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Curriculum for Excellence

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 6th November 2019.

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Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

I will give way in a second. Let me first put some details on the record.

The gap for those achieving at least one pass or more at level 5—such as national 5s—or better has fallen by around one third, from 33.3 per cent in 2009-2010 to 20.3 per cent in 2017-2018. The gap at higher level—level 6—for those achieving at least one pass has fallen by almost one fifth, from 45.6 per cent in 2009-2010 to 37.4 per cent in 2017-2018.

I was surprised that Liz Smith could not bring herself to describe a 75 per cent pass rate in highers as a strong performance. The gap at higher level—level 6—has reduced every single year for the past eight years. Figures that were published in June showed a record proportion of school leavers going on to positive destinations, and the gap between those from the most-deprived and the least-deprived communities achieving positive destinations reduced from 20.2 per cent to 8.6 per cent between 2019-2010 and 2017-2018.