Education, early years and the Scottish Government’s 2017-18 Programme for Government #scotpfg

5 Sep

By Dougie Atkinson, Senior Professional Officer (Scotland)

 Programme for Government 2017-18


This afternoon in the Scottish Parliament in relation to education, the First Minister said:

“We have already expanded early years’ education and childcare, but by the time the Baby Box generation reaches nursery, we will have almost doubled the amount of free nursery education that children receive.

Over the next year, to lock in that expansion, we will guarantee a multi year package of funding for local authorities to support the recruitment and training of staff and the delivery of new premises.

And to support private and third sector providers of childcare, we will also introduce rates relief for day nurseries.

The massive expansion of nursery education is the first strand of our transformation of Scotland‘s education system.”

In a recent TES Scotland article, we called for increased investment in early years staff and for national pay and conditions, and we renew that call.

Voice Scotland recently called for a review of business rates for nurseries. 

“The second is school reform.

A new Education Bill will deliver the biggest and the most radical change to how our schools are run that we have seen in the lifetime of devolution.

It will give headteachers significant new powers, influence and responsibilities, formally establishing them as leaders of learning and teaching.

Our premise is a simple, but a very powerful, one: the best people to make decisions about a child‘s education are the people who know those children best, their teachers and parents.

Our reforms will be matched by resources. We will build on the early success of the new Pupil Equity Funding so that, over time, more of the money that funds our schools goes directly to those in our classrooms.

Of course, we know that the whole education system must work together if we are to see the kind of improvement in schools that we all want to see.

So new Regional Improvement Collaboratives will be established to provide support to teachers, including access to teams of attainment experts and subject specialists.

We will also reform the way that teachers are recruited and educated throughout their professional careers.

We will introduce new routes into teaching, to attract the highest quality graduates into priority areas and priority subjects, and broaden the pool of talent available.”

Voice Scotland is working with the Scottish Government right across the range of strands in its governance review, and we will continue to do so to ensure the best outcomes for all education professionals in Scotland.

Any reforms must go hand-in-hand with sufficient funding for delivery of services.

“These changes will be underpinned by the new standardised assessments being taken by pupils in primaries 1, 4 and 7 and S3 from this autumn.

These assessments will not raise standards in and of themselves – but they will help ensure that parents, teachers, policy makers and the wider public have access to high quality and reliable information about the performance of our schools.”

The new standardised assessment website is here.  Voice Scotland has been working with Scottish Government on the development and roll-out of the new assessment system.

“The third strand of the transformation in education comes beyond the school years.

We are determined to open up university to all who have the talent to attend.

We will therefore take forward the recommendations of the Widening Access Commission to ensure that young people, regardless of their background, have an equal chance of going to university.

And to make sure they get the help they need, we will set out plans to reform student support based on the findings of the independent review that is due to report in the autumn.

We will also ensure that those who take vocational qualifications have the opportunities that they need.

In particular, we will continue to increase the number of modern apprenticeships to meet our objective of 30,000 a year by 2020.

Across all three strands of reform – in our nurseries, in our schools and in our colleges and universities – we are driving change.

Our clear purpose is to ensure a first class education for all young people, no matter the disadvantages that they might face.

That is my top priority and I recommit to it today.

A good education is important for its own sake. It contributes to the health, happiness and fulfillment of all of us as individuals.

But it is also vital to building a modern, successful, dynamic economy.”

Voice Scotland welcomes the Scottish Government’s commitment to take forward the recommendations of the Widening Access Commission.

Public sector pay

“I can confirm that we will lift the 1% public sector pay cap.

The pay cap, while never desirable, was necessary to protect jobs and services.

However, with inflation on the rise, it is not sustainable. Our nurses, teachers, police officers and fire fighters deserve a fairer deal for the future. Indeed, the need to recruit the staff that our public services depend on also demands a new approach.

We will therefore aim to secure pay rises from next year that are affordable, but which also reflect the real life circumstances our public servants face and the contribution our public services make to the overall prosperity of our country.”

We also welcome the First Minister’s announcement that the 1% pay cap for public sector workers is to be lifted.

Some of our members are amongst the poorest paid in the public sector and we will continue our dialogue with the Scottish Government to ensure educational professionals are paid a fair wage.

Do let us know your views…


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One Response to “Education, early years and the Scottish Government’s 2017-18 Programme for Government #scotpfg”

  1. Richard Fraser 06. Sep, 2017 at 10:08 am #

    From BBC Scotland: “Programme for government: Education remains number one priority”

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