Scottish Parliament election 2021: The Lib Dems' pledges on education
Here are some of the Lib Dems' key manifesto commitments on education:
- Review of workloads and career opportunities for teachers, and a minimum starting salary of £30,000 from probationer level.
- An "urgent programme to help children bounce back in education" after Covid.
- Play-based education until age 7, "based on the Nordic model" and starting with "a series of voluntary pilots" in existing buildings.
- More in-class support "to help every child reach their potential".
- Every qualified teacher guaranteed a job, to cut class sizes, provide pupils with more one-on-one help, and allow a greater focus on additional support needs (ASN) in the classroom.
- Active teachers to be "put at the heart of the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) and Education Scotland".
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Scottish election 2021: SNP manifesto for education
Scottish election 2021: Greens’ manifesto for education
- An "immediate term-time expansion of outdoor learning and increased provision of residential outdoor education", including "experiences [to] increase understanding of the climate emergency" and a guarantee that every primary and secondary school pupil has at least one week away at an outdoor centre.
- Increase support given in initial teacher education (ITE) for teaching about the climate emergency.
- New programme of supported S4-S6 study (optional for both staff and pupils), "guided by the judgement of class teachers" and to include "a financial bonus for those who lead them".
- A legal right to defer when a child starts primary school, with "funded early learning and childcare starting this August, removing the £4,500 price tag that the current government has left hanging over families [who defer]".
- Increase the 1,140 hours entitlement to early learning and childcare to include all two-year-olds, with "an ambition to extend funded early education and childcare hours to one-year-olds.
- Stop national tests of five-year-olds (known as Scottish National Standardised Assessments, or SNSAs).
- A new "armed forces pupil premium to recognise the disruption faced by the children of service personnel...matching the provision that has existed since 2011 for service families elsewhere in the UK".
- Improved attainment through "family-nurse partnerships".
- "A more securely funded youth work service" to help "young people who are not engaged successfully in formal education".
- Raise reading and writing standards "by getting teachers to lead a literacy task force".
- "Ask teachers to lead reforms of the way primary schools tackle maths".
- Bring back principal teachers for Stem subjects.
- Convene a group of language teachers to recommend ways to improve the uptake of foreign languages in schools, "noting the lack of evidence of success" of the 1+2 approach.
- Rejoin international studies of education standards that Scotland has left in recent years.
- A "training bond" to reduce financial barriers to further education.
- As a response to the UK's withdrawal from the Erasmus student-exchange programme, introduce "an international scheme to allow thousands of Scottish students to study abroad and thousands of international students to study here". The Lib Dems would also "work to make the most of the UK government’s Turing Scheme".
- "Integrate civil and citizenship education into the current curriculum, including financial education, and teaching about relationships and diversity, and make sure that we learn the lessons of the Black Lives Matter movement by changing the way we teach history to include a wider perspective on empire, slavery, and Scottish and British involvement in them."
- Fully implement recommendations of the LGBTI Inclusive Education Working Group.
- Make music tuition free in schools.
- "Tackle head-on the health issues which reduce healthy life expectancy in Scotland", with a review of PE and home economics.
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: “Liberal Democrats will put recovery first, not independence.
“That means an NHS recovery plan. It means a greater priority for mental health with extra counsellors, mental health first aiders and specialists for easy access near to you.
“Bounce-back support for pupils, employing more permanent teachers to cut class sizes and extend free nursery education to all two-year-olds.
“Creating more jobs and taking action on the climate with one million low-cost, low-carbon homes, a young people’s job guarantee and £5,000 training grants.
“That’s what you get when you put recovery first.”