The above graph shows that great equality is the most effective way to close attainment targets. It’s from:
From SNP Media today:
Deputy First Minister John Swinney will today (Tuesday) pledge to tear down barriers to learning as he unveils a package of practical measures designed to reduce the cost of the school day.
The Education Secretary will confirm that an SNP government will end the practice – common in practical subjects such as art and design, music, home economics, hospitality and technology – of pupils being expected to pay fees for materials or provide their own.
Mr Swinney will also say that every pupil should be able to take part fully in school trips, including P7 residential trips and at least one optional secondary school trip. Children should not miss out simply because their parents cannot afford the cost and an SNP Government will therefore exempt less-well off families from the costs of trips and activities.
He will announce that grants towards school uniform costs for poorer families will increase from the £100 minimum to £120 in Primary School and £150 in Secondary School. In future this grant will be linked to inflation and reviewed to ensure it meets the real costs faced by families. The use of exclusive branded retailers – which often leads to higher costs for families – will be banned.
The announcements complete a manifesto package, to be unveiled later this week, aimed at reducing the cost of the school day, including:
– free school breakfast and lunch for all primary school pupils,
– universal provision of an age-appropriate laptop, Chromebook or tablet for all school pupils,
– abolition of core curriculum charges such as materials fees in practical subjects,
– increasing the school uniform grant, and
– exempting poorer families from the cost of school trips.
Making the announcement on a visit to Perthshire, John Swinney is expected to say:
“Our goal is to make Scotland the best place in the world to grow up for every child. That’s why the SNP has invested enormously in Early Years – from the Baby Box to the transformational increase in childcare provision seen in recent years.
“It’s why we’re extending free school meals to ensure that no child is forced to try and learn while hungry.
“And it’s why we are going to give every pupil the device they need – so they can learn in the modern world.
“But we know that some families are sacrificing essentials like heating, food and rent payments so that their children can participate fully at school. This is simply unacceptable.
“If re-elected, charges for practical subjects in school will be abolished, poorer families will be exempt from the cost of school trips and the value of uniform grants will be increased.
“The pandemic has been tough for everyone, but particularly so for the younger generations – and by reducing cost of the school day, we will make a real difference in the lives of children from low-income families.
“In a country as wealthy as Scotland, no pupil should struggle to learn because of poverty – and by giving both votes to the SNP on May 6th, people can elect a government which is absolutely committed to tearing down the barriers to education that still exist, and ensuring all children can get the best start in life.”