FMQs: Nicola Sturgeon accused of 'leaving parents in dark' over maths standards

Ruth Davidson has accused Nicola Sturgeon of leaving parents "in the dark" over maths standards in schools.
Ruth Davidson has accused Nicola Sturgeon of leaving parents "in the dark" over maths standards in schools.
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Nicola Sturgeon has been accused of “leaving parents in the dark” over the standard of maths education in Scottish schools.

The First Minister was challenged by Ruth Davidson over a "five year gap" in data measuring the numeracy skills of primary school children, which has left parents with "no idea if standards are going up or down".

The Scottish Conservative leader raised the issue at today's First Minister's Questions, after a report by Holyrood's education committee warned that “no meaningful conclusions on upward or downward trends can be reached, at a time of reform within Scottish education.”

She said parents “deserve to know what’s happening in our schools”.

However, Ms Sturgeon rejected the claims, accusing Ms Davidson of "flip flopping" on her support for primary one tests - which had been in the last Tory manifesto, though the party now no longer supports the assessments. And she said that the government was tracking literacy and numeracy attainment, with both rising, and the attainment gap closing.

But Ruth Davidson said: “The SNP simply doesn’t get this. If you are a mum of a seven-year-old now, you’re not going to know until your child is a teenager whether or not this country is getting any better at teaching maths.

“That’s because the survey which analyses this was cancelled by the SNP government, after it showed standards were dropping and the nationalists got the blame. Now parents have no idea if standards are going up or down.

“Education is going backwards under this SNP government, which has had full control of the issue for 12 years now. The SNP is leaving parents in the dark, and that’s completely inexcusable.”

The First Minister said: "We see improving attainment across our schools, and across the range of subjects in schools attainment is rising and the attainment gap closing. We provide more data than ever before. The Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy wasn't providing the information we needed, that's why we replaced it.

"Under the SSLN a parent had no idea what happened in their child's school because there was no data at school level - that's the difference in the data we publish now. it provides the data at individual school level so parents have much more of an idea than they've ever had before.

"And there are more teachers in schools now than since any time since 2010 - and more primary teachers in our schools since I was in school."