A smarter Scotland: 10 facts about the SNP’s record in education

Scotland has an education system to be proud of.

We’re determined to ensure that everyone gets the best start in life, proper support throughout their education, and that university is always based on the ability to learn, not the ability to pay.

Here’s what we’ve already achieved, and what we’re doing to make education even better.

1. Highest per-person investment in education in the UK

Since coming into government, the SNP’s policies have resulted in the highest level of education investment across the UK.

In Scotland, we invest £1,685 in education per person – compared to £1,382 in Labour-run Wales and £1,319 in Tory-run England.

2. 1,000 schools built or upgraded

Since the SNP took office, over 1,000 schools have been built or upgraded – providing well-designed, accessible and inclusive learning environments for pupils.

Scotland also has proportionally more schools than England and Wales – 355 schools per 100,000 pupils, compared to 317 in Wales and 259 in England.

Over the SNP’s time in government, we have reduced the number of pupils being educated in unsatisfactory school buildings by over 75%.

3. Music and core curriculum fees removed

The ability to take part in music or drama should never be limited by a child’s ability to pay.

That’s why we have removed tuition fees for children learning a musical instrument at school, as well as charges for things including materials for home economics, or trips associated with drama classes.

4. Highest teacher numbers, highest starting salaries

Scotland has significantly more teachers per pupil than south of the border – with 7,485 teachers per 100,000 pupils, compared to 5,545 in England and 5,038 in Wales.

And teachers in Scotland are significantly better paid too – with the starting salary for qualified teachers higher in Scotland than in Wales and England, outside of Greater London.

5. Higher passes at record high since devolution

The number of Higher passes is at a record level since devolution began, and the number of Advanced Higher passes is its highest since they were introduced in 2001.

6. Record high number of school leavers in work, training or further study

The percentage of school leavers going on to education, training or employment has significantly increased under the SNP – from 85.9% in 2009/2010, to 95.7% in 2021/22.

What’s more, the gap between those from the most deprived and least deprived areas has narrowed, and is now at a record low. Thanks to the SNP government’s actions, it has reduced by two-thirds compared to 2009/10.

7. Free tuition, introduced and protected under the SNP

Scotland has some of the best universities in the world, one of the highest proportions of universities in the world’s Top 200.

And while students in England face tuition fees up to £27,750 – students in Scotland benefit from free tuition, which will always be protected under the SNP.

8. Record high numbers of students go to university

A record 301,230 students enrolled at Scottish universities in 2021/22, including 16.5% of full-time first degree entrants to university coming from the 20% most deprived areas of Scotland in 2021-22.

9. Expanded free school meals

Every pupil in Primary 1 to 5 now benefits from access to free school meals, helping save families around £400 per child per year and ensuring that no child goes hungry.

10. Expanded free early learning and childcare

We are delivering 1,140 hours of funded high-quality early learning and childcare for all 3 and 4 year olds, and 2 year olds who need it most.

Thanks to our transformative expanded childcare offer, families of more than 79,000 children are now saving almost £5,000 per child per year.