The Programme for Government is full of detailed initiatives to support and encourage everything from manufacturing in the West Highlands to tourism in Ayrshire. Mostly it is a description of what is already being done, but where’s the evidence for what works, asks a former government adviser.
“The Scottish system is not debt-free in the absence of fees: indeed Scottish students are borrowing a substantial amount as a group each year. The Scottish approach relies heavily on loans to cover the state’s role in providing low-income students, in particular, with living cost support. Grants are now so low that those from the lowest incomes are taking on the most of that living cost debt.”
“there is no realistic chance that the Scottish Government is going to reduce its reliance on student loans to underwrite the higher education system. £500m is roughly the annual cost of the whole FE system, or 1p on the basic rate of income tax” Scotland’s leading expert on another model – and more – of funding HE.
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?
This would have beenl the first of a Sceptical Scot series exploring what kind of Scotland we are and want to become…What kind of Scotland we become tomorrow requires a clear and honest look in the mirror today. Come and help us shine a light by taking part in an open, generous and non-partisan conversation.
“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.”
“There are teachers in the playground but bullying usually gets taken to the classroom teacher and they don’t always deal with it. Teachers think their job is to educate children but they should realise it is also to support children and to help them when they are finding things difficult.”
“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, […]
“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.”