Smith puts campaign focus on education

Conservative election candidate Cameron Smith says the SIC is being forced to do the “dirty work” of the Scottish government in implementing cuts to the education service.

Speaking after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon vowed to put education at the heart of the SNP’s election campaign, Mr Smith criticised the Holyrood administration for its record.

Conservative election candidate Cameron Smith.
Conservative election candidate Cameron Smith.

He said: “The rural nature of Shetland presents particular challenges to overcome when providing the highest level of education for our young folk.

“The Attainment Challenge funding announced to great fanfare by the Scottish government in reality brings little new money to Shetland Islands Council.

“This is another example of an eye-catching headline, while councils across Scotland and particularly here in Shetland are forced to do the dirty work and make the cuts of up to 4.5 per cent to service provision.

“I think Shetland is owed a better settlement than that…”

Mr Smith took the opportunity to endorse his own party’s paper which sets out an alternative plan for education in Scotland.

The Tories’ “Gold Standard” Education Plan promises a “world class education for every child”. It identifies three areas where immediate action is needed to improve standards – putting schools in charge, improving literacy and numeracy, and delivering greater transparency.

New policies in the paper include:

• Handing control over budgets, recruitment and funding of the new Scottish attainment challenge directly to head teachers;
• “Buddying” the best and worst-performing schools to help spread best practice;
• Greater focus on literacy and numeracy, support for parents, and the creation of a new First Minister’s Reading Challenge.

It also calls for a new independent inspectorate “which is trusted by parents to set high standards” and new standardised tests for P1, P4 and P7 students.

Click on image to enlarge.
Ruth Davidson.

Mr Smith said: “I believe that the policies outlined by the party and by [Scottish Conservatives leader] Ruth Davidson would be important steps to improve education provision across Scotland. Moving from ‘average’ or just ‘satisfactory’ to an education system which can be described as the gold standard should be our shared ambition and this new paper sets out a Conservative vision to achieve that goal.”

Some of the pledges included in the “gold standard” are mirrored in the government’s own plans for education.

The Conservative Party’s paper can be read here: THE GOLD STANDARD – A world class education for every child


Add Your Comment
  • Robin Stevenson

    • January 5th, 2016 18:36

    Perhaps Mr Smith would like to tell us WHY councils across Scotland need to cut council funding in the first place?

    Would the “Dirty work” [as he likes to call it] be better IF the Scottish Government imposed the 4.5% cuts themselves? Or would he not imagine that the best people for the job are those in charge of the council?

    Perhaps Mr Smith could also point out whether his “Gold Standard” applies to Wales too?

    BBC News OECD report:

    “Wales has fallen behind the rest of the UK significantly in reading, maths and science for the third time, an international study has shown.
    The tests in science, maths, and reading were taken by 500,000 15-year-olds in 68 countries.
    In Wales, there were lower results on average in the three subjects than in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
    Scotland leads the way in the UK in maths and reading, while England is marginally ahead in science”.

    Looking forward to tomorrow to see what a “Real” Scottish Government propose, for raising Scotland’s education standards, instead of this “eye catching headline”.

  • David Spence

    • January 5th, 2016 21:01

    I find it rather rich from Cameron Smith, to accuse the SIC through the Scottish Government of ‘ Dirty Work ‘ when the political party he supports are pretty damn good as carrying out ‘ Dirty Work ‘ behind the electorates back in the form of ‘ Privatization of State run Services ‘. This is not even touching the tip of the iceberg when it comes to ‘ backdoor politics ‘ ‘ deceiving the people of the country ‘ ‘ supporting the private sector with Tax Payer’s money (£400 million going towards private schools in the London area) ‘ ‘ Taking no action against the banks and their grossly over-paid bonuses ‘ and many more acts of deception in the name of greed, profits and money.

    What Alistair Carmichael did pales into insignificance compared to the lies, deception and selfishness the Tories are doing.


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