‘In Scotland, we perhaps put too much emphasis on formal, externally assessed exams – and is it really necessary for students to take them every year for the whole three years of the senior phase?’
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’.
‘every time ministers highlight the increase in the threshold in 2016-17, they are doing so on the back of these dramatic losses for two or three thousand young people from low-income homes every year from 2013-14 to 2015-16. I’d not be so proud of that’.
‘What we have here is clear evidence that points to what many people believe anecdotally: there are many parents in Glasgow who believe their children’s education is better served by a school in one of these more affluent suburbs’.
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.”