In an interview with The TES Scotland last year on taking up his post, Peter Peacock outlined the progress he felt had been made by looking back at the way things were when he had been junior education minister under Sam Galbraith:
* Relations between the unions and education authorities had collapsed with the former Scottish Office taking "the strange view" that it had no part to play in the partnership.
* Continuing professional development was "very clearly" a weak part of the system.
* Probationers were poorly treated.
* There was talk of the need to stimulate a national debate.
* No strategy existed for school building modernisation although the "colossal backlog" of repairs was recognised.
* The role of the Parliament in education was unclear.
* There were no explicit national priorities for education.
* Parents of special needs pupils had to fight to get their children into mainstream classes.
* Three and four-year-olds had no guarantee of a right to education.
"How different things look now," Mr Peacock said.