4 Apr 2016
Strong opposition from the Scottish Conservatives is achieving progress on education, the party said today in response to comments by Nicola Sturgeon on Teach First.
In an interview with the Daily Mail the First Minister revealed she had rethought her opposition to Teach First, and at now consider a similar scheme for Scotland.
The scheme is hailed for fast-tracking some of the best teachers as well as improving challenging schools in deprived areas.
In January, Ruth Davidson urged the SNP to introduce the project as one of a number of efforts to help close Scotland’s attainment gap.
But at the time, Nicola Sturgeon said she had concerns about it, even though there is a shortage of teachers across many key subjects.
Now the SNP have said they will look into a similar scheme confirming that while Labour come up with no solid plans on education, the Conservatives are bringing about change.
Scottish Conservative young people spokeswoman Liz Smith said:
“Teach First will address a real issue regarding teacher recruitment in Scotland and it is good to see the SNP have listened and taken our advice.
“We were the only party to raise growing concerns about an attainment gap, lack of testing and Teach First – which the SNP has all taken action on.
“Strong credible opposition from us will lead to better government, unlike Labour which just moan from the sidelines.
“If people want a party they can trust on education, and hold the SNP to account, then it is clear that the Scottish Conservatives are the only party to guarantee that.”
Notes to editors
Excerpt from the Mail piece:
Encouragingly, she tells me she has rethought her opposition to Teach First, a successful project in England that attracts bright young graduates to work in the most disadvantaged schools. ‘I’m interested in different routes into teaching and I’ve been speaking to the GTC about the changes they’re making because they’re looking at [that]. But how do we get the best graduates in to our schools? I’m open to anything that does that. One of the things I have learned about Teach First is that they’ve changed what they do quite dramatically. Now they take all of the entrants through getting a teaching qualification where they didn’t previously, so there’s been a lot of evolution. Whether we would bring in Teach First as an organisation or just find our own ways of doing the same thing, that’s a different discussion.
The Scottish Conservatives first raised Teach First in January 2016 at First Minister’s Question Time: