School Reform findings, published tomorrow, adds that if Scotland’s education system is to regain its world-leading reputation any time soon, major transformations would be required.

The Scottish Conservatives have repeatedly urged the SNP to make radical changes in education, including prioritising vocational subjects for some pupils and giving parents and teachers more control over the running of schools.

Reintroducing testing for pupils to assess the performance of schools has also been suggested, while the party wants to see SNP cuts to college courses reversed to give school-leavers more options.

Despite being in power for more than eight years, only recently has the SNP focused on education after years of decline in the classroom, failure to close the attainment gap between rich and poor, and Scotland tumbling down global league tables.

Scottish Conservative young people spokeswoman Liz Smith said:

“This is a stark message from some of Scotland’s most experienced and well respected educationalists.

“They have been very blunt about the scale of the challenge facing the SNP which, in its eight years of government, has failed to address the serious issues affecting Scottish schools.

“There is no doubt that raising attainment across the board should be the number one priority, neither is there any doubt that this must not be at the expense of the brighter pupils.

“Scotland has a long way to go to regain her once proud tradition in education.

“Here are some significant proposals to help that happen and they must not be ignored.”

Notes to editors:
For a copy of the Reform Scotland report – which will be made public at midnight – visit: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxzNpcSPKHW8WEd4bkFDWmYzNnM/view
The Scottish Conservatives have consistently urged the SNP to make required changes to education to help school performance and close the attainment gap: