'Our once envied education system is now in tatters thanks to SNP'

·3-min read
'Our once envied education system is now in tatters thanks to SNP'
'Our once envied education system is now in tatters thanks to SNP'

AMIDST the congratulations and handshakes at the count earlier this month at the Emirates Arena, my mind remained on two things.

Firstly, I felt sadness and regret at the losses suffered by the Glasgow Conservatives.

Excellent and experienced councillors and candidates who were committed to serving their communities, residents and businesses were ultimately unsuccessful.

They were victims of an election which did not entirely focus on local issues but were waylaid by events elsewhere.

I was sad as it left our wonderful city at the mercy of an already stale and ineffectual SNP administration and the Glasgow Conservatives reduced to two in number.

Shettleston’s very own Thomas (now Baillie) Kerr and the new “boy”, my good self.

The second was the realisation that after decades of working for the city council, I was now an elected member of it and had a real opportunity to influence the decisions that previously I had been a recipient of.

It was, undoubtedly, the chief factor in motivating me to stand at all after retiring early; a chance to bring an informed and experienced voice to the City Chambers from someone usually on the receiving end of those decisions.

Having been a pupil, teacher and manager in Glasgow schools for a lifetime, I feel extremely qualified to speak with a good deal of authority on the highs and lows of the city’s education provision.

There is no doubt that the once envied Scottish education system no longer sits in the top tier.

Such is the hit to the system that the SNP government has saw fit to withdraw Scotland from international comparison tables in a bid to hide their shame.

The bigger shame, however, is the fact that it is the poorest of our pupils who have suffered the biggest impact to attainment.

A succession of Labour and SNP administrations have presided over this decline in standards; implementing whatever the latest fad in education is at the time at the expense of tried and tested methods.

Let us be clear, this is not the fault of the hard-working teachers, who are usually the last to be consulted about changes and “improvements” to education, their years of experience being treated as secondary to the latest fashionable and trendy methodology. Yes, I’m looking at you Curriculum for Excellence (CFE).

For the best part of 20 years a generation or two of pupils have been treated like guinea pigs as CFE has been introduced, reintroduced, revised and reimagined, depending on who occupies the education minister’s office.

Simple and basic tools of education, such as formal assessments have been trashed (resulting in parents, pupils and even teachers having no ability to track progress or attainment) only for them to be reintroduced when the teachers were finally listened to.

Too late for so many of our pupils who rely on education as their key to a better life.

If I do nothing else as a newly elected councillor other than bringing a seasoned voice to the decision-making process of our local government system, then the congratulations and handshakes of the election day count will have been merited.

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