Scotland politics

International schools advice panel for Scottish government

cabinet 1
Image caption The new cabinet held its first meeting of the new Holyrood term at Bute House

The Scottish government has set up an international panel of education experts during the first cabinet meeting of the Holyrood term.

Education and the economy were the key topics as Nicola Sturgeon convened her new cabinet at Bute House.

One of their first decisions was to establish an international council of educational advisors.

Ms Sturgeon said her government was "wasting no time in getting back to business".

The first minister has reshuffled her gender-balanced cabinet, with her deputy John Swinney moving from finance to education, and Derek Mackay and Fergus Ewing becoming secretaries for the first time.

The new cabinet has separate finance and economy posts, held by Mr Mackay and Keith Brown respectively, reflecting the priority placed on the topic by the new SNP government.

Ms Sturgeon said: "The cabinet has been shaped to reflect our key priorities of education and the economy, and both topics were top of the agenda at the meeting."

Image caption Ms Sturgeon said she had shaped the cabinet to reflect her priorities - education and the economy

The international council of educational experts will advise the government on improvements to schools and lessons which can be learned from other countries.

The Scottish government said the panel, which will be formed over the summer, will include authorities on closing the attainment gap in schools, achieving equality and educational system reform.

Ms Sturgeon said the announcement "demonstrates our determination to learn lessons from around the world to ensure that Scotland is a global leader in education".

She said: "Giving every child in Scotland an excellent education and improving prospects for all our young people is at the heart of the Scottish government's priorities this term.

"This independent body of international experts will challenge and scrutinise our plans as we look to return Scotland to the top of the class."

Image caption There are five men and five women - including first minister Nicola Sturgeon - in the reshuffled Scottish cabinet

Scottish Conservative education spokeswoman Liz Smith welcomed the announcement, but accused the SNP of being "reluctant to make use of international data" in schools.

She cited a written answer from Mr Swinney where he said the government had no plans to re-enter Scotland into international indexes such as the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study and the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study,

Ms Smith said: "There are undoubtedly lessons to be learned from what works well in other countries, but we hope this will be accompanied by a change of heart from the SNP when it comes to removing Scotland from some key international measures of educational attainment.

"Only today, I received a parliamentary answer from John Swinney which made clear the SNP is still very reluctant to make use of rich international data when it comes to pupil attainment."

Football probe

Cabinet was also updated on the probes into disorder at Saturday's Scottish Cup final by Justice Secretary Michael Matheson.

Police Scotland and the Scottish Football Association are looking into the chaotic scenes at Hampden, which saw police horses deployed as fans fought on the pitch.

Mr Matheson has urged the SFA to report on the matter before the new football season begins, so any lessons learned can be implemented.

Ms Sturgeon will outline her key priorities for government in the Holyrood chamber on Wednesday, while Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop will lead a debate on the referendum on European Union membership on Thursday.

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites