Greens issue government with ‘needs improvement’ education report card

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The Scottish Greens have urged the government to “copy their homework” on education policies to close the attainment gap.

The party’s education spokesman Ross Greer issued Ministers with a “report card” outlining the results of the government’s education policy, including a 20% drop in teacher pay and 3,500 fewer teachers in 10 years.

It also highlights the 16% gap in educational attainment between the most deprived pupils and their more affluent peers, and marks the government performance as “needs improvement”.

It states: “The Scottish Government is performing poorly in education and would benefit from a change in attitude.

“They are having trouble working well with others and need to focus more on co-operation and teamwork.”

The party also published a policy paper outlining their proposals for education entitled Level the Playing Field: High Quality Education for All.

Among the pledges made are to restore teachers’ pay to help address recruitment and retention, to train all teachers on Additional Support Needs and to mandate consent-based sex and relationship education in all schools.

The paper also contains a series of pledges aimed at addressing poverty in order to tackle the attainment gap, such as giving all pupils access to breakfast and lunch, including in the school holidays.

Further proposals include topping up child benefit by £5 a week and free bus travel for young people.

Mr Greer said: “The SNP’s education report card could be defined by one line, ‘needs improvement’.

“The core issue facing Scottish education today is not governance structures or lack of tests but a decade of budget cuts which have left school short-staffed, under-resourced and with unsustainable workloads for those who are left.

“Given the poverty-related attainment gap doesn’t start in classrooms though, measures to tackle poverty at source will do just as much, if not more, to help pupils from deprived backgrounds as any measures taken in schools.

“If the Scottish Government really wants to close the attainment gap they should copy our homework.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Through our actions we are making progress to deliver a world-class education system.

“Attainment overall is up and the gap between young people from the most and least deprived backgrounds is narrowing.

“We have seen an additional 543 teachers in classrooms this year and created a national school clothing grant payment of £100.

“Despite the UK Government’s cuts to Scotland’s resource budget, we continue to prioritise education spending and will invest an additional £750 million in the course of this parliament to tackle the poverty related attainment gap.

“Responding to the views of the teaching profession, we have reduced teacher workload, simplified the curriculum framework and removed unnecessary bureaucracy.”

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