Jack McConnell (76) is Scottish Labour’s youth policy for the days when they can’t start Gordon Brown up.
Here he is, the former maths teacher, talking number-free nonsense to badmouth his own country, on its economy and on schools.
He knows nothing clearly.
From the Scottish Government statistics section September 2021:
The proportion of schools reported as being in good or satisfactory condition has increased to 90.2% (89.9% in 2020). This is 29 percentage points higher than in April 2007 (61.1%).
The publication of ‘School Estates Statistics 2021’ by Scotland’s Chief Statistician also showed that the proportion of pupils educated in schools in “poor” or “bad” condition has decreased from 36.6% of all pupils (around 257,000) in 2007 to 8.4% of all pupils (around 59,000) in 2021.
Since 2007-08, 1,000 schools have been built or substantially refurbished (includes those with cost of at least £500,000 for primary and at least £1 million for secondary and special).
Readers may remember Scottish Labour’s performance on schools was problematic when their PFI schemes put local authority inspectors out of the loop leading to walls without cavity ties collapsing: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-38907714
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.
65% 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:
A 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.’
On the economy:
From SNP Media:
The SNP Scottish Government has supported businesses across Scotland with £3.6billion of funding throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Research from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) shows that the Scottish Government has made over £2.7bn available in support such as grants, with £965m being made available to businesses through business rates relief.
The Scottish Government has made a wide range of support available to businesses, with some funding going over and above what the UK government has provided through Barnett Consequentials.
Commenting, SNP MSP and deputy convener of the Economy and Fair Work committee Colin Beattie said:
“Businesses in Scotland have had a torrid time in the past 18 months with lockdowns out with their control creating real uncertainty over their future.
“However, the SNP Scottish Government has stepped up to the plate, listened to the needs of firms across a number of sectors and provided funding and support wherever and whenever they have needed it.
“On some occasions the Scottish Government has provided funding over and above what has been made available by the UK government. For instance, 100% business rates relief for hospitality, retails and leisure businesses will continue on until March 2022 in Scotland, whereas businesses in the rest of UK have had to pay part of their business rates since July.
“Ultimately though Scotland has not been able to implement the same financial measures as other similarly sized European countries as a result of being shackled to Westminster. We face the prospect of furlough being wound down when businesses are still finding their feet.
“Even with one hand tied behind its back the Scottish Government has provided support for businesses, which is why we need a referendum for recovery to access the full powers that independence would bring.”
Research from SPICe is as follows:
Since the start of the pandemic in spring 2020, the Scottish Government have made available over £3.6 billion in business support to help mitigate the economic impacts of the virus. This includes funding that has been made available to businesses affected by the COVID-19 restrictions under the Strategic Framework and various other Local Authority administered Covid-19 business support funds. Full details on spend on the various business support schemes can be accessed on the Scottish Government’s dedicated webpage.
Excluding non-domestic rates relief (the total for which is currently £965m), the total value (as of June 2021) is £2.751 billion.
A useful high-level summary of all the Scottish Government COVID-19 funding streams can be found here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-summary-of-scottish-business-support-funding/