The Scottish Liberal Democrat spring conference endorsed proposals to ensure that attainment action is made a “permanent feature” and the attainment fund is used effectively in schools to ensure every child has the “opportunity to succeed and excel” no matter their background.
The triple-tiered plan calls on the Scottish Government, the UK Government and local authorities to “work together and separately” to improve Scottish education.
The comprehensive plan includes calls for:
- Adoption of a formal UK-wide intention to end child poverty between the four UK administrations, with each committing to use their powers and resources to such an end;
- Maintain a commitment to a nursery premium - increased funding - to make sure pre-school children from poorer backgrounds can be better supported;
- New steps to create a government-wide focus on attainment;
- Securely funded youth work service to allow it to reach young people who are not engaged successfully in formal education;
- Promotion of colleges as the route to high-level technical qualifications;
- Scottish universities encouraged to get more young people from poorer backgrounds.
Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Tavish Scott MSP commented:
“There shouldn’t be an attainment gap in 21st century Scotland. Strengthening measures to counter it is the right and smart thing to do. The Liberal Democrats are the party of education and today’s proposals prove it.
“It’s in the national interest for every young person to have a painless path to achieve their full potential. It’s at the heart of what it means to be a liberal, but it’s also a stellar plan for our economy.
“Where it has been implemented elsewhere, the pupil premium has led to concrete progress in closing the attainment gap. The Scottish Government hasn’t seized that opportunity or made the most of the funding to tackle the gap between our richest and poorest children.
“Now is the time to make it clear attainment action is a permanent feature, so teachers can get on with long-term plans and parents can have confidence their kids will have the opportunity to succeed and excel no matter their background.”