East Kilbride children are being failed by lack of subject choice

Local Conservative MSP Graham Simpson condemned the lack of subject choice for pupils in East Kilbride schools following evidence to the Scottish Parliament.

Evidence submitted to the committee by Professor Jim Scott revealed that a very small number of schools allow 8 subjects in S4. The majority of state schools are now offering only 6 subjects. In South Lanarkshire only 3 schools 8 subjects at S4 – with no schools in East Kilbride offering 8 subjects. This is having a knock-on effect of the restricted choice on Higher and Advanced Higher and schools in poorer areas are suffering most.

The SNP is in danger of failing a ‘whole generation’ of pupils, according to evidence given to the Scottish Parliament education committee’s inquiry into subject choice reduction.   Giving evidence to the committee today, Professor Jim Scott said “we are in danger of a whole generation going past who have not had a good experience in education.”

Despite the SNP Government’s claims that their curriculum changes mean pupils have more time to study skills and vocational training, Professor Scott said “there is considerable variability in this…I really find it difficult to say to you that anything is improving at all.” He added: “there is little evidence of new infill in terms of vocational or other courses.”

William Hardie of the Royal Society of Edinburgh also highlighted that pupils are being taught National 4, National 5 and Higher in the same classroom at the same time.  This is the latest damning evidence presented to the committee of declining subject choice in Scotland’s schools, which is limiting pupils’ opportunities and damaging the economy.  

Graham Simpson said “I am extremely worried by the evidence that only 3 state schools across South Lanarkshire offer 8 subjects at S4 – and absolutely no schools in East Kilbride.

“East Kilbride children are being failed by lack of subject choice. This is completely unacceptable. This will be impacting the futures of our children, particularly pupils attending schools in poorer areas. 

“While Nicola Sturgeon is busy pushing for another independence referendum, experts have fully exposed the extent of the subject choice crisis affecting so many schools across Scotland. Professor Scott’s detailed analysis tells us that the majority of state schools are now offering fewer subjects, undermining the strong Scottish tradition of breadth within the curriculum which was so admired around the world.

“Parents simply do not buy the argument that restricting subject choice is beneficial. Instead of giving statements on independence, Nicola Sturgeon should be explaining why experts think the SNP’s education reforms are failing a generation of pupils.”