SNP must 'unpick 16 years of failure' on education, say Labour

Labour's Pam Duncan-Glancy made the claim ahead of a Holyrood debate led by education secretary Jenny Gilruth.

Scottish Government must ‘unpick 16 years of failure’ on education, say Labour iStock

The Scottish Government must take account of its failures in education before rebuilding, Labour has said.

Education secretary Jenny Gilruth will lead a Holyrood debate on the future of education on Wednesday.

However, Scottish Labour has said ministers must take account of decisions made during their 16 years in office, including reducing the number of specialist additional support needs (ASN) teachers and failing to tackle the attainment gap.

Ahead of the debate, Labour’s education spokeswoman, Pam Duncan-Glancy, also warned the Scottish Government to heed the warnings from teachers on greater non-contact working time.

Teachers have warned they need more hours allocated to complete tasks associated with planning and marking, which is often left to their own personal time, according to unions.

Duncan-Glancy said: “I welcome Jenny Gilruth’s efforts to change the debate on Scottish education, but the truth is that she will have to unpick 16 years of SNP failure and broken promises to improve the situation.

“Without a full and frank realisation that the SNP’s failures have led us here – from the attainment gap to slashed teacher numbers and lower numbers of ASN specialists – any new moves will be only sticking plasters over the real issues.

“That’s why it is crucial that the SNP now listens not only to the opposition but to experts, pupils, teachera and their unions, and act on their demands.

“We cannot sit idly by while a whole generation of young Scots are forced to feel the impact of a decade and a half of SNP failure.

“It’s time to act, and it starts with supporting teachers by making good on their promise of increasing non-contact time, ending declining teacher numbers and ending cuts to ASN support.

“More of the same won’t do. People engaged in the national discussion in good faith, what happens next, including a full assessment of how we found ourselves in this situation, must respect that.”

A spokesperson for Gilruth said: “Scottish education continues to perform strongly, with the most recent figures showing the biggest single-year decrease in the poverty-related gap in primary numeracy and literacy levels since records began.

“We are also seeing record proportions going on to positive destinations including work, training or further study.

“The number of school teachers in Scotland has risen significantly in recent years.

“Since 2014, numbers are up by 8% from 49,521 to 53,459 in December 2022, while education spend per person is higher than England and Wales.

“The Cabinet Secretary sincerely hopes that, for the benefit of Scotland’s children and young people, the Labour Party will engage constructively in the outputs from the National Discussion.

“She held positive talks with Pam Duncan-Glancy last week and is certain there is more that unites than divides when it comes to equipping the next generation with the necessary skills and knowledge they will need to succeed in life”.

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code