NICOLA STURGEON was forced to admit that the Scottish government “needs to do better” on education after figures showed more than half of 13 and 14-year-olds were performing below expectations.
Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, the Scottish First Minister said she had been “very open that this is not good enough.”
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale accused Ms Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party (SNP) of letting education fall by the wayside.
The First Minister said Scottish ministers had “taken advice” from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development on how to refocus their education policy.
The figures are from the latest Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy, published earlier this month, which followed Scotland’s worst ever performance in the Programme of International Student Assessment (Pisa).
Scores for maths, reading and science had all declined, Pisa found.
Ms Sturgeon said: “We have had some advice that we need to have more of a focus in our curriculum on literacy and numeracy and that’s exactly what we’re doing, so we’ve introduced new benchmarks for the teaching of literacy and numeracy.”
She added that her government was increasing the budget for Scottish head teachers by £120 million.
Ms Dugdale said Ms Sturgeon had faced a “bruising interview” and had been forced to come clean on her “appalling record on education.”
Speaking at a rally in Dunfermline, she accused the SNP of having produced a “lost generation” in Scottish schools.
The Scottish Labour leader warned that Scotland had lost 4,000 teachers and 1,000 school support staff in the 10 years that the SNP has been in power.
She said the forthcoming election would be a chance “to tell Nicola Sturgeon to stop obsessing about independence and get on with the job of fixing the mess she has made of our schools.”