Education statement from Sheila Thomson, Scottish Liberal Democrat candidate for Rutherglen

Sheila Thomson said:

"Following the last year of COVID and years of SNP government, education has become a mess and I am concerned how much worse things are going to get if it has to play second fiddle to a referendum.

As a Liberal Democrat MSP for Rutherglen, I would want to make changes to Scottish education to ensure every person can achieve the best qualifications and skills possible.

I believe that this has to start from the beginning of our children’s education. We need to help more children get off to a good start at school by creating a new Early Years Phase for children aged 2-7 to help them acquire important learning and social skills, based on Scandinavian models, moving to formal education at age 7.

We need to extend the Pupil Premium to give children from less well-off backgrounds the extra support they need to achieve their potential and raise standards in every classroom across the constituency. This needs urgent catch-up funding, especially after the pandemic.

We need to put teachers at the heart of raising attainment. Reward them with a fresh review of pay and conditions to attract and retain the best recruits.

By letting teachers lead changes in the way they teach the basics – numeracy and literacy – without which the door is shut to all learning, especially competence in STEM subjects.

I believe following the way the SNP have run down and centralised colleges we need to restore our local colleges to again be a powerful role in our local economic development, training people of all ages in the skills they need to start (or change) careers. Ensuring new grants to help people retrain if they need to.

Finally, we need to support our universities to offer world-class opportunities and be the home to science."

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