Cuts must not stop children from learning musical instruments, first minister Nicola Sturgeon has warned. The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland had said that its student population would become less diverse because fewer children are getting the chance to learn an instrument. Speaking at First Minister’s Questions last week, Sturgeon said she shared concerns about local authorities reducing access to instrumental tuition.
Former chief medical officer Sir Harry Burns has said that education reform should not be “pushing nationwide testing”. Sir Harry, now based at the University of Strathclyde, also said that setting and streaming in primaries and secondaries “enshrines disadvantage”. In evidence to the parliamentary inquiry on attainment and poverty, he calls for investment that targets schools in poor neighbourhoods. He adds that “poor educational attainment is an issue for all public services and cannot be solved by schools alone”.
Some Scottish pupils have never seen the sea or been to a farm, Nancy Clunie, head of Glasgow’s Dalmarnock Primary, has told the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Skills Committee. Meanwhile, University of Strathclyde literacy expert Sue Ellis has warned that some children do not know what a picnic is, to underline that schools should be wary of making assumptions about children’s experiences.
The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition has called on the government to review how local authorities support children with complex needs. It spoke out after statistics showed a decline in children with additional support needs – such as autism, dyslexia and ADHD – who receive a co-ordinated support plan (CSP).