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On Politics Live yesterday, in the context of the Mackay debacle, Sarah Smith slipped in a wee fib about school standards slipping in Scotland. It’s a favourite Tory myth of course but in the Guardian yesterday, suggested by our Education Correspondent for February 2020, bigjon999, we read about English schools:

breakdown of GCSE results issued by the Department for Education (DfE) showed the gap between disadvantaged pupils and others increased for the second year in a row. The introduction of tougher exams appears to have halted the improvement seen in previous years. Just 456 of the 143,000 pupils classed as disadvantaged by the DfE achieved top grade 9s in English and maths last summer, compared with 6,132 out of 398,000 other pupils.

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2020/feb/06/attainment-gap-widens-disadvantaged-pupils-gcse-results-england

Meanwhile, in Scottish schools, but never to be mentioned by Sarah Smith, the gap is closing. See:

‘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