Ambitious, Excellent Schools

Part of Question Time — Scottish Executive — Education and Young People, Tourism, Culture and Sport – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:15 pm on 23rd February 2006.

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Photo of Peter Peacock Peter Peacock Labour 2:15 pm, 23rd February 2006

Maureen Macmillan happens to be a former, and very distinguished, teacher at Millburn academy, and she made a big contribution to that school's success over the years. She understands intimately the nature of the changing size of the school population and the changing interests of pupils, as well as the pressure that that puts on very small course numbers at the top end of the school.

Maureen Macmillan makes at least two other good points. In the letter from which I have just quoted, the council's director of education, culture and sport discusses the opportunities for schools in the Inverness area in particular to work collaboratively to provide more, not fewer, opportunities for young people. He also mentions the SCHOLAR programme and the interactive learning being provided at a distance. For many schools in the Highlands and Islands, the Borders and other areas, that provides the only way to provide some courses at the level concerned.

There is a range of ways in which schools can hope to accommodate their pupils' needs—it is about trying to widen opportunities and to accommodate pupils' needs and desires. That is why we are investing a huge amount of additional resources in extra teachers throughout the school system.