McArthur: Time is running out for education action by the SNP

Scottish Liberal Democrats have repeated calls to the Scottish Government to expand early years provision and to widen the distribution of an attainment fund throughout Scotland in a bid to close the attainment gap.

It comes after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon gave a speech on education as pupils across the country went back to school today.

Commenting on the First Minister’s speech, Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP said:

“Scotland’s education standards are sliding not for a lack of ideas but because of a lack of action by the SNP government.

“Nicola Sturgeon says she wants to close the attainment gap but her actions say different. So far she has shown the same unwillingness as her predecessor to take decisions that can make a real difference in closing this gap. 

“The Attainment Fund, while welcome, is targeted at only fourteen local authority areas in Scotland.   

“The First Minister seems to have acknowledged that the earlier approach of offering the funds to only seven local authorities wasn't right. But it still leaves disadvantaged pupils in more than half the local authority areas in Scotland unable to access any support.

“The pupil premium, introduced by Lib Dems in England, targets resources on the individual children and young people who need it.

“Our calls to extend early years education to more two year olds continue to be overlooked.

“After eight years in power, time is running out for the SNP. The children who were in primary school when Nicola Sturgeon first became a minister are now in secondary school.

“The First Minister is right to prioritise closing the attainment gap but it is now time for her to start walking the talk.”

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