As Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills and as a former modern studies teacher, I congratulate the ambition, hard work and resilience of the young people in Renfrewshire who achieved a strong set of results in modern studies.
In 2023, pass rates in Renfrewshire for modern studies were above the national average at national 5, and at higher level were the same as the national average. The achievements of those young people should be celebrated.
I am glad to hear the cabinet secretary’s answer; she knows how important modern studies is in teaching good citizenship and respectful debate. Young people and their teachers across Renfrewshire work extremely hard to achieve their results in the subject.
What would the cabinet secretary say to a colleague who was encouraging the denigration of young people’s exam results in order to attack a political opponent? Will she join me in condemning the actions of her colleagues in local Scottish National Party branches, council groups and even the Scottish Parliament who seem to believe that the life chances of pupils at Park Mains high school, which is an excellent school in my region, are fair game in desperate political attacks?
We could all learn to be a little more circumspect and thoughtful in our use of social media. In particular, how and what adults say and do impacts on our children and young people. I understand that the tweets that Paul O’Kane alludes to have since been deleted, and that the member apologised at the time.
I am intrigued by the care that Paul O’Kane appears to attach to one tweet from an SNP back bencher. The Scottish Labour Party has, of course, attached no such care to the 1,620 children in Rutherglen and Hamilton West who have been affected by the two-child benefit cap under the Tories’ heinous rape clause, which is harming children and their outcomes the length and breadth of the country. Instead of coming to the chamber today with a backbone, Paul O’Kane comes to bemoan a tweet on social media.
Schools work hard to deliver diverse academic and vocational journeys for students. For example, Bearsden academy in my constituency achieved a gold ambassador award for its work to promote academic and vocational career pathways equally. What is the Scottish Government doing to support schools in the delivery of those routes?
Marie McNair raises an important point. This year, a record number of vocational and technical qualifications have been achieved. The breadth of pathways is hugely important in relation to the qualifications that are on offer to our young people. She mentions Bearsden academy in her constituency; I would be more than happy to visit the school with her to hear more about the work that is being undertaken there.
The Presiding Officer:
That concludes general question time. Before we move on to First Minister’s question time, I invite members to join me in welcoming to the gallery Abby Taylor, Presiding Officer of the Tobago House of Assembly. [
I also invite members to join me in welcoming His Excellency Dr Róbert Ondrejcsák, Ambassador of Slovakia to the United Kingdom. [