East Lothian Labour Party has welcomed John Swinney’s decision to shelve flagship legislation on the government’s supposed top priority.

The Cabinet Secretary has published a draft Education Bill – but then refused to introduce it to parliament.

The proposals essentially attempted to centralise aspects of the Scottish education system out of local authority control, and threatened to increase administrative burdens on head teachers.

The Bill has failed to win the support of teachers, unions and parents – and none of Holyrood’s parties except the Tories.

Labour said the mess was a result of John Swinney ignoring the real reform that our schools need – an end to austerity and proper funding.

Iain Gray MSP said:

“What a shambles from John Swinney. For two years parents, teachers, educationalists and the government’s own international advisers have told the Education Secretary that his Education Bill was unwanted, unnecessary and misguided.

“But he carried on regardless. Now, at the eleventh hour, his flagship legislation has sailed off into the sunset.

“This was the First Minister’s top priority, her sacred obligation, now reduced to just another last minute, cobbled together action plan. The only thing being fast tracked here is the mother of all ministerial climb downs.

“John Swinney failed to marshall support in or out of this parliament for his so called reforms. He should admit his Education Bill is dead and focus on the real reform our schools need, better funding, by restoring his cuts from school budgets and address the huge erosion of teachers’ pay.”

East Lothian Labour’s Education Spokesperson, Cllr Shamin Akhtar added:

“This climb down is a victory for common sense. Labour councillors here had opposed the legislation from the outset and consistently put forward the views of East Lothian’s schools first, while local head teachers were also unanimously of the view that it was not necessary.

“The Scottish Government should now listen to the concerns of parents and teachers and prioritise increasing funding for schools rather than interfering in their governance.”

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