Just what has led to SNP Education Minister being removed from the Education brief in cabinet, after all she has been the SNP education Spokesperson/Minister for quite a number of years now.
There was obviously the shift in blame over teacher numbers. Only last week Hyslop was about to encourage Local Authorities to borrow money to pension off older teachers. This despite them being unable to meet their lower class sizes policy for primaries 1,2 and 3.
Then at the weekend the blame for the falling teacher numbers fell to the local authorities. But surely only a few days before the Education Minister was actively encouraging them to actually cut numbers further, or rather not employ extra. The fact is that there are 1,300 less teachers this year than last. The SNP promised that even with reducing class sizes they would not reduce teacher numbers, the idea was to provide better support for our children. A noble aim but one that has clearly failed.
She threatened to take control of education out of the hands of our local authorities, and control it centrally. She was threatening to nationalise the education of our children. Numerous time I have filled in a null return to my local authority when they ask about the number of children I have and the age they are. Even, indeed especially, because of my civil service background and my parents education background I cannot see how any authority looking after the children of over 5 million citizens is going to improve educational standards. Even in London this was and is devolved down to a local level.
The new Curriculum for Excellence is due to launch next August, affecting 54,000 children across Scotland in P7. Being the son of teachers, one who whom was also a examination marker I know that these things are in place at least a year in advance to allow teachers time to adjust what and how they teach and also so they can see the future marking scheme to assess such a change. Teachers currently are not aware of any of this, therefore one wonders just what level of excellence these teachers are going to be able to provide in a few short months, some of which will be taken up getting their current charges ready.
On Saturday the Lib Dems announced to the other parties in Holyrood that they were going to bring a vote of No Confidence in the Education Minister on Thursday of this week, at today's business meeting. Today before that can happen we learn that she is being removed of that responsibility.
Tavish Scott has made a statement to that effect, but also points out that a change in Education Minister, to Mike Russell, is not going to be enough, the SNP need a change in Education policy. The children of Scotland deserve no less, they do not deserve to be treated as a political football, or an after thought. They deserve the funding they had been getting, going to the local authorities to enable it to be spent as best suits the needs of their children. If the SNP continue to pull the carpet from under our local authorities feet as far as education provision are concerned four years after taking control will be four years lost out of some of our childrens' education that cannot be replaced.