Jeanne, Jeanne, please ah, have a word with, mah, John about taking over education, mah, for us in return for one of those erm section thingies!

At Holyrood on Friday, Ross Greer asked the Scottish Government whether it would provide details of the consultation that it undertook to establish appropriate measures on the poverty-related attainment gap. John Swinney gave a long answer but it’s less interesting than you deserve. See it at:

https://www.parliament.scot/S5ChamberOffice/WA20200116.pdf

This gives me a reason to remind everyone that there is already evidence of good progress and contrary, of course, to the media rhetoric of imaginary failure in Scotland’s schools:

‘94.4% of pupils had a ’positive destination’ including work, training or further study within three months of leaving school last year, official statistics show. The figures also reveal that the gap between those from the most and least deprived communities achieving a positive destination has halved since 2009/10, with an increase in positive destinations for school leavers, from both backgrounds. Over the same period there have been increases at all levels of attainment – the qualifications young people are achieving. For the first time more than 30% of pupils left school with a minimum of five passes at Higher Level or better, up from 22.2% in 2009/10. The gap between those from the most and least deprived areas achieving a pass at Higher Level or better is now at a record low, reducing for the eighth successive year.’

https://news.gov.scot/news/record-high-for-school-leavers-in-positive-destinations

Meanwhile in Tory England:

Progress to close the achievement gap for poorer pupils in England’s secondary schools is almost at a “standstill”, say researchers. “For the first time in several years, the gap between poorer pupils and their peers at GCSE has stopped closing,” says report author Jo Hutchinson.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-49150993