As Scottish Education improves year on year I know what’s getting ditched

In the Herald today:

Caroline and Mary are due to take exams next year. Caroline’s home is in a deprived area of Glasgow while Mary’s is not. Should Caroline bother working hard at school, or has Scotland become as much of a postcode lottery on education as health? Discuss. If Caroline were going by the 2020 results from the Scottish Qualifications Authority released this week, she might be forgiven for pulling the duvet over her head when schools return next week. For the country’s exam regulator, and by extension the Scottish Government, have made a right porcus auris of matters (that’s pig’s ear to those in the cheap seats).

So, right-off, Caroline and Mary hear that pass rates are up across the three exams and that will put them off? Why? Non sequitur to stay with Rowat’s impressive grasp of the the Latin. Boris loves that kind of thing too.

Anyhow, I don’t think anyone’s wearing those glasses anymore are they?I think we’re going for evidence more these days even if Rowat isn’t.

Readers will have seen much of this before but I’m afraid I’m going to have to repeat it for Rowat.

First, from Glasgow’s Director of Education, Maureen McKenna, who might know a bit about this:

This is a response to all that guff about things in Scottish education being terrible. There are a lot of people painting a very negative picture. We are not saying everything is rosy but what we are saying is that there are a range of statistics out there that point to another side, that create a different narrative.

 The reduction in exclusions nationally between 2006-07 and 2018-19.

22.3% The proportion of pupils achieving five or more awards at Higher or equivalent by the end of S5. This has almost doubled since 2009-10, when the figure was 11.3 per cent

44.4% Proportion of school leavers in the most deprived areas of Scotland achieving at least one Higher or equivalent in 2017-18. In 2012-13 that figure stood at 34.9 per cent

62.2% Proportion of school leavers gaining at least one Higher or equivalent in 2017-18, compared to 55.8 per cent in 2012-13.

Second, some comparative figures with our so-successful neighbour:

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.

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.’

Getting back to the glasses, read these and order a light pink tint?

Attainment for Scotland’s school leavers far greater than in England

Attainment gap widens in England as it HALVES in Scotland, but Sarah Smith lies again

BBC Scotland and Herald mislead you as exam pass rates rise again

Why Scotland’s supposed decline in School Science performance according to Pisa is really a good sign

Standing up for Scottish education as our media parrot Tory myths

Scots more likely to enter Higher Education than those in non-Scottish parts

Growing calls to allow ‘SNP’ education policy to be implemented and for pupils to be allowed to learn

Scottish school-leavers record highest rate of positive destinations ever

12 thoughts on “As Scottish Education improves year on year I know what’s getting ditched”

  1. Health
    Police Scotland
    Under funded Local Authorities

    These are the MSMs go to attacks on the SG (or SNP SG as they like to report) they tend to run on a loop.

    This will only increase as Tory/BritNat attack line for Holyrood 2021 appears to be “SNP SG domestic record rubbish due to obsession with Independence.”

    Remember the only arguments for the UK Union they have are lies.

    New Tory Accounting Unit Leader in Scotland, Douglas Ross supported by Gove and Cummings Propaganda machine and with Colonel Yadaftie “sticking the boot in” at FMQs on the front of Papers and the TV News.

    This will be the pattern going forward.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Brevity. Ta. This why?

        “For the Scottish Government’s analysis of PISA results, see

        [1] In Scotland the study was carried out in 107 randomly selected public funded and independent schools, with about 40 students being randomly selected from each school. Then schools exclude certain students from the sample, if they have additional support needs or language issues. This means that comparison of PISA results with the Government educational performance statistics should be done only with extreme caution, since the latter is produced for ALL students in PUBLICALLY funded schools in Scotland.”


  2. More criticism of the criticism.

    “This debate has been of great interest to us, given the focus of our recent publications (Shapira & Priestley, 2018, 2019). We acknowledge the role of independent research in offering a systematic critique of policy and practice in education, and we recognise Scott’s important role in drawing attention to the issue of curriculum narrowing. We also note that we too have been critical of many aspects of CfE – articulation of policy, implementation and particularly the trend towards curriculum narrowing in the senior phase. Nevertheless, we also are cognisant of the dangers of using research to support political agendas, as appears to be the case in the current furore about qualifications. For that reason, it is important to have rigorous independent research to support both policy formation and critique of that policy. One of the arguments that we have been making in our recent work is that there is simply not enough evidence on the impacts of the Curriculum for Excellence.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Will someone please inform the writer and Latin Scholar that what they scribble is complete and utter
    Coital Bovine Scatology


  4. Bringing the comments back to the piece penned “Caroline and Mary are due to take exams next year.” My bet is that if Caroline and Mary are indeed from Glasgow then the return to traditional exams (with all their issues) is a distinct possibility given Scotland’s community transmission rate. However, if they are from, say South London, there is every likelihood they will be disrupted again.


  5. I was reminded of someone I know who was teaching at a school I think Kilmarnock, many many years ago, who told me a couple of things about how the kids found it hard to turn up or do homework and whe asked why, they said that they didn’t see the point because there was nothing for them when they finished school at 16. That was all under the British Nationalist governments watch. ‘No point in attending school’.

    It would still be like that if the London English Government had their way.


  6. Maureen McKenna was an HMI before she went to Glasgow as director of education. Tough as old boots, I would say. But fair, but then I never got on the wrong side of her…As director, she’s done a great  job.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.