A lifetime of opportunity

18th September 1998 at 01:00
* Nursery - repetition of July's announcement investing Pounds 500 million over the next three years on nursery education and associated child care to create a pre-school place for every three and four-year-old by 2002.

* Primary - the key ingredients over the next three years will be Pounds 42m to support early intervention, class size reductions to 30 or less in P1-P3 and recruitment of up to 5,000 extra classroom assistants. The objective is to ensure that 80 per cent of pupils achieve "the appropriate standard for their age" in reading, writing and arithmetic by the time they leave school in 2003.

* Early secondary -an "achievement file" will be established for every pupil at the end of S2 to record their 5 to 14 progress by 2003, as proposed by HMI in its report on "Achieving Success in S1 and S2". A national system will be introduced from 2001 to benchmark attainment in science every two years instead of every three years. Training for primary teachers in maths and science is to be strengthened, specialist science teaching may be introduced into P6P7, and recruitment schemes are being considered to attract maths and physics graduates into teaching.

* School-leaving standards for 2003 - confirmation of previously- announced targets that 13,000 pupils a year (around 10 per cent) achieve better Standard grade and Higher results, and a halving of the numbers who leave school with no English or maths passes.

This effort will be backed up by personal learning plans for every pupil, Pounds 36m to be spent on teacher training, and Pounds 15 million earmarked for under-performing schools - all over the next five years.

l Computer literacy -repeat of August 28 announcement that the Pounds 62m National Grid for Learning will provide every child with an e:mail address by 2002 and their competence in IT will be assessed; by 2003 the ratio of modern computers per pupil will be lowered to 1:5 in secondary schools.

* Study support and out of school learning -after-school learning clubs and published homework policies will be expected of all schools by 2003, backed by Pounds 23m in lottery money matched by new funds from the Scottish Office.

* Young people - a legal right to time off for study by 2003 aims to halve the number of 16 to17-year-olds who do not move on to education, training or a job.

* Skilling the workforce - using new deal money to increase the number of under-21s who achieve vocational qualifications at level 2 from 75 per cent to 90 per cent and at level 3 from 53 per cent to 75 per cent by 2003.

* Universities and colleges - an additional 42,000 FE and HE places will be funded to provide opportunities for 750,000 students by 2003, part of an earlier UK pledge by the Prime Minister to increase student places by 500, 000 over the lifetime of this Parliament.

* Lifelong learning - the numbers taking part in education or training will be increased to one in four by 2003 through investing Pounds 22 million in setting up the first 100,000 "individual learning accounts" and confirming June's announcement of Pounds 16m for the Scottish University for Industry (SUFI).

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