John Swinney: What time is BBC Scotland’s Debate Night education special? And who is the Deputy First Minister up against?

The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, John Swinney, is set to appear on a special episode of BBC Scotland’s Debate Night on Wednesday evening.

Stephen Jardine, the programme’s presenter, said the debate will focus on the issue of Scotland’s education system.

What time is Debate Night on?

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Debate Night airs at 10:30pm on the BBC Scotland channel, and is simultaneously broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland.

Viewers will have the chance to voice their opinions by calling into Debate Night Extra on BBC Radio Scotland from 11:30pm.

Social media users can comment on the debate as it unfolds using the hashtag #BBCDN.

Who will John Swinney be facing?

Mr Swinney will be joined by Jeanie Green, the Scottish Conservatives’ spokesperson for education and skills, as well as her Scottish Labour counterpart, Michael Marra.

The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, John Swinney, is set to appear on a special episode of BBC Scotland’s Debate Night on Wednesday evening.

Ross Greer, the Scottish Greens’ spokesperson on education will also be there, alongside the Liberal Democrats Carole Ford - a former secondary school head teacher - and now the party’s spokesperson on children and young people.

Will there be a live audience?

BBC Scotland has confirmed that the event will take place in front of an audience, which it said will include parents, teachers, lecturers and school pupils.

They will get their chance to grill each party’s representatives in turn.

Stephen Jardine, Debate Night's presenter, said the programme will focus on the issue of Scotland’s education system.

What education topics will be discussed?

Even before the pandemic, when Scotland’s students were forced to study from home - often with widely varying access to resources - education was a cause for concern for may parents.

John Swinney is likely to face questions over Scotland’s poor performance in international literacy and numeracy comparisons, as well as the lack of progress made in closing the attainment gap between pupils from wealthier and poorer backgrounds.

Rival parties are also almost certain to focus on last year’s exam debacle, which saw the SQA automatically downgrade the scores of students from poorer backgrounds - before the Scottish Government performed a U-turn on the decision.

There is also confusion over how attainment will be measured at the end of the current academic year, and questions about why the SNP has only now committed to providing every student in Scotland with a tablet and free internet access after a year of lockdown.

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