Wednesday, May 21, 2008

PASS or FAIL ?

There's no denying the self-congratulatory tone around from the SNP as they mark their first-year in power at Holyrood ...

... but, as principal Opposition Spokesperson on Education in Edinburgh's City Chambers - I feel duty-bound to highlight that none of the main school-based, education commitments from their May 2007 manifesto feature in the current round of propaganda?

Here's a reminder of what was promised (and I'm quoting):
  1. "we will match the current school building programme brick for brick."
  2. "we will reduce class sizes in Primary 1, 2 and 3 to eighteen pupils or less."
  3. "we will increase the provision of free nursery education for 3 and 4 year olds by 50 per cent. That means increasing the entitlement from 400 hours a year to 600 hours a year".

... and a reminder of what is actually happening:

  1. just have a look here, and follow some of the links therein. NOT ONE SINGLE NEW SCHOOL CONTRACT has been initiated by the SNP Government. With only 35 months to go before the May 2011 election, I just can't see how ONE SINGLE new school contract will be initiated, and then that school built and actually opened, within the lifetime of this Government?
  2. just have a look at Page 27 of the Draft Single Outcome Agreement (SOA) between the Scottish Government and City of Edinburgh Council here. Its abundantly clear that Edinburgh currently only has 13% of P1/2/3 classes under 20 children (never mind under 18!) and that £16million of Capital and a recurring £7.45million of revenue is required to deliver this pledge. None of that money is on offer, and I just can't see how its humanly possible for Edinburgh to have all P1/2/3 classes at 18 pupils or less by May 2011?
  3. just have a look at Page 26 of the Draft SOA between the Scottish Government and City of Edinburgh Council here. Its obvious that currently Edinburgh provides 475 annual hours of free Nursery education - well short of the promised 600. Yet there is no further funding on offer to enable that target to be met, and I just can't see how its feasible for Edinburgh to provide 600 annual hours of free Nursery education by May 2011?

So, how would any fair-minded person score the progress to date on these three main school-based, education commitments from the SNP May 2007 manifesto?

  1. PASS / FAIL ?
  2. PASS / FAIL ?
  3. PASS / FAIL ?

I leave that for you to decide ... I know what I think about the whole SOA process and I also know, without a shadow-of-a-doubt, who will get the blame in late 2010/early 2011 when these national commitments aren't delivered - and they won't be.

2 comments:

A Man's Man For All That! said...

The SNP relies too much on the older cynical voter. The SNP needs a 21st century makeover to appeal to the bright young things of Scotland, to have a future!

Andrew said...

... I don't detect a touch of sarcasm in there do I ;-(