EDUCATION: Nicola Sturgeon denies breaking promise to close attainment gap

December 15, 2022

By Lucy Ashton

Nicola Sturgeon today denied that she had broken her promise to close the attainment gap despite official statistics showing that no progress has been made.

At First Minister’s Questions, Douglas Ross raised Scottish Government figures showing the attainment gap between richer and poorer pupils has not narrowed in primary school for literacy, numeracy, writing or reading.

This year’s figures show at least one in five pupils are still not meeting the expected level for each of the essential, core subjects.

Meanwhile, for S3 pupils, the attainment gap in literacy is significantly wider now than it was in 2016/17.

The Scottish Conservative leader said Nicola Sturgeon had “failed the big test she set herself as First Minister”.

He urged the SNP leader to “ditch the de facto referendum and make the next election all about her record on Scotland’s schools”.

Douglas Ross said: “Nicola Sturgeon wanted us to judge her on education. She said her own neck was on the line. It was to be her ‘number one priority’.

“But the First Minister has failed the big test she set herself.

“The attainment gap isn’t closing. Since Nicola Sturgeon made that pledge, there has been no progress.

“The gap between richer and poorer pupils is wider than it was before for reading, for writing, for literacy and for numeracy.

“Nicola Sturgeon uses her Covid shield and blames the pandemic for her failures. But that excuse is pathetic. It doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

“The SNP leader has failed to keep her promise to young people across Scotland.”

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