Page last updated at 16:35 GMT, Thursday, 15 October 2009 17:35 UK

SNP to fund 3,000 student places

Fiona Hyslop
The education secretary outlined plans for new resources

The Scottish government is investing £8.6m to provide an extra 3,000 student places, the SNP conference has heard.

Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop made the announcement to cope with increased demand for places amid the recession.

The boost will focus on places for science, technology, engineering and maths courses.

Ms Hyslop also told delegates the pledge to build or refurbish 250 schools would be met by summer 2010, a year earlier than planned.

The goal was part of an SNP commitment to match Labour's school building programme "brick-for-brick".

'Future prosperity'

Ms Hyslop told delegates in Inverness that the extra funding would equate to a 10% increase in student numbers this year.

She said: "This party has always believed Scotland's future prosperity rests on the talents of her people.

"We believe our people have got what it takes to prosper.

"In partnership with our universities, we promised to respond positively and flexibly to the increase in applications we have seen as the recession has bitten."

As well as her school building announcement, Ms Hyslop went on to outline plans to launch new educational resources covering more than 200 Scottish history topics, such as the enlightenment and industrial revolution.

These would be made available online to everyone, not just pupils and teachers.

'Appalling case'

The education secretary went on to point out that Scotland now had the highest ever level of child protection referrals, while the number of looked-after children was at the highest level since 1983.

She told delegates: "I point this out, not as a source of pride, far from it.

"There is no better argument for early intervention than those two facts.

"But it should also be a source of reassurance that, in the vast majority of cases, the cases that are never reported in the media, children at risk are being given the help and protection they so desperately need."

Ms Hyslop, who recalled the "appalling" death of Dundee toddler Brandon Muir, killed by his mother's boyfriend, insisted Scotland's child protection system was the best in the UK, but warned the public to be vigilant.

Print Sponsor

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

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific