FMQs: Sturgeon accused of putting constitution above schools

Nicola Sturgeon pledged to press ahead with school reforms
Nicola Sturgeon pledged to press ahead with school reforms
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Nicola Sturgeon has come under fire for focussing on the constitution while the country's education system flounders at First Ministers Questions today.

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The SNP leader insisted there has been a "good performance" in the schools system despite figures this week revealing a drop in literacy standards. MSPs also heard from trainee teachers on Wednesday who said they do not receive sufficient training in basic numeracy to teach this to pupils.

Tory leader Ruth Davidson raised questions over the Curriculum for Excellence in Scotland's classroom after this was attacked by educationalists.

"It's not much help if we have children in our country who can't add up, that can't write and can't read," she said.

"Last week the First Minister accused me of being obsessed about the constitution - well here is her record in this place. Since last year this Government has spent more time debating the constitution than debating education, health, transport and justice combined.

"We have had enough - after ten years, after ten years don't the people of Scotland deserve a Government that will focus on their priorities."

The First Minister said the government had increased the intake into teacher education and pointed out the content of teacher education was a matter for universities, with four Scottish universities ranked in the top seven across the UK for teacher education.

The government "recognised that we need to do more" and had committed to a review of Scotland's initial teacher education courses with a report due to be published in the next few weeks.

She said: "We've got good performance across education in Scotland but there are areas where we have recognised that we need to do better and this government is getting on with the job of taking the action that will deliver these improvements."

Ms Sturgeon added: "When Ruth Davidson talks about the time spent in this chamber debating the constitution, what she's trying to distract attention from is that that has been time debating the implications of Brexit, the Brexit disaster that the Tory party is leading this country into."