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Leading article: Scotland’s education problems will test Swinney

Category: In the News
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The Scotsman ran a leading article on the implications of our Access in Scotland report.

“The cap on places making it harder for Scots to get into university is just one area where the Government may have to think again.

Is there anyone left in Scotland who doesn’t know Nicola Sturgeon has made education her top priority for this parliamentary term? The message has been delivered, loud and clear, many times.

The First Minister acknowledged some time ago that opposition parties were hitting home with their attacks on the Scottish Government’s record on education, and boldly staked her personal reputation on improving her government’s performance in this area by closing the attainment gap between the haves and the have-nots. Her most significant move so far has been to move her top performer, John Swinney, to the education brief.
Ms Sturgeon is making the right noises, but this will not be enough to silence her critics. This week, she has been accused by political opponents of having no significant strategy to back up her stated intentions.

If she has a case to answer on this front, it is also true that Mr Swinney cannot be expected to have produced a blueprint for transformation in the two weeks since his new brief was announced.

As we report today, the attainment gap in education is mirrored by the access gap at the point of tertiary education, with young people from the wealthiest parts of the country four times more likely to go to university than their peers from the most deprived areas.

Part of the reason for this is because the attainment gap means that those from less privileged backgrounds simply do not achieve the high school grades to obtain a university place. But there are other factors to consider, highlighted in a report published today by educational charity the Sutton Trust.”

Read the full article here.