Nicola Sturgeon has made closing the attainment gap in our schools the SNP Scottish Government’s defining mission.
Much has been achieved over the last 10 years and there is a lot to be proud of in our schools, not least because of the hard work and dedication of our teachers.
But, with pace and urgency, more must be done in collaboration with teachers, professional associations, parents and local authorities to ensure that we close the attainment gap in education once and for all.
Here are just seven ways we’re working to make our schools world-class.
Between 2007 and 2016, 651 schools have been rebuilt or refurbished – twice as many as the previous Labour/LibDem administrations.
The number of higher exam passes has risen by almost a third since 2007.
Spending on schools is up. Total revenue spending on schools has risen by at least £220 million since 2006-07, and spending per pupil is higher in Scotland than England.
We are investing an additional £750 million over five years to reduce the attainment gap between pupils from the most and least deprived areas, including £120 million going direct to teachers this year alone.
The ratio of pupils to teachers has been maintained for three years. And we’re investing in 3,861 teacher training places this year – a rise for six consecutive years.
We’ve expanded the Education Maintenance Allowance in Scotland – now scrapped south of the border – to support even more school pupils and college students from low income families.
We’re maintaining free, healthy school meals for all pupils in primaries 1 to 3 – and we’re expanding them to all children receiving free childcare and early years education.