Fewer school leavers have ‘significant’ maths qualification

Scottish Government admits more needs to be done over  Stem subjects  science, technology, engineering and maths. Picture: TSPL
Scottish Government admits more needs to be done over Stem subjects  science, technology, engineering and maths. Picture: TSPL
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The number of pupils leaving school without a “significant” maths qualification has nearly doubled in the past four years, a Labour MSP has claimed.

A total of 3,228 pupils left schools in 2014-15 without passing maths at Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) level three or higher – roughly equivalent to a standard grade foundation pass.

Labour claims about one in every 16 school leavers (6.1 per cent) in Scotland in 2014-15 had “no significant maths qualification”.

In 2011-12, 1,890 Scottish pupils (3.8 per cent) left school without the qualification.

The international education ranking scheme Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) results released in early December gave Scotland its worst education report since devolution, with drops in reading, maths and science.

Labour education spokesman Iain Gray said: “Earlier this month, a worldwide survey delivered Scotland’s worst report card on education since devolution.

“Now Labour can reveal that the number of young people leaving school with no significant maths qualification has rocketed in recent years – close to doubling.

“The SNP has slashed funding for our schools, with £500 million cut from local budgets last year alone and £327m set to come, 4,000 fewer teachers and an 18 per cent fall in support staff.

“Labour will bring forward amendments to the Scottish Budget to use the parliament’s tax powers so we can stop the cuts and invest in schools.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We’d welcome sight of the analysis that Scottish Labour have used in their assertions which fails to recognise the increased proportion of school leavers attaining in maths at SCQF4+ and makes crude assumptions about class sizes.

“We know more needs to be done to encourage young people to take up and attain in all science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) subjects.

“That is why we are introducing a Stem strategy which will help young people gain the training, knowledge and qualifications they need to develop skills for Stem careers, and we will work with partners to implement the making maths count report that aims to encourage greater enthusiasm and enjoyment of maths and build maths achievement in Scotland.

“We have taken action to maintain teacher numbers and committed £88 million this year to make sure every school has access to the right number of teachers.”