Scottish Education: A Failure on Two Fronts

Scottish Education: A Failure on Two Fronts

SLP Contributor Ross Gibson summarises the sad state of affairs in Scottish Education and questions the recent action of government officials.

Scotland used to pride itself on having the best education system in the world. Thanks to the interference of the Scottish Government and its ideologically driven policies, Scotland’s education system has become nothing short of an embarrassment. 

While Scotland used to boast the highest attainment scores in the UK, recent studies have made clear that is simply no longer the case. According to the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) Scotland is behind England in Mathematics and Science. In fact, performance in maths has fallen in each test done by PISA since 2003. Over the same period, attainment in England has risen for mathematics and reading and science has declined less. 

The SNP government chooses not to focus on these figures when discussing its education policy, instead shifting the discussion towards “equality”. It will claim that its education policy is successful because it “closes the attainment gap”, but this is a mirage. It’s true that the gap between the top performing and bottom performing pupils has narrowed in some measures, but how? Are the bottom performing pupils doing better or are the top performing pupils doing worse? According to the most recent PISA report, scores for higher status pupils in England have improved but have gone down for pupils in Scotland, allowing the Scottish government to claim that the attainment gap has narrowed. As is typical of socialist policy, equality is achieved not by elevating standards across the board but by hampering the success of those at the top. 

The SNP government chooses not to focus on these figures when discussing its education policy, instead shifting the discussion towards “equality”.

Not only is Scotland’s education system failing from an academic point of view, it is also becoming increasingly untrustworthy as a system for developing critical thought and promoting the free exchange of ideas. Instead, what pupils should think or feel about particular subjects is prescribed to them via the curriculum. 

In 2018 the Scottish government with the backing of all 5 sitting parties unilaterally decreed that LGBTI focused lessons would be embedded in the curriculum for all schools and for all age groups. Now whatever your view on the relevance or appropriateness of LGBTI education to young children (I’ll save the outrage for the SFP), it does make blindingly obvious what the SNP government’s priorities are when it comes to education. Not in improving educational standards but to pander and virtue signal to the altruistically-minded without doing a thing to increase young people’s chances of success.

Proponents of such inclusive measures, such as Stonewall, claimed that they were simply about inclusion and spreading awareness. In practice however, many teachers take it as a licence to force their own views onto their pupils.  Rather than creating an inclusive atmosphere where a variety of opinions can be discussed, the prescriptive nature of the curriculum fosters a toxic environment in which only politically endorsed views are tolerated. Videos have surfaced online of pupils being bullied and excluded by overzealous, ideologically possessed teachers for challenging the one-sided narrative that they are fed. 

Rather than creating an inclusive atmosphere where a variety of opinions can be discussed, the prescriptive nature of the curriculum fosters a toxic environment in which only politically endorsed views are tolerated.

By the time these pupils leave school they have been so inculcated with woke, politically correct ideology that they are unable to cope with opposing ideas. Is it any wonder that cancel culture is so prevalent in Scottish universities when this is literally how students have been taught to behave? To silence and demonise anyone who challenges the politically correct narrative. Far from fostering an environment of tolerance and inclusivity like the Scottish Government claims, schools are in fact creating a generation of intolerant, ideology possessed cry-babies.

This trend is only getting worse. Recently, the General Teaching Council of Scotland has decreed that all teachers in Scotland must commit to “social justice, diversity and sustainability”. In other words, it’s not enough for teachers to do their job and teach the curriculum. They must be activists for social justice, training the next generation of activists. Instead of doing what they should be doing and teaching children how to think for themselves, they are teaching them what to think, what they can say and how to police what other people say and think.  

Schools are failing children on two fronts. As academic institutions, standards are dropping across the board limiting Scottish children’s chances for success in a competitive market. As an institution given the task of preparing children for the challenges of adult life it is failing even harder! Young people are becoming unable to think critically for themselves or deal with challenging ideas. For the SNP government however, it is a massive success. By integrating their own political ideology into the curriculum itself they are manufacturing their own future voters.  The fact that people can vote before they even leave school in Scotland makes it all the more politically profitable to manipulate the young vote. 

Several studies indicate that home-schooled students out-perform state educated students in standardised tests by margins as large as 38 percent!

For these reasons, it’s worth considering whether sending your child into such a system is a good idea. If you want your child to excel academically and to think freely, then public school is a risk. Instead of trusting your child’s well-being to the state, home-schooling should be seriously considered as an alternative. Home-schooling may be challenging but the benefits are staggering. Several studies indicate that home-schooled students out-perform state educated students in standardised tests by margins as large as 38 percent! By keeping your child out of the school system, you can protect them from ideological programming and give them the space to develop their own opinions. 

Whatever you do, don’t allow your child to be the victim of a failing education system. 

SLP Contributor Ross Gibson

 

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