‘And that is the hidden danger in the system, where mediocrity for all is preferred to investing in individual excellence – in every sphere of human activity, including music. The battle to save CoEMS has laid this bare; now we need to fight to rid ourselves of it altogether’.
‘We need to speak up for ourselves and other children from Scotland’s past. We need to fathom out how to protect subsequent generations. As a society we need to recognise how a good childhood, free of toxic stress, forms the basis of future physical and mental health. And as a country we need to admit that nurturing children has never been one of Scotland’s strengths.’
‘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)….’
‘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’.
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‘Most access initiatives target the people identified as disadvantaged. We remain less comfortable curtailing the effects of privilege.’
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“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.