A fortnight ago, I warned the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills that schools in the north-east are at breaking point. New Scottish Government statistics show that in the most deprived areas of Aberdeenshire four out of every five secondary 3 pupils are not reaching required levels of literacy. They are 14 years old and they cannot read or write to the expected level.
There was a huge amount of misrepresentation in how that question was asked. The figures from last week show improvement in many areas of literacy and numeracy, and one source of evidence shows the beginning of narrowing of the attainment gap. That is because of the efforts and progress that have been made in initiatives that I spoke about in response to Richard Leonard’s questions. We will continue to do the job in order to make progress and to support all those who work in our education system.
To be fair to Liam Kerr, he did not call for more money for education, although I am sure that he would, because it is what his colleagues do in the chamber all the time. Let us remember that the Tory party prioritises tax cuts for the richest people in society over investment in our public services. While that continues to be the case, not many people—if any—will take the Tories at all seriously.