Kezia Dugdale MSP

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Meeting of the Parliament 29 January 2015 : Thursday, January 29, 2015
1. Kezia Dugdale (Lothian) (Lab)

To ask the First Minister what engagements she has planned for the rest of the day. (S4F-02555)

That is, other than the important matter of the tennis.



Meeting of the Parliament 29 January 2015 : Thursday, January 29, 2015
Kezia Dugdale

On 25 February last year, the schools minister, Alasdair Allan, said that a small minority of pupils would be sitting the old highers this year. This week, we learned that almost half of Scotland’s pupils will be sitting the old higher. What has gone wrong?



Meeting of the Parliament 29 January 2015 : Thursday, January 29, 2015
Kezia Dugdale

I would have, except that Mike Russell told the chamber:

“I do not believe that any teacher in Scotland who has the right support, the right help and the right leadership ... cannot rise to the challenge and deliver the conclusion of a programme that has been eight years in the making.”—[Official Report, 8 March 2012; c 7003.]

There is concern from parents, teachers and pupils across Scotland, and we know from the past that, when there is a problem in our education system, it is the kids from the poorest backgrounds who suffer the most.

It is worrying that the schools minister clearly did not know what was going on with the highers system. I hope that the First Minister will know what is going on with the appeals system. Last year, the Scottish National Party Government started to charge for exam appeals. Freedom of information responses to the Scottish Labour Party show that, for state pupils, the money for an appeal must come from either the school budget or the council budget, and we all know that money is tight. However, the parents of private school pupils can pay for the appeals themselves. Can the First Minister tell us whether the number of exam appeals from state school pupils has gone up or down in the last year?



Meeting of the Parliament 29 January 2015 : Thursday, January 29, 2015
Kezia Dugdale

The First Minister wants to quote Larry Flanagan. I can play that game. He said:

“Appeals should be based upon the professional judgment of teachers rather than on the wishes of the parent and what is now happening is fundamentally wrong”.

The First Minister does not have a clue what the answer to my question is, so let me tell her. The reality is that, since the SNP started to charge for appeals, the number of appeals from state school pupils has fallen by 55,000. Even if we factor in the fall in the number of exams, that is a drop of more than 75 per cent in just one year. Good exam results can make the difference between a pupil going to university and a pupil not going to university. For disadvantaged kids in particular, that can be a deal breaker.

Let me ask the First Minister another question. Since the SNP started charging for appeals, has the number of appeals from private schoolkids fallen at a faster or slower rate than the rate by which it has fallen for state school pupils in Scotland?



Meeting of the Parliament 29 January 2015 : Thursday, January 29, 2015
Kezia Dugdale

Once again, the First Minister does not have a clue. The truth is that the proportion of appeals from privately educated pupils is now double the rate for state schoolkids.

The system now favours private school pupils more than ever. Parents of private school pupils can buy their kids a second chance. Parents of private school pupils can put their hands in their pockets to help their kids, but parents of state school pupils cannot do so. It is no wonder that just 220 kids from the poorest backgrounds in Scotland get the grades that they need to make it to our top universities.

The SNP’s record on educational inequality is clear for all to see. Teacher numbers are down by more than 4,000, appeals from state school pupils have plummeted by 55,000, and kids from the poorest backgrounds are being left behind. People in Scotland simply want to know this: is this the fairer Scotland that the First Minister promised?



Meeting of the Parliament 29 January 2015 : Thursday, January 29, 2015
Kezia Dugdale (Lothian) (Lab)

The Chilcot inquiry report should be published as soon as possible. Today’s motion could have been agreed while saving debating time in the chamber for matters that require our urgent attention, such as the crisis in our national health service, the failure of schools to tackle educational disadvantage, and the threat to jobs in the North Sea.

On this side of the chamber, there is no quarrel with the position that Chilcot should be published as quickly as is possible. Chilcot must be allowed to publish when ready; there should be no question of any pressure to delay. The full truth of the decision to go to war and the failings during and after the conflict must be fully aired so that they may be learned from and never repeated. Members may recall that, before my own time in Parliament, this chamber did not vote to oppose the war when the question was put before it.

What we will not support if we hear it today is talk of using the Chilcot inquiry as a political tactic. It is too important for that. The report is a matter of national importance, not of nationalist posturing. In the years since the Iraq war, many things have become clear: that the intelligence behind the decision to go to war was wrong—



Meeting of the Parliament 29 January 2015 : Thursday, January 29, 2015
Kezia Dugdale

No, thank you.

