Fifty years ago Scotland prided itself on it high quality education.

Now it's a different matter after it has been revealed that Scottish students have fallen behind English students - despite taxpayers spending 1,400 MORE per child in Scotland than in England.

Socialist Scotland spends 4,638 per primary pupil and 6,326 per secondary pupil.

That compared with 3,580 per English primary school pupil and 4,620 per secondary pupil or an average extra of 1,382.

Meanwhile, England, Wales and Northern Ireland have also substantially improved, despite all spending less, per capita, on education than the Scots.

English students also perform better than Welsh and Northern Irish students.

The proportion of youngsters gaining five or more grades A-C for GCSEs or Scottish National Party equivalents was 62 per cent in England, 57.5 per cent in Scotland in 2007, 56 per cent in Northern Ireland and 54.2 per cent in Wales.

Scottish pupils fall behind English counterparts... despite costing 1,400 more per student

By Daily Mail Reporter (external - login to view)
08th October 2009
Daily Mail

English students outperform their Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish counterparts

Scottish pupils are falling further behind their English counterparts despite taxpayers spending an extra 1,400 per child, experts said today.

Higher spending has made little difference to the quality of Scottish education, according to a public policy think tank.

And as much as 680million could be cut from education spending without harming quality, it was claimed.

The findings come in a report by the Centre for Public Policy for Regions which concluded that despite the extra spending, educational attainment in Scotland has flatlined since devolution.

The study found Scotland spent 4,638 per primary pupil and 6,326 per secondary pupil.

That compared with 3,580 per English primary school pupil and 4,620 per secondary pupil or an average extra of 1,382.

Meanwhile England and other parts of the UK have improved - despite spending substantially less.

But the findings have been disputed by the Scottish Government which said they were both out of date and questionable.

The report concludes that trying to improve the quality of teaching might bring better returns that cutting class sizes.

This could be done by 'incentives' like greater parental choice, or greater rewards for top-performing teachers, without the need for extra funding, it said.

The report said: 'Overall, it seems there may well be scope to cut spending without necessarily worsening quality, or, of improving quality with the same funding level.

'Based on data in this report it is estimated that replication of best practice across Scotland and the UK might result in the saving of between 340 to 680million on school funding.'

One set of statistics puts education spending per pupil in Scotland at 6,418 in Scotland, 5,215 in England, 4,326 in Wales, and 3,950 in Northern Ireland, said the report.

Other figures put spending on secondary education in Scotland at 6,326 compared to 4,620 in England, 3,865 in Wales, and 3,923.

And Scotland also has lower pupil-teacher ratios.

But attainment in England at the age of 16, which had lagged behind in 1998, has now overtaken Scotland, the report said.

The proportion of youngsters gaining five or more grades A-C for GCSEs or SNP equivalents was 57.5 per cent in Scotland in 2007, 62 per cent in England, 54.2 per cent in Wales, and 56 per cent in Northern Ireland.

The report also finds big variations in education spending levels within Scotland.

Stirling had low spending on primary and secondary education but achieved good results, while the city of Aberdeen spent a lot but had below-average results.

And the two top performers, East Renfrewshire and East Dunbartonshire, were only average spenders.

The report said that if spending per pupil was 20 per cent lower, making it the same as in England, there could be a saving of 1,000 per pupil or 680million in total.

If spending was the same as in Stirling, at roughly ten per cent lower than the Scottish average, the saving would be 500 per pupil or 340million in total.

Labour's education spokeswoman Rhona Brankin questioned the findings.

She said: 'What this report fails to properly take into account is that some children cost more than others to educate effectively.

'Children from disadvantaged backgrounds may struggle with their education without more help, support and resources.

'The report itself points out that there needs to be a better analysis of factors such as socio-economic background.'

But a Scottish Government spokeswoman said: 'This report primarily covers the period up to 2007 and it relates to the record of the previous administration.

'It is also a partial report and is qualified by health warnings throughout.'

She said Audit Scotland and HM Inspectorate of Education had recently carried out 'far more substantial and robust analysis of the issues'.

'However, what this report does confirm is that this Government inherited a position of lower investment and lower attainment that we currently enjoy,' she said.

'Exam results in recent years have shown steady improvement, as reflected by this year's record pass rates at both Higher and Advanced Higher level.'

And an international survey showed 'relatively few' OECD countries outperformed Scotland.