Rennie: Devastating attainment statistics reflection of “too little too late” from government

Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Willie Rennie MSP today said new official statistics which show an unprecedented attainment gap and performance at primary school level falling dramatically in every measure is a reflection of a Scottish Government that has offered “too little too late”.

The Achievement of Curriculum for Excellence Levels statistics covering primary pupils shows:

  • The percentage of pupils meeting the expected numeracy level fell 4.4% compared to pre-pandemic, with the attainment gap growing from 16.8% to 21.4%.
  • The percentage of pupils meeting the expected literacy level fell 5.4% compared to pre-pandemic, with the attainment gap growing from 20.7% to 24.7%.
  • Barely half of P4 pupils from the most deprived backgrounds met the expected level in literacy – a level achieved by almost 80% of their peers from the least deprived backgrounds.

Willie Rennie commented:

“Education was meant to be Nicola Sturgeon’s top priority but the government barely made a dent in the attainment gap pre-pandemic. Now the figures have crashed. Instead of closing the attainment gap its wider than ever.

“The SNP can’t just blame the pandemic as the attainment gap was yawning before we’d even heard of Covid 19.

“The Scottish Government failed to get laptops out to tens of thousands of children who needed them fast. Now it is failing to properly employ thousands of qualified teachers who should be spending every day helping children catch-up. No wonder these statistics are devastating.

“Children have missed out on so much. The disruption has been unprecedented so the response should be too. Instead, the government has offered too little too late. Teachers and parents are struggling to see any difference in what’s on offer in our schools.

“Scottish Liberal Democrats had to work hard to persuade ministers to strengthen the pupil premium and hire more teachers. Now we need to see more in class support, a guarantee of a job for every qualified teacher, premiums to get the best teachers to the schools in greatest need and a targeted new support programme for senior pupils. This can’t wait.”

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