We know that supporting children in their earliest years gives them opportunities for learning and development that make a huge difference for the rest of their lives. Even in these difficult times, we will do everything we can to give our future generations the best possible start in life. We demonstrated this by restoring Scotland’s historic tradition of free education by abolishing back door tuition fees when we scrapped the graduate endowment fee. Education should always be based on the ability to learn and not the ability to pay.
- Smaller class sizes - Delivered the smallest average primary class sizes in Scottish history with the percentage of P1-P3 pupils in classes of 18 or fewer at its highest ever level
- Keeping education free - The SNP led Scottish Government abolished the graduate endowment fee previously paid by students on completion of their degree. In addition, we assigned an extra £30m to the student funding budget from 2010-11
- Building more modern schools - We not only matched but exceeded our school building commitment. By May 2011, we had completed 330 School projects, 80 more than was planned.
- Launched the Curriculum for Excellence – The Curriculum for Excellence focuses on the traditional Scottish system of a broad education, tailored to children and including as its aims building confidence and citizenship. It has been widely endorsed by educationalists and politicians across the political spectrum.
A Smarter Scotland
- Early years are the key - We will introduce a new Early Years Fund so we can expand community based provision for pre-school and the very earliest years of life.
- Schools fit for the 21st century - We are committed to a new phase of school building across Scotland as we work to lift all Scottish school children out of the worst condition schools.
- A bigger say for parents and schools - We want to see local schools and their communities take more responsibility for our children's education. That will mean, for example, a greater role for head teachers.
- More progress on smaller class sizes - We are bringing in a new legal limit on primary 1 classes in August and are committed to a progressive reduction in class sizes starting with the early years.
- More teachers per pupil in Scotland now than when the SNP came to office. And we are committed to maintaining this better teacher-pupil ratio and over time improving it.