Scottish Tories pledge to provide 3,000 more teachers
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross plans to spend £550m on 3,000 more teachers for Scotland if his party gains power at next year's Holyrood election.
He also aims to give every primary pupil a free breakfast and lunch and find a new way to measure and target the poverty-related attainment gap.
Mr Ross said the Tories would make education the country's "top priority".
The Scottish government says teacher numbers are the highest in a decade.
Launching his manifesto pledge, Mr Ross said he also planned to have a national tutoring programme, for maths and English particularly, and a new school and education inspection body to improve performance.
"Scotland's schools were once the envy of the world," he said. "Now, too many pupils see their ambitions dashed by a system stacked against them," he said.
"Every year, thousands of Scottish children are unfairly judged by where they live and are left behind, robbed of their chance to succeed because the government puts its own ambitions before theirs."
He said the SNP would "never choose schools over separation".
"Six years to the day from the independence referendum, despite polling today confirming Scottish people have more important priorities, the SNP still won't put their own goals to one side, even in the middle of a pandemic," he added.
"We owe it to the next generation to move on from the division of 2014 and finally make education our country's top priority."
Mr Ross said the £550m would come via the UK government's levelling-up strategy and savings on key projects.
Scottish government figures show that in 2007, the year the SNP came to power, there were 55,089 full-time equivalent teachers.
By 2014, this had fallen to 50,814. But the most recent statistics, published in 2019, show a rise to 52,247.
The figures include school-based teachers, those categorised as centrally-employed and early learning and childcare teachers.
Loss of learning
In July, the Scottish government announced funding to hire 1,400 additional teachers, but last month the EIS teaching union said an extra 3,500 would be neededRead More – Source[contf] [contfnew]