JIM Murphy has said children from deprived backgrounds have “less chance of getting on in life” through access to university education, as he pledged to bring in a law to end “educational inequality” if Labour wins the 2016 Holyrood election.
Mr Murphy said Scotland has the lowest percentage of university entrants from the poorest backgrounds and the lowest proportion of entrants from state schools.
The Scottish Labour leader criticised the attainment gap that exists between rich and poor that sees some children “left behind year after year”, as his shadow cabinet met in Edinburgh yesterday.
He also said a future Labour administration would attempt to change the law to require both ministers and councils to publish annual updates on their efforts to close the attainment gap.
The party hopes to amend the Scottish Government’s forthcoming education bill to achieve this, as well as using the legislation to ensure all local authorities appoint a chief education officer, who would lead the work against educational inequality in their area.
Mr Murphy said: “Research from independent experts shows that children from poorer working-class backgrounds have less chance of getting on in life through access to university education. That isn’t right.
“Scottish Labour MSPs will use the SNP government’s education bill to place a statutory obligation on ministers to reduce this gap, and on the education secretary to report to parliament every year on progress.”
He added: “The key to a better future for everyone is better opportunity for working-class families in Scotland.”
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