Scottish Budget 2024 to 2025: equality and fairer Scotland statement

Assesses where the Scottish Government is proposing to spend public money and how it aims to reduce inequality. It is a supporting document to the Scottish Budget and should be read alongside associated Budget publications.

Education and Skills

Budget Purpose

Change children and young people's lives for the better in and beyond educational settings, and ensure that people are able to engage in learning and skills development throughout their lives to reach their full potential.

Primary national outcomes:

  • Education
  • Children and Young People
  • Economy
  • Poverty

Key human rights:

  • Right to education
  • Right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion
  • Right to an adequate standard of living
  • Right to take part in cultural life

Summary of how our budget impacts on equality and Fairer Scotland

Delivering equity and reducing inequality is at the heart of investment in Education and Skills. Spend within the portfolio is targeted to reduce the differences in development and attainment levels for children and young people with protected characteristics or experiencing socio economic disadvantage.

We will build on the success of our 1140 programme of funded early learning and childcare by continuing work to build a system of school age childcare and to develop an expansion of Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) for more families with a 2 year old. We will also pay staff delivering funded ELC in the private, voluntary and independent sector at least £12 per hour and recruit more childminders.

While continuing to support children from deprived backgrounds through our ‘Scottish Attainment Challenge’ programme, we will work with Local Authorities to prepare for the expansion of free school meal provision to pupils in receipt of the ‘Scottish Child Payment’. The actions taken through our joint ‘Additional Support for Learning Action Plan’ with Local Authorities will help support improvements in the implementation of additional support for learning and the children, young people and their families supported by it.

The ‘Higher Education Student Support budget’ will provide bursaries, student loans and free tuition: supporting young people and adult learners to access educational opportunities and entry to future employment. Investment in our tertiary education and skills system will provide lifelong learning opportunities linked to the future needs of the economy.



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