Nicola Sturgeon to seek international advice on improving schools

Scotland’s first minister will convene an ‘advisory group’ of thinkers to help raise standards

Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, announced today that she wants to create an advisory group made up of some of the world’s most influential educational thinkers, in an attempt to drive up attainment in the country.

In her first big speech since being re-elected earlier this month, Ms Sturgeon said that she would establish the International Council of Education Advisers to examine “the best possible evidence from around the world”.

She aims to convene a “major summit on school reform and raising attainment” within the next few months to come up with solutions to pupils failing to reach their potential.

Ms Sturgeon has made education her priority since becoming first minister in November 2014 – she previously said that her record in office should be judged by whether the attainment gap between rich and poor is eliminated.

And today she said that for the next five years her government will have “one central ambition at their heart: to make real and lasting progress towards true equality of opportunity for all”.

‘A wealthier, healthier and happier nation’

She added that this would “boost our economy and enhance the quality of life of all of us. It will help to create not just a fairer nation, but one that is wealthier, healthier and happier.”

Addressing the Scottish Parliament, Ms Sturgeon said that for all young people to reach their potential the government must “empower” teachers, colleges and universities.

Improving education would be the “defining mission” of her government, she said.

But she also acknowledged that “inequality has its roots well outside school and we must do more – much more – to tackle it at source”.

Last week Ms Sturgeon sent out another message about how seriously she is taking education when she appointed deputy first minister John Swinney as the new education secretary.

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