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FMQs: Swinney refuses to commit to his own pledge for 3,500 more teachers

Douglas Ross today challenged the new SNP leader John Swinney over his “legacy of failure” in charge of Scottish education.

At First Minister’s Questions, the Scottish Conservative leader repeatedly asked him to stand by his pledge to increase teacher numbers by 3,500 during this parliamentary term.

But John Swinney refused to do so, citing the financial constraints facing the SNP Government.

Douglas Ross also raised John Swinney’s record as education secretary when Scotland’s schools fell down international league tables.

He questioned what the new SNP leader would do differently to help pupils, parents and teachers.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “John Swinney’s repeated failure to stand by the pre-election pledge he made as education secretary to increase teacher numbers will have been heard loud and clear across Scotland.

“John Swinney’s legacy of failure as education secretary let down pupils, parents and teachers.

“His implementation of the SNP’s Curriculum for Excellence was a mess.

“He let Scotland’s schools plummet down international school league tables.

“He was at the centre of multiple SQA fiascos.

“He broke promises to improve the exam system.

“He was supposed to eradicate the attainment gap – he failed.

“He damaged Scotland’s international reputation for education.

“For 16 years, John Swinney has been at the heart of an SNP Government that has let down pupils, parents and teachers.

“Now he’s the head of the government, what’s going to change?”