Scott: Class sizes symbolic of SNP education failure

Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Tavish Scott MSP today said there is an urgent need to give teachers a boost after new statistics showed that class sizes remain at their highest rate since the SNP took office.

The annual school census reveals that the average class size this year remains at 23.5.

The SNP Government committed in 2007 to limiting class sizes in the first three years of primary to 18, but this is now being achieved for just 12.1% of children – again, the poorest performance under the SNP. As a result, 10,000 fewer children are taught in smaller classes compared to 2012.

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Scott: Teacher recruitment crisis “alive and well”

Shetland MSP and Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Tavish Scott has today lambasted the Education Secretary, John Swinney, for “skewing the facts” on student teacher intake, after new statistics showed serious failures by the Scottish Government to meet key targets on secondary school and alternative route education entry.

Despite meeting the primary school teacher training target, the statistics published today by the Scottish Government reveal that:

  • The total target for secondary school teachers was missed by 208 places.
  • The total target for school teachers was missed by 137 places.
  • The target for teachers who entered education through “alternative routes” was missed by 91 places.

Alternative routes into teaching include: helping former teachers return to the profession, encouraging integrated routes combining post-graduate education with the probation year and joint degrees in teaching and specialist subjects such as chemistry. A full list can be found here.

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North Isles MSPs highlight fuel discrepancy

Shetland MSP Tavish Scott and Orkney MSP Liam McArthur have lodged a motion in Parliament highlighting the significant discrepancy between isles fuel prices and mainland Scotland. Islanders have long criticised the disproportionate price increase they face when filling up.

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Health boards must guarantee isles-based eye treatment for patients

Shetland MSP Tavish Scott has expressed his frustration at the continued delay in bringing an eye clinic to the isles. Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is currently treated in Aberdeen with some vulnerable and elderly Shetland patients enduring monthly trips to have sight-saving treatment. 

Tavish has frequently raised the issue over recent years. NHS Shetland and NHS Grampian have given repeated assurances on a solution. Tavish is now calling on NHS Shetland and NHS Grampian to guarantee trained nurses are available in Shetland in 2019 to administer these vital eye injections. 

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Devolution of Seabed Powers on the way

The Scottish Parliament passed the Scottish Crown Estate Bill yesterday, paving the way for the devolution of seabed powers to the islands. Shetland MSP Tavish Scott has championed this cause over many years and, as a member of the Smith Commission, achieved cross-party support for giving seabed powers to the islands.

Shetland Islands Council and Crown Estate Scotland are currently working on a marine plan for seabed management in Sullom Voe.

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Brexit Negotiations for Shetland Fishing Getting Worse

An extension to the period where fishing is controlled from Brussels without any representation is the worst possible news for the Shetland industry says Shetland MSP Tavish Scott. 

Speaking in Brussels, where he is part of a cross-party delegation of MSPs, Tavish said: 

"Senior UK Government and European figures want an extension to the so-called transition period until 2022. That means a longer period where local fishing is controlled by the Common Fisheries Policy. From next year this policy will be imposed on our industry, our boats and coastal communities without any representation from UK and Scottish Ministers. This is truly the worst of all worlds.

"It is the opposite of what we have been told by the UK Government. They said we will be out of the CFP in 2019. Now it may be another 3 years before fisheries policy is a local responsibility."

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Scott Celebrates #iwillWeek 2018

Shetland MSP Tavish Scott is highlighting the invaluable contribution of young people to their communities as part of #iwillWeek 2018. From 12-16 November, partners and organisations are enabling young people to share their stories about the social action they are involved in and the impact they are having in their community. The campaign is run by Youthlink Scotland – the national agency for youth work.

As part of the campaign, #iwillWeek young ambassadors posed question to politicians. Tavish answered Joel Meekison, aged 19 who asked whether they think young people can change the world. Tavish highlighted the incredible influence of Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai who was shot by the Taliban as a young girl in Afghanistan and who has continued to campaign for the rights of all children to education.

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Scott: Parliamentary backing for People's Vote is an historic moment for a growing movement

The Scottish Parliament yesterday voted in favour of Scottish Liberal Democrat Europe spokesperson Tavish Scott MSP’s amendment which, for the first time, commits it to “providing unequivocal support for a public vote on the final terms of the Brexit deal”.

The parliament voted 65, 30 in favour of the Scot Lib Dem amendment. 20 members abstained. 

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Scott: Burden on headteachers "soaring"

Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Tavish Scott has today warned that the burden on headteachers is "soaring" as new figures showed that the number of schools with shared headships has risen by two thirds since 2010.

The Headteacher Recruitment Working Group Report concluded:

  • Head teacher recruitment is a "serious concern"
  • 412 (FTE) teachers hold the standard for headship but are not in headteacher roles
  • There are 151 more primary schools with shared headteachers from 2010 to 2017.
  • Headteachers now work an average of 55.3 hours per week.
  • Headteachers are not being paid enough for the work they are doing, especially those who serve as headteacher for more than one school.
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Scott: Grants and bursaries slashed under SNP

Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Tavish Scott today said the SNP have "slashed" grants and bursaries after new higher education figures revealed they are nowhere near the levels of 10 years ago.

The total amount paid in bursaries and grants is 27% lower than it was a decade ago, with the average amount paid per student falling 22%.

Meanwhile, student loans have ballooned. The total value of loans has risen 183% and the average loan authorised per student has risen by 119%.

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