As he visits Aberdeenshire, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has condemned the SNP’s record on education and set out a series of proposals for tackling two years of disruption and fifteen years of SNP neglect, including strengthening ASN provision and giving more powers to schools.
The Scottish Liberal Democrat local election manifesto commits the party to focusing on raising attainment and closing the poverty-related attainment gap through:
- the stronger Pupil Equity Fund already won by Scottish Liberal Democrats which will give schools confidence to recruit more long-term staff.
- supporting a nationwide teacher job guarantee to cut class sizes, because no teacher should be unemployed or feel underemployed.
- pupil support assistants providing more in-class support for children who need it.
- making sure every child has access to connected technology.
- supporting the expansion of outdoor learning and increased provision of residential experiences to engage children.
- supporting a new programme of extra supported study for S4-S6 to guide revision, work through problems and consolidate understanding.
- supporting voluntary pilots of a longer statutory early years phase, using play-based learning to help more children get off to a good start before the age of 7.
- Re-directing £17m from the SNP’s discredited national testing of children aged as young as four and five towards air filters in classrooms to keep those children safe.
Mr Cole-Hamilton said:
“Nicola Sturgeon said that education would be her overriding priority. Even before the pandemic Scotland had tumbled down the international rankings and now the attainment gap is wider than ever.
“After two years of disruption to classrooms the response should be unprecedented but pupils, teachers and parents can’t see a jot of difference in what the government is offering them. Nobody believes education is the SNP’s top priority.
“Education is the single biggest item in a council’s budget but interference by out of touch ministers and failing agencies like the SQA has got out of control. Scottish Liberal Democrats would give power back to teachers, schools and councils, deliver more in-class support, employ every teacher available to help with the recovery of education and boost ASN provision so that every child that needs help gets it.
“Scottish Liberal Democrat councillors will champion great local schools and a great local education for every child.”