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FMQs: First Minister and Education Secretary at odds over existence of attainment gap target

June 15, 2022 2:14 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Willie Rennie MSP has today exposed how the Scottish Government doesn't know whether it still has a target date for closing the attainment gap, after the First Minister and Education Secretary were publicly at odds over whether a target currently exists.

Shirley-Anne Somerville told the Parliament's Education Committee last month that "I will not set an arbitrary date for when the attainment gap will be closed".

However, the First Minister today told Parliament today the Scottish Government stands by its 2026 target.

Speaking after FMQs, Willie Rennie said:

"This is no way to run an education system. Last month the Education Secretary was absolutely adamant that she would not set a target for closing the attainment gap. Today the First Minister said the old target still stands.

"Nicola Sturgeon used to claim education was her number 1 priority, but now the government doesn't know if their key target even exists anymore.

"The attainment gap is getting bigger, not shrinking as the SNP promised. Tens of thousands of children deserve better. They need extra support after the disruption of the last two years, not a government that is all over the place."