Scottish Parliament election 2021: The SNP's pledges on education
Here are some of the SNP's key manifesto commitments on education:
- Spend £1 billion more in the next five-year Parliament to "close the school attainment gap" and recruit 3,500 more teachers and classroom assistants, "allowing teachers more time out of the classroom to prepare lessons and improve their skills" – the manifesto makes a commitment to "reduce teachers' daily contact time by an hour and a half to give them the time they need to lift standards" (although this later turned out to be based on an error). Teachers also to be given "more powers and financial control" to tackle the attainment gap.
- Reform Scotland's assessment and qualifications system so that it "does not inherently disadvantage those from more deprived backgrounds".
- Give every child a device to get online, including a free internet connection "and the support to use it".
- Establish a "national digital academy" – as part of a new community learning and development (CLD) strategy – so that people can study for Highers "at any time, any place, any age".
SNP manifesto: Blunder over teacher contact time creates a stir
Scottish election 2021: Parties' education policies at the start of the campaign
Tes Scotland hub: All the latest news and views
Election promises: Who are the parties pitching them at?
Scottish election 2021: Greens’ manifesto for education
- Provide free school breakfasts and lunches to every primary school pupil in Scotland throughout the year, and to all pupils in state-funded special schools; in the longer term, pilot free breakfasts in secondary schools with a view to universal free breakfasts in secondaries.
- End "the exclusion of poorer families from [school] trips" and make a commitment to ensuring "consistent practice across Scotland"; no costs for poorer families for curriculum-related trips, all children to be included on "rites of passage" such as P7 residentials; and a minimum entitlement for all secondary students to go on at least one optional trip.
- An to exclusion from "practical activities" by ending various charges for poorer families.
- Abolition of fees for instrumental music tuition and other arts education; also "core curriculum charges" to be scrapped for all pupils in subjects such as home economics, hospitality, art and design, design and technology, and music.
- Expand the Youth Music Initiative across other art forms and help pupils from poorer communities to access music by continuing to fund Sistema Scotland.
- Fully implement the findings of the 2020 Morgan review of additional support for learning.
- Fully implement the findings of the 2020 Care Review.
- Bring forward a learning disability, autism and neurodiversity bill, including the creation of a learning disabilities, autism and neurodiversity commissioner.
- Continue to fund Time for Inclusive Education's (TIE) work on LGBT issues "until the prejudice that has blighted too many young lives is eradicated".
- In light of the Black Lives Matter movement, fund a new online programme "on Scotland and the UK's colonial history throughout the world that can be delivered in schools", with local authorities encouraged to deliver the programme in all schools.
- A "wraparound" childcare system operating before and after school, with the least well-off families paying nothing.
- Help the Covid recovery through a £20 million summer activities programme, "to allow [children] to socialise, play and reconnect".
- Provide materials for schools to teach pupils about "the dangers of disinformation, fake news and how to judge sources of information for themselves".
📺 Watch @NicolaSturgeon outline our vision for a better, greener, more progressive Scotland.— The SNP (@theSNP) April 15, 2021
🏴 Make it #BothVotesSNP for strong leadership through Covid, our plan for recovery and, when the crisis is over, choice of a better future with independence.https://t.co/MTu4h5cZvx
- "Take forward the recommendations" that emerge from the review of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) being carried out by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
- Produce a new "international education strategy" that will "promote alliances with other countries across Europe and the world".
- Continue commitment to the Erasmus programme, but in the meantime "create a Scottish programme of exchange".
- Double the Scottish Child Payment to £20 per week, and provide a £520 grant to every family that receives free school meals until the rollout of the Scottish Child Payment is completed.
- Implement the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child within six months of the new Parliament.
- Introduce a "school leavers' toolkit", similar to that in New Zealand, to equip leavers with "practical skills for life, such as financial literacy, budgeting and information on how to exercise their full civic and democratic rights".
- Increase the school uniform grant to at least £120 in primary schools and £150 in secondary schools, up from the current £100; statutory guidance on school uniform will also be developed, "ending expensive insistence on exclusive suppliers".
- Bring forward a new Scottish Languages Bill, "which takes further steps to support Gaelic, acts on the Scots language and recognises that Scotland is a multilingual society".
- New funding for local authorities to offer British Sign Language tuition to deaf pupils from the age of 5.
- "Renew" every play park in Scotland.