Substandard Schools

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 18 September 2019.

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Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

I am, of course, interested in the facts. I am also interested in improving the physical condition of Scotland’s schools and the quality of education. That is what I focus on every day of the week.

Mr Tomkins gives me the opportunity to place on the record further detail in relation to the school estate survey, which it is important for me to do. Mr Tomkins’s reference to the statistical bulletin relates to the effects on individual schools that might have changed their classification as a consequence of the change to the guidance that was applied in 2017. I am advised by statisticians that that affects a small number of schools. The statistical publication, which is a publication not from me but from the chief statistician—I do not control the data; it is controlled by the chief statistician—presents and demonstrates year-on-year comparisons since 2007.

Of course, since 2007, the percentage of pupils who are educated in poor or bad conditions has declined from 36.6 per cent to 10.3 per cent. I accept that one in 10 pupils being educated in poor or bad conditions is unacceptable, but that is a colossal improvement in the situation. That improvement in the school estate around the country as a consequence of the investment by the Government and our local authority partners is visible to the naked eye.