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Live Reporting

Craig Hutchison and Louise Wilson

All times stated are UK

  1. That's all from Holyrood Live


    That's all from Holyrood Live on Wednesday 6 November 2019.

    A new report warning about the challenges around the delivery of the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) was highlighted by Scottish Conservative education spokesperson Liz Smith.

    The report from Professor Jim Scott of Dundee University says the CfE has had a "significant negative impact" on children's attainment.

    Ms Smith told the chamber attainment in Highers had fallen for four years in a row.

    John Swinney hit back refuting the claim the attainment gap was widening.

    The education secretary argued the gap at Higher level had fallen every single year for the last eight years.

    Labour's Iain Gray insisted the problems lay with the management and structures of the CfE, while Beatrice Wishart called on the government to "fix what is wrong" as she spoke for the Lib Dems.

  2. Nurturing Scotland's language central to government agenda

    Education Secretary John Swinney

    Education Secretary John Swinney says it an enormous privilege to hold ministerial responsibility for Scotland's languages.

    Nurturing these languages is a central part of the government's agenda, he says.

    We have a successful Gaelic medium education sector he says and he also highlights the benefits the language has on the creative sector, including Gaelic TV.

    Mr Swinney says an increasing number of public bodies and local authorities have Gaelic plans in place.

    There is a moral imperative on all of us to promote our indigenous languages, he says.

  3. Green MSP welcomes the promotion of Gaelic

    Green MSP John Finnie
    Image caption: Green MSP John Finnie

    John Finnie says he knows people who were belted for speaking Gaelic at school, which was not that long ago.

    The Green MSP pivots to praising Highlands and Islands Council for promoting the language now.

    He says he understands Polish is the second most popular language in the Highlands and he expresses his hopes that immigration to the area will continue.

  4. Losing a language will see the loss of culture and heritage says Labour MSP

    Labour MSP Rhoda Grant

    Labour MSP Rhoda Grant says a generation ago, indigenous languages and dialects were frowned upon and discouraged.

    Now they are nearly gone we are beginning to see their worth she says.

    Losing a language will see the loss of culture and heritage too, she warns.

    The number of Gaelic speakers continues to fall, Ms Grant says, and she calls for increased efforts to preserve it and to gain UNESCO status.

  5. Tory MSP calls for more Gaelic output

    Donald Cameron
    Image caption: Donald Cameron

    Donald Cameron thanks Angus MacDonald for bringing this debate to the chamber and for his passion for Gaelic.

    The Tory MSP tells the chamber he has tried to learn Gaelic and points out around 60,000 people in Scotland speak the language to some degree.

    "I'm not going to inflict my Gaelic on the chamber tonight," he says.

    Mr Cameron says current policies in Scotland focus on new learners but we must also consider those who already speak Gaelic.

    He highlights BBC Alba's output, but calls for even more to be done.

  6. SNP MSP highlights Scots and Gaelic languages

    Mr MacDonald

    Mr MacDonald says the Year of Indigenous Language highlights the impact the loss of languages can have on culture as a dominant language eclipses it.

    The SNP MSP says Scots has survived against the odds, highlighting that in the past some children were punished for speaking Scots at school.

    Gaelic remains closest to my heart he tells the chamber, though expresses concern that it is considered an endangered language.

    He welcomes efforts by the Scottish government to save the language via Gaelic medium education.

  7. Background: Gaelic school opens in Portree in Skye

    Bun-Sgoil Ghàidhlig Phort Rìgh

    Education Secretary John Swinney opened a new Gaelic school in Skye in September 2018.

    The primary in Portree is the third standalone Gaelic medium education school in the Highland Council area.

    Bun-Sgoil Ghàidhlig Phort Rìgh opened to pupils in April 2018. It has 133 primary pupils and 47 nursery children.

    Highland Council said there was capacity at the site to expand the school in the future.

    Read more.

  8. SNP MSP leads debate on languages

    SNP MSP Angus MacDonald is leading this evening's member's debate on the UN Year of Indigenous Languages and European Day of Languages.

    His lengthy motion highlights the importance of languages to culture, including Gaelic and Scots, and suggests proficiency in a least two languages is important to "play their full part in democratic citizenship in Europe".

  9. Tory motion from the CfE debate agreed to, as amended by government

    Here's the government amendment
    Tory motion

    MSPs agree unanimously to back John Swinney's amendment relating to the review of the CfE.

    The Tory motion, as amended by the SNP, is also passed unanimously.

    Labour amendment

    The Labour amendment was rejected with 51 MSPs backing it and 59 against.

