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Summary

  1. MSPs approve Cross-Party Groups on Brexit, improving Scotland's health and on nuclear disarmament.
  2. MSPs quiz Scottish government ministers during general questions.
  3. Nicola Sturgeon defends trauma centres delivery schedule, after it emerged there were would be a three year delay.
  4. The lunch time member’s debate focused on the Marie Curie Report on Challenging Inequities in Palliative Care.
  5. The Education Committee led a debate on the role and performance of the SQA, Education Scotland, the SFC and SDS.

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Colin Bell

All times stated are UK

That's all from Holyrood Live this week

Holyrood
BBC

That brings our coverage of the Scottish Parliament on Thursday 12 January to a close.

We will be back next Tuesday.

Have a good weekend. 

MSPs unanimously back the motion from the Education Committee debate

Education Committee's motion
Scottish Parliament

MSPs unanimously back the motion from the Education Committee debate.

Labour MSP says there is anxiety education agencies are not in control of the agenda

Ms Lamont says there is no baseline evidence to judge the effectiveness of the Curriculum for Excellence.

The Labour MSP raises issues of equality and the lack of an external examination at S4.

Pupils
bbc

The deputy committee convener says there were concerns expressed by the NUS to cut college part-time places.  

Ms Lamont says the committee was concerned Skills Development Scotland said it did not have a role in ensuring access to apprenticeships across our different groups in our communities.

She concludes saying there is some anxiety the education agencies are not in control of the agenda.

Teachers 'passionate' about making the Curriculum for Excellence work

Ms Lamont says, if we believe Curriculum for Excellence is the right way forward, then we must look at how it is working and the changes that are required.

The deputy convener of the Education Committee says it is not a criticism of teachers to raise issues with the system.

Johann Lamont
BBC

The Labour MSP says much of the evidence provided by teachers was extremely thought provoking.

She says teachers are "passionate" about making the Curriculum for Excellence work.

Ms Lamont says there is a lack of clarity on where responsibility for the Curriculum for Excellence lies.

Labour MSP says the committee shall persist with its work on education and skills.

pupils
Thinkstock

Ms Lamont says scrutiny must be robust and far reaching.

The deputy convener of the Education Committee says it has produced compelling reflections on the agencies.

The Scottish Labour MSP says the committee shall persist with its work on education and skills.

She says it is essential there is confidence in the education system.

Consensus of the Education Committee important - Labour MSP

Johann Lamont says her role as the deputy convener on the Education Committee presents challenges.

Labour MSP Johann Lamont
BBC
Labour MSP Johann Lamont

Ms Lamont says there was a degree of consensus on the committee which is important.

The Labour MSP says committee members should not be acting in silos and joined up working is important. 

Heated exchange between education secretary and Labour MSP

Labour MSP Iain Gray asks if the cabinet secretary is going to address the issues in his last 40 seconds.

Mr Swinney says that is a pathetic intervention.

He says education involves taking a whole range of organisations with us and that what C for E has done.

pupil
Getty Images

Tory MSP Liz Smith says the committee is asking about the delivery of C of E which it cannot properly measure.

Mr Swinney says he will look carefully at all of these issues, but he says the government has operated by consensus.

He says the government's drive is to improve education. 

Government work inclusively with bodies to implement the Curriculum for Excellence - Swinney

John Swinney
BBC

Mr Swinney says if he flicks through all the responses from the governance review it is littered with those saying "do not disturb the consensus".

The education secretary says the government has acted with consensus with other bodies on the Curriculum for Excellence. 

He says the government work inclusively with bodies to implement the Curriculum for Excellence.

Minister chastises Labour MSP for 'dismal narrative' on education

Labour MSP Daniel Johnson
bbc
Labour MSP Daniel Johnson

Labour MSP Daniel Johnson says the chief executive of the SQA says there are fundamental problems.

Mr Swinney asks Mr Johnson to judge whether his contribution earlier will help progress education.

The education secretary says it will be difficult to do if the narrative is as dismal as Mr Johnson presented.

He says there must be a sense of perspective about the data used in debate.

John Swinney 'utterly refutes' that 'schools are in crisis'

Education Secretary John Swinney says there are consequences of what members of parliament say during debates. 

Education Secretary John Swinney
BBC
Education Secretary John Swinney

Mr Swinney says he "utterly refutes" Mr Rennie's comments during first ministers questions that "our schools are in crisis".

The education secretary says he has highlighted data that is relevant of Scottish education today.

He says Mr Johnson's reflection of Scottish education is "atrocious" and that is not the case.

Tory MSP says 'there is a lot of work to do'

Tory MSP Ross Thomson
bbc
Tory MSP Ross Thomson

Mr Thomson says the committees work has uncovered serious issues which require urgent attention.

He says there is a lot of work to do.

The Tory MSP says the decisions to be taken must be made on a sound basis on evidence.

Consistent criticisms from teachers that there is a lack of transparency

Pupils
PA

Tory MSP Ross Thomson says teachers have raised real concerns with the committee over the SQA.

