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Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross promises thousands more teachers

By Scott Maclennan

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Douglas Ross MP
Douglas Ross MP

Scottish Conservative leader MP Douglas Ross has launched a major new policy that aims to overhaul education in Scotland with an ambitious £550 million investment in 3000 new teachers.

Mr Ross, who will resign from Westminster to pursue a seat in the Highlands and Islands, is aiming to restore local schools in Scotland and target resources at the poverty-related attainment gap.

Speaking to parents and teachers, Mr Ross unveiled the first Scottish Conservative schools policies for the 2021 Scottish Parliament election following roundtable talks with teaching unions.

The plans include a £550 million proposal to deliver 3000 more teachers, plans for free school meals at both breakfast and lunch for every primary pupil and a national tutoring programme, particularly for maths and English.

He waldo issued a commitment to finding new ways to measure and target the poverty-related attainment gap while he would also establish a new school and education inspection body to improve performance.

It is Mr Ross’s second major policy announcement, following the launch of his plan to protect Scottish jobs and rebuild Scotland’s economy stronger that was made in Inverness at the end of August.

Announcing the move, Mr Ross said: “Scotland’s schools were once the envy of the world. Now, too many pupils see their ambitions dashed by a system stacked against them.

“Every year, thousands of Scottish children are unfairly judged by where they live and left behind, robbed of their chance to succeed because the government puts its own ambitions before theirs.

“The SNP will never choose schools over separation. Six years to the day from the independence referendum, despite polling today confirming Scottish people have more important priorities, the SNP still won’t put their own goals to one side, even in the middle of a pandemic.

“But we won’t close the attainment gap with a Referendum Bill. We’ll close it with action. We’ll close it with a laser focus on targetting poverty at school and a clear goal to restore teacher numbers.

“We owe it to the next generation to move on from the division of 2014 and finally make education our country’s top priority.”

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