Professor Emer Smyth,from the Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin, on the widespread, but little studied, issue of the underperformance of boys at all stages of education from pre-school to first degree. What are the causes and what can be done?
“Scots are only slightly more egalitarian than people in England, while support for redistribution has declined across the UK. People will pay for specific services, notably health, but are not keen on redistribution. They want more powers for Scotland but are less keen on different policies or taxes.”
“The Scottish Government recently declared itself a “global leading light in the campaign for more open and accessible government”. Going backwards in terms of openness and accessibility in relation to special advisers suggests that there’s still a bit of work to do making good that commitment.”
“The government should, of course, be consulting with experts and gathering evidence, but it is difficult to shake off the feeling that this particular group has been constructed with an eye on PR rather than policy, as a means of generating put-downs for FMQs rather than a serious desire to invite scrutiny.” Advisers – or cheer-leaders?
New data from the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) suggests the scale of change needed to meet the Scottish Government’s targets for widening access to university – a key pledge of Nicola Sturgeon’s first full term – may be too much. The 2021 targets Government’s targets come from last year’s report by the Commission on Widening Access, […]
“Commentators (myself included) can be pretty critical of the opposition parties at Holyrood for not being more effective. But if the budget document – one of the single most important things the government puts before the Parliament – contains these sort of inconsistencies, they really are up against it.”
“In terms of the effect of attainment strategies on future university entry, we can say that the SG expects substantial results from schools in 10 years and from its expanded childcare provision (to vulnerable 2 year olds) in 15 years. As described, this does not seem like a holistic or joined-up policy anymore, because it involves a gap, between the effect of one policy on another, so large that it seems unreasonable to link the two together.”