Now elec­tion is over the SNP ed­u­ca­tion re­port card says: must do bet­ter

Rutherglen Reformer - - James Kelly -

The SNP ed­u­ca­tion re­port card isn’t some­thing to be proud of.

With the elec­tion over, I hope Ni­cola Stur­geon will leave her he­li­copter in the han­gar, re­turn from Lon­don and get to work in the par­lia­ment she is a mem­ber of.

Through all the hype and cam­paign vis­its dur­ing the elec­tion, the SNP gov­ern­ment in Ed­in­burgh took their eyes off the ball and our schools and pupils are pay­ing for it.

Just last week at First Min­is­ter’s Ques­tions, Scot­tish Labour deputy leader Kezia Dug­dale re­vealed new fig­ures which showed the num­ber of pupils pass­ing ex­ams fell by al­most 102,000 in the last year. This is damn­ing.

New anal­y­sis by Dr Jim Scott of Ed­in­burgh Uni­ver­sity shows that the num­ber of pupils gain­ing Level 3-5 qual­i­fi­ca­tions in SCQF, the re­place­ment qual­i­fi­ca­tion for Stan­dard Grades, dropped by 20 per cent be­tween 2012/13 and 2013/14.

It’s clear Scot­land’s pupils are be­ing let down by the SNP gov­ern­ment.

The fig­ures were re­vealed just a day af­ter the SNP’s ed­u­ca­tion sec­re­tary told the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment there has been an “in­crease in pass rates” for na­tional qual­i­fi­ca­tions.

The great strength of Scot­tish ed­u­ca­tion known around the world has al­ways been its breadth. But Dr Scott’s dev­as­tat­ing anal­y­sis shows pupils in Scot­land are study­ing fewer sub­jects and get­ting worse re­sults.

Dis­grace­fully, it has also been ex­posed that 75 per cent of S2 pupils from the most dis­ad­van­taged back­grounds don’t have the nu­mer­acy skills they should have. That a child’s abil­ity to read and write still de­pends on the in­come of their par­ents should be a source of shame. This isn’t the fault of our teach­ers, who are ded­i­cated and pas­sion­ate about giv­ing our young peo­ple the best start in life.

Af­ter eight years in of­fice, re­spon­si­bil­ity lies firmly with the SNP who should be fo­cused on us­ing the ed­u­ca­tion pow­ers they have to give our young peo­ple the skills and re­sources they need.

The cuts to col­lege stu­dent num­bers, fall­ing school exam pass rates, and the scan­dal of the poor nu­mer­acy lev­els of Scot­land’s most de­prived kids show the SNP’s ed­u­ca­tion re­port card isn’t some­thing to be proud of.

Hard act to fol­low

We have a new MP in Ruther­glen and Hamil­ton West, and I congratulate her on the re­cent suc­cess. I want to also put on record my sin­cere thanks to Tom Greatrex who, over the last five years, has served our com­mu­ni­ties with great distinc­tion and com­mit­ment.

I worked very closely with Tom and to­gether led a num­ber of suc­cess­ful cam­paigns – from sav­ing lo­cal bus routes to op­pos­ing plans to change lo­cal out-of-hours ser­vices.

This week I was back out on doorsteps in Ruther­glen speak­ing to peo­ple about lo­cal is­sues and pick­ing up case­work.

This is a very im­por­tant as­pect of my job as your MSP and those doorstep con­ver­sa­tions help me rep­re­sent and ap­pre­ci­ate the area bet­ter. I will con­tinue to serve as the Labour MSP for Ruther­glen, Cam­bus­lang and Blan­tyre and, if any­one ever needs my help or ad­vice, please con­tact me any­time on 0141 647 0707 or at james.kelly.msp@scot­tish. par­lia­ment.uk

The SNP took their eyes off the ball and our schools and pupils are pay­ing for it

Street­wise MSP James Kelly on Reid Street for a street surgery

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