Hard to read the Scottish Budget

“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.”

SG holistic education policy: success or failure?

“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.”

Nobel physicists could revolutionalise computing

It might take between ten and 30 years before scientists become sufficiently good at manipulating electrons to make quantum computing possible…They could simulate the formation of molecules, for example, which is numerically too complicated for today’s computers. This could revolutionise drug research by enabling us to predict what will happen during chemical processes in the body. Nobel physicists point the way.

Swinney’s magical mystery tour in education

‘As Paasi Sahlberg, the apostle of the Finnish education miracle, recently put it, Scotland’s system is “knocking on heaven’s door” – not quite paradise but within sight.’ Analysis of the tasks ahead for John Swinney….and the need for a balanced approach to testing.

Schools: ending poverty and poor performance

Deprivation and poor school performance go together – and have done for generations. If the First Minister truly wanted to start to end this perennial blight on Scotland she would have put John Swinney in charge of equality, not his feckless predecessor Angela Constance.

Curriculum for Excellence – or dumbing down?

Cameron Wyllie reported here (see above) of a surge in parents seeking private education for their offspring at S3 level because of their concerns over the flagship Curriculum for Excellence. Already independent schools dominate modern language teaching. What next: sciences too?

Gold standard for Scottish education?

Nicola Sturgeon, we know, has chosen her experienced deputy John Swinney to spearhead improvements to the Scottish education system over the next five years. But, argues an independent school head, writing in a personal capacity, there’s more to fix than the (narrowing) attainment gap.