Scotland’s teachers deserve our unreserved praise for the education they are providing our young people, day in and day out. Scotland has a good education system.
Under the SNP, a record number of school leavers are going on to continued education, training or work. And more young people than ever before are studying at university – including more young people from deprived backgrounds.
But there’s much still to do. The life chances of our young people must not be determined by where they’re born, or what their background is. Our young people must be given the best start in life – to ensure they can take advantage of the opportunities of tomorrow.
We’re taking action to empower schools, improve education and enhance the life chances of our children and young people. Here’s how.
We’re putting more money into schools to tackle the attainment gap.
We’re will invest £750 million to tackle the attainment gap between pupils from the least and most wealthy backgrounds. This year £179 million is being invested in raising attainment – with most going direct to teachers through the Pupil Equity Fund. Our reforms mean schools will have more control over funding, and we will carry out a consultation on fair funding too.
A further £46 million funding package has also been agreed with local councils. This will include £10 million to implement new Regional Improvement Collaboratives; £32 million over three years to improve the attainment of looked after children; and £4 million over three years for an enhanced leadership and development programme.
We are increasing teacher numbers and providing them with fresh support.
The number of teachers has increased by 543 between 2016 and 2017, thanks to new investment through the Attainment Scotland Fund. We have also increased teacher training places for six consecutive years.
We’ll provide new career and development opportunities for teachers, and new Regional Improvement Collaboratives, working across councils, will provide improve support for teachers, including access to teams of attainment experts.
Schools will have freedom to make their own decisions.
New powers for schools will put them in charge of key decisions about a child’s education, including responsibility for raising attainment and closing the poverty-related attainment gap.
Schools will have more freedom about their curriculum, improvement and funding and headteachers will have more say in choosing school staff and management structure.
The Scottish Government has now reached a landmark agreement with local councils to deliver the principles of school empowerment without the need for an 18 month delay while legislation is passed.
We want Scotland to be a world leader in parent and family involvement in schools.
We have launched Scotland’s first-ever national Action Plan on increasing parental involvement in schools – backed up with £350,000. The Plan sets out 50 recommendations, including support for ethnic minority parents, parents of children with additional support needs, those with disabled children and those with learning disabilities.
We want more and better information on the progress of children.
We have introduced detailed measurement system to tell us what is working – and what is not working – in our schools. The National Improvement Framework gathers teacher judgement information on children’s progress, informed by national standardised assessments.