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Extra spending on education \’has had little effect\’- Press and Journal

Press and Journal, 20 April 2009

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EXTRA spending on education has had “little or no effect” a think-tank claimed yesterday.
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\r\nReform Scotland said that despite “billions of pounds” being spent on schools since devolution, attainment levels had remained flat.
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\r\nThe independent think-tank is publishing a research bulletin on education.
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\r\nGeoff Mawdsley, of Reform Scotland, said: “It is clear from the research that the extra spending – more than double per pupil in primary and secondary schools since 1999 – is simply not delivering value for money.
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\r\n“Put another way, billions of pounds have been spent in the last decade to little or no effect.”
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\r\nReform Scotland’s research looked at exam performance data, which it said was not published officially but was collected by government statisticians.
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\r\nThe think-tank said those showed England had overtaken Scotland in 2007 in terms of the proportion of youngsters achieving five good grades in their exams, including maths and English, at the end of their compulsory education.
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\r\nMr Mawdsley called on the Scottish Government to focus more on output measures for schools’ performances. He said: “Publishing and using the measure of the pupils attaining five good grades by S4 including maths and English would be a good start.”
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\r\nBut he went on: “It is clear that Scottish school education suffers from a major productivity problem.
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\r\n“This and other measures show little improvement over the last decade, despite major increases in spending.”
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\r\nReform Scotland urged ministers in Scotland to look at best practice from other countries.
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\r\nThe think-tank also said the government should consider a report it published earlier this year, where it argued giving parents more power to choose where their children were taught was the key to improving education.
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\r\nCommenting on yesterday’s report Tory schools spokeswoman Liz Smith said: “It is very disturbing that so little progress has been made. This is another indication that the Scottish Government are failing to provide the education system that Scotland deserves.”
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\r\nA Scottish Government spokesman said: “There is no doubt that Scotland can do better in education performance. That is why we are now embarking on the biggest reform in education for a generation.”
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