Mark Griffin MSP

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Meeting of the Parliament 21 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Mark Griffin (Central Scotland) (Lab)

Like others, I congratulate Iain Gray on securing this evening’s debate on the report on Scottish science education that was published by the learned societies group on Scottish science education.

The report makes stark reading against the backdrop of the prediction, which Liz Smith highlighted, that by 2030 more than 7 million jobs in the UK will depend on science skills. Those STEM jobs are exactly the kind of jobs that we need—high-quality, highly skilled and highly paid jobs that emerging economies will struggle to compete with us for, and yet here, where we have that competitive advantage, we are choosing not to follow it through.

By 2030, the four and five-year-olds who will start primary school this summer will already be in work or will be in the final years of university study and about to enter the jobs market. In England, if current spending levels continue, the same pupils with the same academic ability and the same aptitude for science will have enjoyed more than 10 years of state education with 80 per cent more per head spent on science in primary schools and 27 per cent more in secondary schools. That is a massive head start in building the necessary skills to compete for those 7 million jobs.

My colleague described the situation in science teaching as “a perfect storm”, and, looking at the stats and the commentary that are provided in the science education report, it is hard to disagree with that. It states that, as I said, spending on science is significantly lower in Scotland than in England, that 57 per cent of schools do not have sufficient equipment to carry out lessons, that 44 per cent of primary schools and 80 per cent of secondary schools are unhappy with the level of funding for practical science lessons, and that 98 per cent of all schools have sought additional external funding from parents, teachers or other sources.

That issue alone—that 98 per cent of schools have sought external funding—is likely to have a bigger impact in more deprived areas where parents are not in a position to contribute to their child’s education. Hanzala Malik flagged that up. I take on board what the minister said about the small sample size and not being able to do as in depth an analysis as we would like but, if the report is accurate on that point, I would be interested to hear his view. Is the Government going to take forward any further work and how does it plan to tackle any educational inequality that arises as a result of more affluent communities finding it easier to fund their schools’ science provision?

Teacher numbers in science are falling and it is becoming harder to recruit new teachers. Staff and pupil morale has been affected and concerns have been outlined that some pupils might be less inclined to take up a science subject if it is perceived to be harder to pass and that overall exam grades could be affected. At the same time, we have seen science support and technician staff being reduced across the country as local authority education departments are trying to save money and focus on their core functions.



Meeting of the Parliament 21 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Mark Griffin

I take that on board. The difficulty is reflected in the levels of pay that science and engineering graduates enjoy. There is concern that we might get to a point at which the funding of science subjects and practical science makes it more difficult to study science subjects than it was when the member and I were at school.

I do not want to make a speech that is negative about the challenges that we face. The massive, positive driver to improve science provision in schools is the fact that, by 2030, there will be 7 million highly skilled, highly paid jobs in the United Kingdom that depend on science. Some of the young people who will access those jobs have not yet started school, so we have an opportunity to address the issues that science teachers and pupils are facing.

None of the issues in the report is insurmountable. I look forward to working with the Education and Culture Committee next week when we hear evidence in that regard, and I look forward to hearing from the minister about how he will take forward the science teaching agenda.

17:36  

Meeting of the Parliament 14 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 14, 2015
13. Mark Griffin (Central Scotland) (Lab)

To ask the Scottish Government whether it considers staffing levels in NHS Lanarkshire satisfactory. (S4O-03893)



Meeting of the Parliament 14 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Mark Griffin

Is the cabinet secretary aware that the out-of-hours service in Cumbernauld has now been closed since June 2014 because of a lack of available general practitioners, which means that local people now have to travel to Monklands hospital in Airdrie, which adds more pressure to that service? Does the cabinet secretary think that it is acceptable that that situation has been allowed to drag on for more than seven months? What action can she take to get Cumbernauld’s out-of-hours service operational again?



Education and Culture Committee 13 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Mark Griffin (Central Scotland) (Lab)

Thanks for the welcome, convener. I have no interests relevant to the work of the committee to declare.



Education and Culture Committee 13 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Mark Griffin

I am happy to nominate Siobhan McMahon.



Education and Culture Committee 13 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Mark Griffin

We have spoken about the increasing number of people who are participating in the arts. I have a question on where the balance lies in the strategy between increasing the number of people who are participating, and developing audiences and arts appreciation. Is that balance right? Without the audience, we do not really have the art.



Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee 17 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Mark Griffin (Central Scotland) (Lab)

Are you confident that Scottish Water will be able to meet its operating and investment targets within the financial boundaries that have been set by the water industry commissioner? What contingency plans are in place for potential financial shocks?



Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee 17 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Mark Griffin

The final determination came from the commission on 20 November. Does it make any changes that have implications for delivery of your business plan? Are you able to set out any of those implications?



Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee 17 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Mark Griffin

What are your key priorities for the upcoming business plan?

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-12120.1 Jenny Marra: 2020 Vision, the Strategic Forward Direction of the NHS—As an amendment to
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YesDefeated

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

S4M-12095.2 Alex Johnstone: Tackling Inequalities—As an amendment to motion S4M-12095 in the name of
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12095.1 Willie Rennie: Tackling Inequalities—As an amendment to motion S4M-12095 in the name of
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12095 Alex Neil: Tackling Inequalities—That the Parliament agrees that a strong, sustainable eco
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YesCarried

Selection of John Pentland MSP for appointment to the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body.
Not VotedCarried

S4M-12060.2 Hugh Henry: Commending the People who Keep Scotland Safe in Emergencies—As an amendment
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YesDefeated

S4M-12045.3 Shona Robison: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to motion S4M-12045 in the name of Rich
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NoCarried

S4M-12045.2 Jackson Carlaw: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to motion S4M-12045 in the name of Ric
>> Show more
NoDefeated

Search for other Motions lodged by Mark Griffin
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-10185.2: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 02/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09447.2: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/03/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08563: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 10/12/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08437: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 28/11/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08270.1: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 12/11/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-06836: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 03/06/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-06588: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 14/05/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-06373: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 26/04/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-05941: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 13/03/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-05830: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/03/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Mark Griffin
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4F-02558: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 26/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03958: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 19/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03893: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02402: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 17/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02240: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 04/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22092: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 11/07/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-21795: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 17/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-21794: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 17/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-21793: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 17/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-21796: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 17/06/2014 Show Full Question >>

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