Mr Thomson says there is powerful and consistent criticisms from teachers that there is a lack of transparency.

The Tory MSP says the SQA are saying that mistakes are happening due to workload and they have lost the trust of teachers.

"How can they have the confidence of parents if they do not have the confidence of teachers?" He asks.

Tory MSP says there is serious concerns these were the worst exams ever seen

Conservative MSP Ross Thomson
bbc
Conservative MSP Ross Thomson

Conservative MSP Ross Thomson says it is quite clear with the SQA going through intense redesign there is quite serious problems regarding resources.

Mr Thomson says the committee evidence has pointed to teachers being swamped in bureaucracy.

He says the SQA has been warned it may "sink in a sea of jargon".

The Tory MSP says there is serious concerns these were the worst exams ever seen.

Labour MSP urges government to rethink its education reforms

Mr Gray says the government are obliged to respond to the problems of the education system.

The Labour education spokesman says Education Scotland was created by this government. 

Iain Gray
BBC

He says the Scottish government want to get rid of the Scottish Funding Council and that has the support of nobody. 

He urges the government to rethink its reforms.

Labour MSP says the teachers are also hindered by Education Scotland and the SQA

Labour MSP says teachers are hindered by Education Scotland and the SQA.
Thinkstock
Labour MSP says teachers are hindered by Education Scotland and the SQA

Mr Gray says teachers are succedeing inspite of the circumstances in which they are working, including budget cuts.

He says the teachers are also hindered by Education Scotland and the SQA.

The Labour MSP says his party supports C for E but the agency of delivery commands such little support.

He says only 27% of Education Scotland's own staff think it is well run.

Teachers 'hindered in their work'

In closing for his party Labour MSP Iain Gray says, when he visits schools, he sees "great teachers doing a great job and pupils that want to do well."

Labour MSP Iain Gray
BBC
Labour MSP Iain Gray

Mr Gray says the education secretary has to acknowledge the "falling performance" and not just paint a positive picture of statistics.

Scottish Labour's Education spokesman says it is not the fault of teacher and they are "hindered in their work".

Jargon must be addressed because transparency will not be possible without it

SNP MSP Richard Lochhead says he has been struck by the many factors which affects a child's ability to learn and they are extremely complex.

Mr Lochhead says, during the Labour administration, he raised education issues as an opposition member so there was also problems with the system then.

SNP MSP Richard Lochhead
BBC
SNP MSP Richard Lochhead

The SNP MSP says "we all need to work together to address the challenges."

He says the jargon must be addressed because transparency will not be possible without it. 

Mr Lochhead says agencies must speak in language that people can understand. 

Labour MSP says the lack of confidence among teachers in the SQA is of real concern

Labour MSP Jenny Marra
bbc
Labour MSP Jenny Marra

Labour MSP Jenny Marra says she is concerned about the confusion and lack of confidence in our education agencies.

Ms Marra says the lack of confidence among teachers in the SQA is of real concern.

The Labour MSP says of more acute concern is how this is contributing to teaching in schools.

She says it was with "great sadness and some despair that she read the Pisa figures."

'Our schools are not failing'

SNP MSP Gillian Martin
bbc
SNP MSP Gillian Martin

SNP MSP Gillian Martin says as a former college lecturer and with a husband who is a high school teacher she know

Ms Martin says it was distressing to hear Willie Rennie in FMQs use the phrase "our schools are failing".

She says: "Our schools are not failing."

Ms Martin says the Curriculum for Excellence has worked well for her son. 

The SNP MSP says more school leavers are reaching positive destinations than ever before.

Questions must be asked of the effectiveness of Education Scotland

Lib Dem MSP Tavish Scott says teachers are at the core of this debate as are the concerns over the implementation of the Curriculum for Excellence.

Mr Scott says the SQA and Education Scotland have both been involved in the management of the Curriculum for Excellence and something is not working.

Lib Dem MSP Tavish Scott
BBC

The Lib Dem MSP says the education secretary must continue to reflect on the PISA figures. 

He says fundamental questions must be asked of the effectiveness of Education Scotland and figures on how it manages change effectively are "woeful". 

Mr Scott says the Scottish Funding Council should be left well alone. 

Green MSP says new 'super board' is a SNP push for centralisation

Green MSP Ross Greer says there is a breakdown of teacher trust in the education authorities.

Mr Greer criticises the new super board replacing the existing enterprise, skills and Scottish Funding Council agencies.

The Green MSP says this is a SNP push for centralisation and government control.

Green MSP Ross Greer
bbc
Green MSP Ross Greer

Mr Greer says the independence of Scotland's universities is absolutely vital.

Higher Education Minister Shirley-Anne Sommerville intervenes to say the government will do nothing to threaten the independence of higher education establishments.

Mr Greer calls for assurances to rethink the current proposal to abolish the existing boards and a guarantee that any new super board will not be chaired by a minister.

