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Sunday, 11 March, 2001, 17:47 GMT
SNP: Education policies

Find out more about the Scottish National Party's education policies.

Education is a matter devolved to the Scottish Parliament and Welsh and Northern Ireland assemblies - and Westminster MPs have little influence over education policy in these parts of the United Kingdom. For more information see our full guide to devolution.


The SNP's priority would be a moratorium on further change and the establishment of an Education Convention, chaired by the education minister and comprising a representatives from across Scotland and throughout education.

It would debate policy proposed by government prior to the legislative progress and make recommendations for implementation after approval by Parliament.

A specifically Scottish policy is to make it a legal requirement to provide Gaelic education where there is reasonable demand and to develop Gaelic provision in the primary and secondary sectors.

Spending on schools

The SNP plans increased investment in education, and a major programme of school refurbishment and repair through its plan for a Scottish trust for public investment.

Higher education

The SNP would abolish tuition fees for all Scottish students, whether they were studying in Scotland or not.

It says that it would also pay the final year fees of English, Welsh and Northern Ireland students at Scottish universities, which typically have four-year degree courses as opposed to the three-year courses elsewhere. Scots students are exempt already.

There would be a 500 grant for the 20,000 poorest students.

Teacher shortages and pay

The SNP is committed to the full implementation of what is known as the McCrone settlement on pay and conditions.

It promises to reduce teachers' paperwork by a third.

It wants the delivery of appropriate and effective training for teachers in information technology and increasing access to the internet in schools.

Class sizes

The SNP says studies show that children benefit most not just from a general reduction in class sizes, but also from specific class sizes, especially in the early years of schooling.

"We will therefore introduce a phased reduction of Primary 1, 2 and 3 class sizes to 18 or below, initially targeting areas of social deprivation. This will be done by increased investment in teachers, schools and materials."

Continued reduction in primary and in secondary class sizes would take account of international research.

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