Education secretary to make major speech at the University of Glasgow

Poverty cannot be an excuse for failure in Scottish education, the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Angela Constance will say in a major speech at the University of Glasgow.

This is the second time that Angela Constance, a Glasgow graduate, has addressed audiences at her home university since becoming Education Secretary last year. This evening Ms Constance will address the University of Glasgow’s Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change and will set out her aspirations for the Scottish education system, focused mainly on schools, with analysis of existing strengths and areas for improvement.

Head and shoulders Angela Constance MSP Nov 2014 Cab Sec EducationDelivering equity and excellence in education for all our children, improving literacy and numeracy, the role of parents and families, leadership in schools and the impact of austerity are all expected to feature as key themes during the address.

Speaking ahead of the event, Ms Constance said: “After six months as Cabinet Secretary, this is a welcome opportunity to take stock of some of the key issues in Scottish education.

“There is much to be proud of in our system, including a long term national plan for success in Curriculum for Excellence that is delivering improving outcomes for our children, as well as record exam results and a drop in those leaving school with no or few qualifications, record numbers of school leavers securing positive destinations and record proportions of Scots from the most deprived areas entering higher education. We should celebrate the progress that we have made, but I am clear that there is – and there will always be – a need to do more.

“Tackling inequity is a priority not only for the Scottish Government, but for me personally. It will never be acceptable for poverty to be an excuse for failure. It is our job – as parents, teachers and academics and in local and central government – to overcome that barrier, not use it as an excuse.

“I want Scotland to have an education system which ensures each child, in every community, has every chance to succeed; that leaves no child behind; that promotes and support excellence in learning through valued and supported teachers and a high quality workforce; that is ambitious for our children, that takes their aspirations for themselves and nurtures and develops those, so that they succeed in school and in life. 

“I am passionate about realising these priorities for every child in Scotland.”

Professor Christopher  Chapman, Chair in Educational Policy and Practice and Director of the Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change, said: “I very much welcome the Cabinet Secretary’s focus on raising the attainment of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, which is a priority for this centre.  We shall endeavour to use our expertise in theory-driven, applied research to promote effective classroom-based practice and shall continue to support the Scottish Government in delivering its education agenda.”

First published: 19 May 2015

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