Education becomes a key battleground in Scottish election campaign

Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon (pictured) has said she wants to put education “front and centre” of her bid for the Scottish National Party to win a third term in office.

Ms Sturgeon – who became well-known in England after the referendum in 2014 – made the comments as the Scottish Conservatives set out plans to transform state schools, bringing them into line with those in the private sector.

In her speech to the Scottish parliament today, the first minister said: “I am determined that, for the SNP, education will be front and centre of our plans for a third term in government. Later this week, I will publish the new national improvement framework for education, which focuses firmly on our objective of closing the attainment gap in education. But the task of giving young people the best start in life must start in the early years.

“That is why our most transformational infrastructure investment in the next Parliament will not be in a bridge or a road. It will be our investment to transform childcare provision, providing parents with 30 hours a week of government funded childcare.”

Meanwhile, Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, used a new policy paper to set out plans for standardised testing in primary.

She said she wanted to see every state school in Scotland on a par with fee-paying institutions.

She also called for headteachers to be given more power, for the best performing schools to buddy the worst performing schools, and for a new more independent inspectorate.

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