A Smarter Scotland
A good education is an investment – not just in our children, but in our society and our economy too. From early years through to adulthood, we want to provide everyone – regardless of their background – with the very best chance of success in life.
Our vision is for a Scotland where every child has every chance to succeed. We want to raise attainment throughout the education system and end the decades of educational inequality that has existed in Scotland.
Our record is good, and improving, however not at a fast enough rate. Addressing this is a priority for the SNP, starting with reforms in primary schools – the crucial early years of education. As part of this, the First Minister has launched the Scottish Attainment Challenge, backed by the £750 million Attainment Scotland Fund over this Parliament.
We want to support children through the education system, and ensure that the Scottish system is free and open to all. That is why we will extend the Education Maintenance Allowance scheme, continue to support our college students and ensure that Scottish students at Scottish universities are not charged tuition fees.
Since 2007, the SNP Scottish Government has increased the level of funded early learning and childcare by almost half to the equivalent of around 16 hours per week. We have also extended our early learning and childcare offer to the most vulnerable and disadvantaged two-year-olds.
We will almost double free childcare to 30 hours and create 600 new childcare centres, with 20,000 more qualified staff by 2021. We will double the investment on early learning and childcare by the end of the next parliament – to £880 million a year.
We will protect free education. There will be no tuition fees as long as the SNP is in government. We will set ambitious new targets that will ensure that by 2030, students from the 20 per cent most deprived areas make up 20 per cent of Higher Education entrants.
We will continue to maintain at least 116,000 full-time equivalent college places each year, and make it easier for young people to go from college to university.
And, we will increase the number of Modern Apprenticeships to 30,000 a year by 2020.
Free, high quality childcare has been increased to 16 hours a week for all 3 and 4 year olds – up from 12.5 hours in 2007 – and extended to 2 year olds from low income households too.
Pupils are achieving more than ever with a reformed curriculum, record exam passes and 93 per cent of school leavers now going on to work, training or education.
All children in primaries 1 to 3 – around 135,000 pupils - are now benefiting from free school meals, saving families around £380 per child per year.
More school pupils are now in well-designed, accessible and inclusive learning environments, with investment of £1.8 billion and 607 school projects delivered.