Every young person deserves the opportunity to succeed

16 August 2017

Today we are calling for the Scottish Government to set up an independent expert review into the senior phase of school.

What does that mean? We want to see if Third to Sixth year is working properly for everyone.

The review should focus on 5 things:

1. The impact of 4,000 fewer teachers on pupil choice.
2. Access for pupils to subjects, particularly in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects.
3. Access of each secondary school to regional colleges and local employers.
4. An update on access to vocational courses as the curriculum has narrowed.
5. The possibility of introducing a Scottish Graduation Certificate as a formal qualification.

Why do we need a review?

With fewer teachers in our schools, the curriculum is narrowing.

That means students studying fewer subjects.

Government guidance published two years ago encourages schools to link with local colleges and employers to allow pupils to pursue vocational courses and Highers.

But there has been no update on these partnerships, if every school has one, and whether they have helped pupils

In those two years Scotland has seen a decrease in the number of pupils sitting Modern Languages and STEM subjects.

We are concerned that pupils aren’t able to access key subjects, particularly at the same time, to get the qualifications they want to go college or university.

The review should consider introducing a Scottish Graduation Certificate

Labour’s plan for a Scottish Graduation Certificate would be a qualification gained at the senior phase of secondary school and would involve vocational courses, work experience, voluntary achievement and traditional exams.

It would build on the successful Scottish awards network and mean formal recognition for young people with fewer traditional qualifications. The Scottish Graduation Certificate would also be a step towards and education system that recognises all talents.

We think every young person deserves the opportunity to succeed.

This week, Labour’s summer campaign ‘For The Many’ turns to education. Catch up with the summer campaign in full here: