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Angela Constance (Scottish National Party)
The Scottish Government is not short on ambition for all our young people and children, irrespective of their background or start in life. Although we will happily participate in robust political debate—after all, as Mr Russell highlighted, we have a record to be proud of—we will always honestly and pragmatically acknowledge that there is more to do. Our number 1 priority should be to shine a light and showcase and celebrate the success of Scotland's children and our education and learning community.
Before I address some of the issues that members from across the political spectrum have
Mr McNulty, Mr Henry and Ms Alexander spoke at length about the Renfrewshire proposals on using non-teachers to enhance the curriculum. The point that I tried to make earlier to Ms Alexander is that the regulations and the 2001 teacher agreement protect the standard of education in our schools. There is a minimum of 22.5 hours a week of teaching time and teaching can be delivered only by GTCS teachers. That is stated in the regulations. Of course, we should all welcome the opportunity for other people with specialist expertise, whether that is David Miliband, some sporting personality or another appropriately qualified individual, to enhance the curriculum in addition to the core curriculum and the 22.5 hours of teaching.
If there is a genuine issue that members want to discuss pragmatically and sensibly, rather than inflaming concerns and sowing unnecessary doubts in the minds of parents, we in the Government are always happy to hear concerns from members from across the political spectrum about their constituencies.