Glenrothes Gazette/East Fife Mail Column – Published 9 August 2023
We can all remember the nerves surrounding exam time at school and the feeling when your exam results came through the letter box a few months later. I am in no doubt that young people the length and breadth of the country will have felt the same on Tuesday. While this week may seem like every other one within the summer holidays, for thousands of young people across Scotland, it is full of significance as their hard work and dedication to their studies for the 2022-23 academic year concludes with exam results day.
As a former teacher I have seen, and continue to see, first-hand the positive impact which education has on our young people across Scotland and the opportunities which present themselves following secondary school.
Notwithstanding, our young people should remember that exams do not define you, nor your future. Recent figures demonstrated that 95.7% of all school leavers in 2021-22 were in a positive destination three months after the end of the school year, whether this be higher or further education, or training.
It is important to me that the Scottish Government continues to support the sector to ensure the best possible start for pupils. Recent research showed spend per pupil across Scotland remains higher than the rest of the UK by 18% at £8,500 per year. It is crucial that appropriate funding and investment is made across Scotland to support and enhance the learning environment for our school pupils.
As the constituency MSP I am lucky to see not only the positive work within local primary and secondary schools, but a wide array of educational opportunities across my constituency. In a recent visit to the Levenmouth Rail Link, I learned more about the Rail Skills Academy, which is providing local young people with the training and hands-on experience required to develop a career in Scotland’s railway. The Levenmouth Rail team have also been active in providing a number of STEM events for pupils attending Levenmouth High School – which is certainly welcome. We want the next generation to use our railway and I hope that many local young people might take up the opportunity after school and choose a career in rail.
For young people across Mid Fife and Glenrothes, there are a variety of pathways into higher or further education, apprenticeships or employment after school.
I’d like to wish every young person in my constituency every success in the future, whatever pathway they choose after school.