It has become clear that the Iraqi people were let down by a failure of post-war planning and that the price in lives lost was far too high.

We have a duty to learn lessons because we owe that to our service personnel—not just those who gave their lives defending us, but those who continue to defend us every day. I hope that, as well as debating the past, the Parliament and the Scottish Government can find more time to debate and deal with the many problems that veterans who live in Scotland face.

We all hope for fresh insights and understanding when Chilcot reports, but I hope—perhaps naively—that, as with previous inquiries, those who call loudest for the report’s publication are not also the first to claim that it is a whitewash. The report is an opportunity for deeper understanding, not for rerunning political arguments of a decade ago. In an increasingly complex middle east, we surely need that.



Meeting of the Parliament 29 January 2015 : Thursday, January 29, 2015
Kezia Dugdale

No, thank you.

It is clear that there is a thirst for democracy across the middle east, but as that has created hope it has uncovered competing interests and at times dangerous conflict.



Meeting of the Parliament 29 January 2015 : Thursday, January 29, 2015
Kezia Dugdale

No, thank you.

A sustainable peace between the Israeli people and the Palestinian people seems as far off as ever in the region. Petro-economies are struggling to meet the demands and fulfil the dreams of angry young populations. Confusing coalitions are shifting and regional power struggles are playing out at the expense of the poorest. A region that already had too many displaced people now finds itself home to 3.8 million new refugees from Syria. Across the region and far beyond Iraq, in countries that had nothing to do with the conflict, extremists who abuse Islam are killing innocent people. They are doing so in Syria and northern Nigeria and from Pakistan to Paris.



Meeting of the Parliament 29 January 2015 : Thursday, January 29, 2015
Kezia Dugdale

No, thank you.

Little wonder world affairs commentators have a new acronym for the region: BAD, which stands for broken, angry and dysfunctional.

What matters is not what side of an argument a person was on a decade ago; what matters is learning from the past and working for a more peaceful and secure future.

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-12182.1 Alex Fergusson: The Chilcot Inquiry—As an amendment to motion S4M-12182 in the name of N
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AbstainDefeated

S4M-12182 Nicola Sturgeon: The Chilcot Inquiry—That the Parliament calls for Sir John Chilcot’s offi
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12176 John Swinney: Community Charge Debt (Scotland) Bill—That the Parliament agrees to the gene
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12160.2 Michael Matheson: Women Offenders—As an amendment to motion S4M-12160 in the name of Kez
>> Show more
AbstainCarried

S4M-12160.3 Margaret Mitchell: Women Offenders—As an amendment to motion S4M-12160 in the name of Ke
>> Show more
AbstainDefeated

S4M-12160 Kezia Dugdale: Women Offenders—That the Parliament welcomes the decision of the Scottish G
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YesCarried

S4M-12154.1 Lewis Macdonald: Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) – Supporting Indivi
>> Show more
Not VotedDefeated

S4M-12120.1 Jenny Marra: 2020 Vision, the Strategic Forward Direction of the NHS—As an amendment to
>> Show more
Not VotedDefeated

S4M-12101 John Swinney: Budget (Scotland) (No.4) Bill—That the Parliament agrees to the general prin
>> Show more
AbstainCarried

S4M-12095.4 Ken Macintosh: Tackling Inequalities—As an amendment to motion S4M-12095 in the name of
>> Show more
YesDefeated

Search for other Motions lodged by Kezia Dugdale
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-12160: Kezia Dugdale, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 26/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11648: Kezia Dugdale, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 21/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11268: Kezia Dugdale, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 22/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10384: Kezia Dugdale, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 18/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10241: Kezia Dugdale, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10131: Kezia Dugdale, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 27/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09915.1: Kezia Dugdale, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 02/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09893: Kezia Dugdale, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 01/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09798: Kezia Dugdale, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 23/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09669: Kezia Dugdale, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 07/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Kezia Dugdale
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4F-02555: Kezia Dugdale, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 26/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02533: Kezia Dugdale, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 19/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02518: Kezia Dugdale, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 12/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02503: Kezia Dugdale, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02483: Kezia Dugdale, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 15/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03777: Kezia Dugdale, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02428: Kezia Dugdale, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23030: Kezia Dugdale, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23031: Kezia Dugdale, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03616: Kezia Dugdale, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 21/10/2014 Show Full Question >>

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