“Scotland’s People Annual Report 2018”

– in the Scottish Parliament on 18th September 2019.

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Photo of Alexander Stewart Alexander Stewart Conservative

5. To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to the satisfaction level of local schools in the “Scotland’s People Annual Report 2018”. (S5O-03537)

Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

Satisfaction levels among those who use our local schools was recorded at 86 per cent in “Scotland’s People Annual Report 2018”. That is testament to the excellent work undertaken by all staff in our schools along with the active participation of pupils and parents. I take the opportunity to commend them on their efforts.

Photo of Alexander Stewart Alexander Stewart Conservative

The report shows that, after 12 years of Scottish National Party government, satisfactions levels with services are at their lowest since 2007. Back in 2011, 85 per cent of people were happy with schools; now, the figure sits at 71 per cent. Does the cabinet secretary disagree with those individuals, or will he listen, take action and sort out the school issues?

Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

It is important that we look at what the survey tells us about those who are using our local schools. The rate of satisfaction, among parents and carers of school-aged children, in the quality of school education and local schools is at 86 per cent.

Obviously, we must continue to strive for continuous improvement in our education system. There is a relentless focus in the Government’s education policy on improving our education system and our schools. We should listen carefully to the opinion of service users, because they have lived experience of using our schools. They have demonstrated significant levels of support for, and satisfaction with, the quality of local schools.

Photo of Iain Gray Iain Gray Labour

Parents, carers and others are concerned about the narrowing of the curriculum in the senior phase of secondary school. On that basis, the agreement to undertake a review of the senior phase, which the cabinet secretary announced earlier this week, is welcome. Will he take this opportunity to tell us more about who will undertake the review and its timescale?

Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

As Mr Gray recounts, I agreed to the Education and Skills Committee’s recommendation that we undertake a review of the senior phase. We will do so, and the review will be independent of Government.

I have not yet come to any conclusions about the names of individuals who will be involved in the review. I am mindful of the fact that the review of broad general education involved input from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. For consistency’s sake, it might be advantageous to rely on some of its input. I will consider those issues swiftly, and I will update Parliament on the details of appointments and the timescale within which I expect the review to be undertaken.

The Presiding Officer:

Questions 6 and 8 have been grouped together.