By Professional Officer (Scotland) Dougie Atkinson
I attended Holyrood magazine’s Education Hustings on Tuesday 12 April 2016 at the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh, from 09.00 to 11.00.
A range of candidates in the forthcoming Scottish Parliamentary elections spoke about their aspirations for education in Scotland before taking questions from the chair and the floor.
The event was well attended by a range of interested individuals – parents, pupils, teachers, and various interest groups. The candidates spoke at length about their views on the state of education in Scotland but, perhaps not unexpectedly given the issue with Edinburgh school closures at the moment, a significant chunk of time was spent debating the PFI school building programme history and school estate funding alternatives.
The debate could pretty much be distilled down to the SNP defending its record in education since it came to power and the other parties – particularly Labour – attacking that record. Labour were especially vocal about the SNP’s decision not to fully use the powers available to the Scottish Parliament to generate additional funding that could be devoted to education.
All the other parties were critical of the SNP’s track record on falling teacher numbers, falling support staff numbers, the 30% reduction in teachers in early years settings in recent years, and reductions in university and college funding, and all promised to reverse those trends.
You can follow some of the debate on Twitter.