Invest in early years to make a difference
Time and again, we hear that, if we want to make a real difference to the life chances of Scotland's children, we need to invest in nursery education.
Various statistics have been quoted recently including 17:1 - for every pound;1 spent in the early years, the state would save pound;17 further down the line. More believable, and more often quoted, is 7:1. Even that ought to be a good signal of where to spend the cash.
In the run-up to the election, we will hear more about each political party's plans for education. If any party is serious about improving achievement and tackling the Neet group, they could do a lot worse than promise significant investment in the early years.
If money is to be spent on reducing class sizes, this should be a focused policy which targets resources where reducing class sizes will make a difference. Why plough untold millions into reducing class sizes among high-achieving, well-motivated students?
Tom Burnett president, Association of Headteachers and Deputes in Scotland