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DESPITE Martin Redfern’s gloomy portrayal (Letter, 5 September), Scotland has made real progress in education.

More than 500 schools have been rebuilt or refurbished since 2007. In 2006, more than 15,000 primary one children were in classes of more than 25. Now, the figure is below 500.

In 2007, just 45 per cent of students stayed on at school until sixth year, today the proportion is 62 per cent, not least because the SNP retained the educational maintenance allowance, which benefits 35,000 school and college students every year.

Among last year’s school ­leavers, more than nine out of ten were in employment, education or training nine months later.

In the last national performance report, 90 per cent of schools were graded satisfactory or better including 69 per cent of schools that were graded as good, very good or excellent. 

Progress is being made in respect of the attainment gap. ­
In 2008, just over two in ten ­students from the most deprived areas of Scotland obtained at least one Higher or equivalent. Last year, the figure was almost four in ten.

This is real progress by the SNP government against a background of declining budgets ­imposed by the Westminster government.

Of course, more can be done with regard to the attainment gap as, by the time children enter school, the gap in vocabulary between the poorest and wealthiest families can already be as much as 18 months.

However, the new tax powers Holyrood will assume are completely inadequate to tackle the causes of inequality or grow the Scottish economy.

Fraser Grant

Warrender Park Road

Edinburgh 

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