Nothing in education is simple. Professor Emer Smyth throws light on the complex interplay between gender and class at school and urges special investment in support for working class boys.
‘It remains to be seen whether or not the UK government will invest in the future of the Highlands to the level the EU has done. If it doesn’t, it seems likely that many will leave in search of opportunities elsewhere – a scenario with a long and regrettable history in the Highlands.’
‘I think MSPs should make a fuss if the budget materials provided to them are not factually correct, as a matter of principle, regardless of the policy or scale. But on this one they didn’t last year, as far as I know, so the government may be banking on a further free pass’.
‘Under the Scottish Government’s proposed income tax policy, everyone earning under £33k will pay less tax in 2018/19 than they did this year (2017/18). BUT part of this is due to the increase in Personal Allowance, which would have happened anyway, i.e. irrespective of any announcement made by Mr Mackay today.’
‘I worry also about nest-egg building by those from high incomes, as a new form of hidden advantage, because of the low interest rate on student loans here. We could apply higher interest to loans to those from better-off households (but we won’t)….’
‘A real-world illustration would be that of Northern Ireland or Scotland seeking to secede from the UK following Brexit. When the UK exits the EU, it will drag the two regions (which both voted to remain) out of the EU. That will greatly affect the Scottish and north Irish economies and their international relations…’
‘Having failed to resolve these differences prior to the Act, as well as a myriad of other problems, the realities of integration are now coming to the fore, while the baton has passed to the SPA. Charged with providing assurance and oversight, the Authority has some exceptionally hard decisions ahead on what is a fiendishly complex project, against a backdrop of rising demand on police services and increasing cost pressure.’
“It is cartoon politics to portray Westminster as the baddie in respect of funding and powers for councils when there is a steadfast refusal by Holyrood to use its powers to prevent cuts to councils..” Gordon Munro on the funding crisis facing Scottish councils.
‘ I would advise any Scottish government to aim broadly to balance the budget. At present, without support from Westminster, Scotland would be running a large deficit. If the proponents of independence want to increase their economic credibility, now is the time to start setting out how that deficit could be closed’.
Wonk of the year Lucy: ‘The signs are that the wrong people are being made to pay for current higher education policy in Scotland, in skewed debt or lost support, restricted opportunities and squeezed funding overall. As far as I can recall, no-one in Scottish university senior management has ever argued with me about this in public, nor got in touch to tell me privately that they disagree’.