Budget delivers substantial investment in learning and skills for all.
Sustained investment in learning, from early years to further and higher education, will continue to drive up attainment and mobilise all of Scotland's talents, the Education Secretary has said.
Today's draft budget statement for 2016-17 confirmed:
- Continued investment in 600 hours of annual free early learning and childcare for three and four year olds and eligible two year olds, as well as free school meals for P1-P3 pupils
- £33 million to be invested to accelerate activity to raise attainment and improve standards for all
- An £88 million funding package to maintain teacher numbers and ensure teaching induction places are secured for all probationers requiring one
- Sustained investment in school buildings through local authorities and Scotland's Schools for the Future programme
- Expansion of the Education Maintenance Allowance and Modern Apprenticeship programmes
- Protecting investment in Scotland's colleges and continuing to invest over £1 billion in higher education, while ensuring Scottish domiciled students continue to benefit from free tuition
Education Secretary Angela Constance said:
"We are determined to create a world class education system and ensure that all Scotland's children and young people have a fair chance to flourish. Closing the 'attainment gap' in educational outcomes is key to our ambition of creating a fairer Scotland and the draft budget plans will help achieve that.
"We are investing in our teachers and providing £33 million to raise attainment right across Scotland, including focused support for children from our most disadvantaged communities. We are funding the implementation of the National Improvement Framework, which will support parents, teachers and policy-makers and provide a much clearer picture of what works best in improving educational outcomes for all.
"Given its critical role in our economy and communities, we have also maintained funding to Scotland's reformed colleges, while we will continue to invest over £1 billion in our higher education institutions in 2016-17. We continue to protect free university tuition to ensure that access to higher education remains based on the ability to learn not the ability to pay.
Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training Roseanna Cunningham, said:
"Scotland's young people are key to ensuring Scotland has a very bright future. That is why this Government is continuing to invest in them and their potential, so that together, we can help build a stronger economy with opportunities for all.
"We will continue to support the implementation of key measures within our youth employment strategy including the expansion of the Modern Apprenticeship programme and Education Maintenance Allowance support, enhanced careers advice and supporting greater employer engagement with education.
"Despite improvements in the youth labour market, we will continue to focus on improving young people's employment prospects, with a particular focus on supporting those young people who face the greatest barriers to employment."
Full budget document www.gov.scot/Publications/2015/12/9056