Teachers are losing confidence in teachers and the Scottish government says Labour MSP

Labour MSP Monica Lennon says some of the evidence that has been given to the Education Committee has been troubling.

Ms Lennon says after a decade of the SNP government administration, education has gone backwards.

Labour MSP Monica Lennon
BBC

The Labour MSP says there has been a decline in children's charity support.

She says the government is claiming that councils are receiving a fair settlement but it does not appear to be fair at all.

She says teachers are losing confidence in the Scottish government.

Background: OECD review of the Curriculum for Excellence

pupils
bbc

Achievement in Scottish schools is above international averages - but the gap is narrowing, a review found at the end of 2015.

Particular concerns were raised about maths where performance has fallen from high to average over the past decade.

The review of the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) was undertaken by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The international experts said CfE was at a "watershed moment" and changes could deliver a world class system.

For this watershed moment to be "take off point" there is a more ambitious theory of change needed OECD report.

The curriculum has been operating in schools since 2010 and gives teachers more flexibility over what and how they teach.

SNP not only failing to fund education properly but failing to run it properly too - Labour MSP

Mr Swinney says he is interested in Mr Johnson's criticism of Curriculum for Excellence and asks if his party does not support it.

Mr Johnson says it is about how the Curriculum for Excellence is implemented.

Daniel Johnson
BBC

The Labour MSP says there must be reform of education bodies because they are responsible for the Curriculum for Excellence.

He says it is the SNP who created Education Scotland and it is this government administration's failures.

Mr Johnson says the SNP are not only failing to fund education properly but failing to run it properly too. 

Labour MSP says litany of failures by agencies shows there need for reform

teacher
Thinkstock

Mr Johnson says neither the SQA or Education Scotland could explain how the C for E and the exams should work together.

The Labour MSP says this litany of failures by key government agencies shows there is need for reform of these agencies. 

He says after a decade of SNP stewardship education standards have gone backwards, as illustrated by last month's Pisa figures.

Teachers criticise Education Scotland's lack of guidance says Labour MSP

Labour MSP Daniel Johnson says Scotland's education system is falling behind.

Mr Johnson says there are series issues with the system which need fixed.

Labour MSP Daniel Johnson
BBC

The Labour MSP says the question has to be asked as to whether the education bodies get it right.

He says teachers criticise Education Scotland's lack of guidance. 

Tory MSP says the education and skills agencies are simply not doing well enough

Scottish Conservative education spokesperson Liz Smith
bbc
Scottish Conservative education spokesperson Liz Smith

Ms Smith says there are serious concerns about whether the agencies have enough funding.

She says this has been raised about the SFC, the SQA and Education Scotland.

The Scottish Conservative education committee says Scotland does not have the sufficient relevant baseline data for the start of the C for E.

She says it is unclear what the management board for the C for E has been doing for nine years.

The Tory MSP says the education and skills agencies are simply not doing well enough.

Blaming exam mistakes on workload not good for teacher morale - Tory MSP

Exam
Getty Images

Tory MSP Liz Smith says the committee convener says he reflected on evidence from teachers and rightly so.

Ms Smith says there are clearly issues about strategic decision making and the length of time this takes.

The Tory MSP says the excuse for mistakes in exams is to blame workload which is not good for teacher morale.

Tory MSP says agencies' jargon filled language was often 'unintelligible'

Conservative MSP Liz Smith
bbc
Conservative MSP Liz Smith

Conservative MSP Liz Smith says these public bodies must be scrutinised.

Ms Smith says good quality scrutiny is entirely dependent on the evidence provided.

The Tory MSP says the Education Committee received a large volume of responses to its review.

She said the issue of communication between and within the four bodies is what struck her most. 

Ms Smith says at times the jargon filled language was otfen unintelligible.

Government to bring forward relevant recommendations based on the governance review

Education Secretary John Swinney says the government will bring forward relevant recommendations based on the governance review.

Pupils
BBC

Mr Swinney says he welcomes the committees support for the government's ambition to rank in the top quartile of OECD countries.

The education secretary says the work will help to create a more focused education system to give pupils the best possible outcomes. 

Background: Scottish schools drop in world rankings

Pupils
Getty Images

Scotland's schools have recorded their worst ever performance in an international survey of pupils.

Scotland's scores for maths, reading and science all declined in the latest set of Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) figures.

It was the first time since the tests began in 2000 that all three subject areas were classed as "average", with none "above average".

Education Secretary John Swinney said the results made uncomfortable reading.

He said they showed that "radical reform" was needed if Scotland's education system was to become world-class again.

Minister concedes the Pisa figures were 'very challenging'

Education Secretary John Swinney
bbc
Education Secretary John Swinney

Mr Swinney says the gap between those with the most and those from the most deprived area, for postive destinations, continues to narrow.

He concedes there is legitimate ground to press for improvements in education but says there is solid grounds there already.

The minister says a commissioner for widening access to University has been appointed. 

He says the data on education before Christmas was very challenging.