RISE - Scotland's Left Alliance has today released a major new report on the future of the Scottish education system.

Another Scotland is Possible - A Report on the Future of Scottish Education, written by RISE Education Spokesperson James McEnaney, examines existing policy in a range of key areas including: Curriculum for Excellence and the New Qualifications; the issue of teacher workload and Continuing Professional Development; the imposition of National Standardised Testing; the school starting age; LGBTI+ Inclusive Education; Further Education; and private schools.

The report makes a number of specific recommendation for reform, including:

  • A simplified approach to Curriculum for Excellence in order to address the audit-based approach that has come to dominate schools
  • The government should abandon plans to impose National Standardised Testing and apologise to the teaching profession for this misguided proposal
  • An independent enquiry into the previous government's Further Education reforms
  • The raising of the school starting age
  • The stripping from private schools of tax benefits associated with their anomalous charitable status

Commenting, McEnaney said:

"This report is the most detailed look at the Scottish education system to have been published during this election campaign.

"Following on from our manifesto, which outlined a different approach to the problems facing Scottish education, we wanted to provoke a deeper debate about the direction in which we should be going.

"The rhetoric on offer from other parties regarding the so-called 'Attainment Gap' will do nothing to reduce educational inequality in Scotland. We believe - and this report argues - that the key to addressing this problem is to properly recognise its origins in the widespread social and economic equalities that blight our country.

"The report argues that if we are serious about improving Scottish education, we should focus on addressing those aspects of our system which magnify, rather than mitigate, pre-existing problems.

"We are also absolutely clear that placing full trust in the teaching profession is a prerequisite for progress. Unless we change the way we treat our teachers we will continue to fail our children.

"One of the key sections of this report concerns the unacceptable and unsustainable demands being made of the teaching profession. Given that the Scotland's largest teaching union has rejected government proposals to tackle this issue, and is now set to ballot its members on a boycott of SQA-related activity, our call for teachers to be trusted to do their jobs is more relevant than ever. This time the government must take the concerns of the teaching profession seriously."

"The report also considers a number of potential structural changes, the most radical - and beneficial - of which would be an increase in the school starting age from four to seven."