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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 November 2007, 17:48 GMT
Education Department - Budget plans
Fiona Hyslop is the cabinet secretary in charge of education and lifelong learning, which is responsible for further and higher education, skills and training, young people and social care.


BUDGET STATEMENT 2007/08

The SNP government has finally announced it will go ahead with a key manifesto pledge to reduce class sizes in primaries one to three to a maximum of 18.

The announcement was made following weeks of sustained pressure by opposition parties - but it has not been costed in the budget document and there was no clear timescale for delivering the policy.

Ms Hyslop previously announced plans to scrap the student graduate endowment fee - but the budget plans did not contain the key Nationalist pledge to scrap student debt.

Here are the main announcements:

  • Reducing class sizes in P1 to P3 to a maximum of 18 "as quickly as is possible".
  • Access to a teacher for every pre-school child, and "substantial progress" towards a 50% increase in pre-school entitlement for three and four-year-olds.
  • Extend free school meal entitlement to all primary and secondary school pupils of families in receipt of maximum child or working tax credit in 2009, before further extensions.
  • More opportunities for pupils to experience vocational learning.
  • Allowances for kinship carers of looked after children.
  • Early intervention to protect vulnerable children and families at risk - 103.4m, 105.5m and 102.8m over the three year spending plans.
  • Develop the "curriculum for excellence" and focus "classroom practice" on the child - 133.2m, 136.1m and 140.8m.
  • Scottish skills and community learning strategy - 3.9m and 7.9m over the next two years.
  • Student support funding - 509.1m, 507.7m and 533.8m.
  • Phased transition from student loans to grants, starting with part-time students - 29m, 30m and 60m.
  • Further and higher education institution investment - 1.49bn, 1.56bn and 1.61bn and an increase in capital investment to 176.7m, 191.6m and 192.7m.

  • MAIN SNP MANIFESTO PLEDGES

  • Remove the burden of debt repayments owed by Scottish domiciled and resident graduates.
  • Cut class sizes in Primary 1, 2 and 3 to 18 pupils or less and give headteachers the power to decide on the most appropriate class sizes in later years, within national guidelines.
  • Abolish the Graduate Endowment tuition fee.
  • Increase free nursery education for three and four-year-olds by 50%, upping the entitlement from 400 to 600 hours a year.
  • Planned 10m Additional Support Fund to improve services for children with special needs, such as dyslexia and autism.
  • Introduce a Scottish Science Baccalaureate and a Scottish Language Baccalaureate.
  • Match the current school building programme "brick for brick".
  • Replace the "expensive and discredited student loans system" with means-tested student grants.




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