Scottish Government
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Scotland optimistic for young people

School-leavers prospects to improve with Curriculum for Excellence.

Scotland is leading the way in closing the attainment gap and independence will allow further progress according to Education Secretary Michael Russell.

Speaking at Strathclyde University yesterday, Mr Russell vowed to continue providing free higher education to Scottish students and said that improvements to school education will improve the life chances of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

PISA figures released last year showed Scotland was the only part of the UK which saw a reduction in the attainment gap between disadvantaged and less disadvantaged pupils, and recent UCAS figures also showed that young people from deprived backgrounds in Scotland are now twice as likely to apply to university than ten years ago.

Mr Russell said:

“With independence we can enhance education across all sectors and we will ensure that access to higher education will continue to be based on the ability to learn, not the ability to pay.

“Currently 65 per cent of employers think that Scottish school leavers are well-prepared for work. Curriculum for Excellence will equip young people with the skills needed for the workplace and we want to work with partners to increase this figure to at least 90 per cent by 2020 as we continue to work to close the attainment gap.

“Recent progress is welcome, but we want to go further to ensure that regardless of a child’s background that Scotland is the best place to grow up. That means enhancing the amount of free flexible preschool childcare, closing the attainment gap through Curriculum for Excellence, and keeping further and higher education free. At every level of education we want to support every child to achieve their potential.”

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