Improving the life chances of children and young people underlined in Scottish Budget.
Education and skills funding will rise 1.7% in real terms to £3.57 billion, under the proposed Budget 2020-21.
Speaking today at the opening of a new Learning Hub at the University of Aberdeen, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the Government is working in partnership with many organisations to empower Scottish education in closing the poverty related attainment gap, and improving outcomes for all.
Collaboration, professional development, co-production and innovation, he said, are crucial to achieving that aim.
Mr Swinney said:
“Within our Budget, we are again investing in improving the life chances of our children and young people through excellence and equity in education, which continues to be the principal mission of this Government.
“Everyone deserves the same chances to reach their full potential, whatever their background or circumstances, which is why we are increasing the education and skills budget this year by more than £122 million to £3.57 billion, a real-terms increase of 1.7%.
“To help close the attainment gap and improve attainment, we will again invest £182 million to the Attainment Scotland Fund. This includes £120 million in Pupil Equity Funding to be spent at the direction of head teachers, while teacher pay is increasing.”
Alongside funding delivered through the local government settlement, he said almost £645 million will go into the expansion of Early Learning and Childcare to provide 1,140 hours per child per year from this August - almost double the current entitlement and the most generous in the UK - benefitting children and allowing parents and carers to explore work, education or training opportunities.
The college sector also receives an above-inflation resource spending increase of 3.6% to train or upskill Scotland's workforce, while the university sector receives a real-terms funding uplift to maintain the country's position as a world leader in learning, science and innovation - particularly important in the context of the UK’s departure from the EU.
The 2020-21 Scottish Budget also includes:
• a 35.9% rise in the teacher training budget to £21.69 million
• teachers’ pay to increase by a minimum of 13% over 3 years, bringing the starting salary for a fully qualified teacher to £32,994 from April 2020, significantly higher than elsewhere in the UK
• a real-terms increase in the skills and training budget, supporting the drive to increase the number of apprenticeships
• Skills Development Scotland to receive a 4.7% rise in budget to £224.8 million, including to ensure apprenticeship opportunities are open to all
• a 17.8% rise in the Scottish Childrens’ Reporter Administration to £27.4 million
• child protection spending to rise 24% to £2.1 million
• looked-after children spending to rise to £32.4 million, including improving the Adoption Register
• a 62.1% rise in the Family Fund Trust
• Gaelic receiving a 7.3% rise in spending to £25.2 million