Budget - what it means for education
Children in the crucial early years of their lives will be amongst the beneficiaries of the new Scottish Government's first budget Education and Lifelong Learning Secretary Fiona Hyslop said today.
The budget will help deliver:
- More than 20,000 new teachers in training - the greatest number since devolution
- £115 million extra capital for local authorities in 2008/09 which can be invested in schools
- an increase to 570 hours of nursery provision for 100,000 three and four year-olds
- Investment of £5.24 billion over three years to the further and higher education sectors
Ms Hyslop added:
"One of our key priorities is to ensure that children in the important early years get the help and support they need. That means reducing class sizes for P1-P3 to 18 and ensuring access to a teacher for every pre-school child as quickly as possible by training more than 20,000 teachers by 2011.
"In addition, 100,000 3 and 4 year olds will benefit from an increase to 570 hours of nursery provision in 2010, putting us well on the way to meeting our commitment of 50% more nursery provision by 2011, extending nutritious free school meals to all P1-P3 pupils, and extending free school meal entitlement to all pupils of families in receipt of maximum child or working tax credit.
"A key part of delivering these commitments in this Budget is the new and constructive relationship we have with local government in Scotland.
"This government is also serious about investing in Scotland's people and in achieving sustainable economic growth through new investment in skills and learning.
"Our Budget will deliver £16 million for the establishment of the new skills body - Skills Development Scotland - and £20 million over the budget period to improve skills supply and demand as well as provide high quality training across the population.
"Scotland's universities and colleges are central to that sustainable economic growth. We will invest £5.24 billion in total in Scotland's further and higher education, with an extra £100 million capital funding package in 2007/08. Taken over the lifetime of our Parliament, this government's total capital investment in our further and higher education sectors will be 20 per cent higher than the spending plans we inherited.
"We will deliver support for students of £1.55 billion over three years with £119 million to end the graduate endowment fee and a phased transition from student loans to grants starting with part time students.
"This is record investment in Scotland's future and investment in growing opportunity and prosperity for our nation."