UK

Scottish Lib Dem leader pledges big investment to ‘lift up education’

Alex Cole-Hamilton was speaking at a West Lothian bookshop ahead of the launch of his party’s manifesto next week.

Alex Cole-Hamilton said ‘pupils did not have the support they needed and teachers were feeling disillusioned’
Alex Cole-Hamilton said ‘pupils did not have the support they needed and teachers were feeling disillusioned’ (Michael Boyd/PA)

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has said his party would “lift up Scottish education”, ahead of the launch of the party’s manifesto next week.

Speaking during a visit to the Far From The Madding Crowd bookshop in Linlithgow, Mr Cole-Hamilton pledged to lift Scottish education back up the international rankings by investing in support for pupils and ensuring teachers were on “proper stable contracts”.

He said that the Scottish education system was once “one of the best in the world” but that it was now “average”, and accused the SNP of delivering a “£200 stealth cut” for every child.

Mr Cole-Hamilton said: “Scotland’s education system used to be one of the best in the world but under the SNP it has slipped down the international rankings and it is now just average. Pupils don’t have the support they need and teachers are feeling disillusioned.

“It took six years to persuade the nationalists to adopt the pupil premium introduced by Liberal Democrats in England and Wales.

“Since then they have delivered a £200 stealth cut for every eligible child – money that could have been spent on breakfast clubs, dedicated teachers and specialist support staff. They are pulling up the ladder from the poorest children in Scotland.

“We will lift up Scottish education through our plan for more in-class support, getting teachers off zero-hours and short-term contracts, and a new nursery premium to give children from poorer backgrounds the very best start.

“It’s a big investment in our children’s potential and our country’s future.

“Pupils, parents and teachers all deserve better and Scottish Liberal Democrats have the ideas to deliver it.”

Carol Monaghan, SNP candidate for Glasgow West, said: “Voters in Scotland have not forgotten that it was the Lib Dems who, desperate for a whiff of power, backed the Tories austerity agenda, which has had a devastating effect on funding for our public services, including schools.

“Only a vote for the SNP will protect our education system against further cuts and put the interests of Scotland first.”