  10. Government successfully amend Tory ferry motion

    The Scottish government's amendment to the Tory motion on ferries is agreed, with 64 votes for and 46 against.

    The Labour amendment is not agreed (19 for and 91 against).

    The final motion, as amended, is agreed with 63 MSPs backing it and 46 voting against.

    Tory motion
    Image caption: This is the Tory motion on the ferry debate
    Scottish government's amendment
    Image caption: And the agreed Scottish government amendment
  11. Background: MSPs call for 'urgent action' over school subject choice


    In May MSPs voted to recognise "serious concerns" about "fundamental failings" around subject choice in schools.

    More than half of the pupils who responded to a Holyrood survey said they were not able to take all of the subjects they wanted to at school.

    And opposition members defeated the government to call for "urgent action" after a debate on Wednesday.

    Education Secretary John Swinney said a wide range of subjects was available, and that exam passes were on the up.

  12. Lib Dem MSP calls for government to fix what is going wrong

    Lib Dem MSP Beatrice Wishart
    Image caption: Lib Dem MSP Beatrice Wishart

    Lib Dem MSP Beatrice Wishart says she is not calling for wholesale change but for the government to fix what is going wrong before an entire cohort of young people are disadvantaged.

    Ms Wishart argues we should not have to rely solely on Professor Scott to provide analysis of the curriculum.

    She says we must make sure our young people flow out of school with all the skills they need to succeed in what they do next.

    The senior phase for this review must be an opportunity for real improvement, the Lib Dem MSP concludes.

  13. Link between attainment and poverty highlighted

    Green MSP Ross Greer

    Green MSP Ross Greer says the chamber agrees in the idea behind curriculum for excellence, but he says its implementation was not properly resourced.

    He also says it has been left to academics to consider the impact of the change, asking where was the body for inspection.

    It would be wrong to pretend the issues are all to do with education policy, the Green MSP says, pointing to rising poverty which he attributes to UK government welfare policy.

    Closing the attainment gap will not happen at a time when poverty is growing, he argues.

  14. Problems lie with management of CfE

    Mr Gray tells the chamber that in May 2015, Labour first raised Professor Scott's work in the chamber but the Scottish government dismissed it and there are now consistent downward trends.

    The Labour MSP says the problems lie not with the teaching staff but with the management and structures of the CfE.

    He argues it is absolutely critical that the review moves forward and moves forward quickly.

  15. Here is the Labour amendment

    Labour amendment
  16. Some languages facing existential threat says Labour MSP

    Labour MSP Iain Gray

    Labour MSP Iain Gray begins by criticising the fact the Scottish government has not brought forward a debate on school education in some time, with many of the recent ones being taken in opposition time.

    He describes Prof Jim Scott's analysis as "very worrying", adding fewer qualifications have been achieved than might have been expected.

    This impact is not uniform he states, saying the pupils leaving without qualifications are "at the sharpest end of the attainment gap".

    The drop in enrollment at S5 is hitting STEM subjects and modern languages hardest, with some languages facing existential threat in our schools, he states.

  17. Swinney says independent review of senior phase important

    Mr Swinney cites investment through the Scottish Attainment Challenge and the Pupil Equity Fund.

    He reminds the chamber of the independent review of the senior phase he has instigated.

    The Scottish government ordered a full review of the senior phase of education in secondary schools in September.

    The move followed a critical report by MSPs on the Scottish Parliament's education committee, who examined how S4, S5 and S6 work.

    Mr Swinney tells the chamber is an important exercise to look not just at one point of the evidence, but all of it.

  18. Swinney refutes claim attainment gap is widening

    Education Secretary John Swinney

    Education Secretary John Swinney says this debate is focused on one particular paper but to improve education we must take a range of expert analysis into account.

    He refutes the claim the attainment gap is widening.

    The gap at Higher level has reduced every single year for the last eight years, the cabinet secretary tells the chamber.

    Regarding recent reports on an increase in pupils leaving school with no qualifications, Mr Swinney says this research focused on those leaving school without qualifications of level 3 and above.

    However, many pupils left with other course awards, including those at level 2, employability awards or modern languages for life and work awards.

  19. Here's the government amendment....

  20. Tory MSP expresses concern about falling attainment in Highers

    Ms Smith says in 2019 for the fourth year there was a falling attainment in Highers.

    The Tory MSP says Mr Swinney said the summer results were a strong set of results and he wasn't concerned about.

    The education secretary intervenes to ask Ms Smith if the 75% rate in Highers was a strong performance by pupils in Scotland.

    She hits back citing concern in the downturn of the Higher pass rate for four years in a row.