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19 May 2015, 07:10
Poverty cannot be an excuse for failure in Scottish education, Angela Constance will say in a major speech tonight.
The Education Secretary is set to address an audience at the University of Glasgow's Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change later.
She is expected to focus mainly on schools - analysing existing strengths and areas for improvement - when she sets out her "aspirations'' for the Scottish education system.
Ms Constance will use the platform to "take stock'' of some of the key issues in the sector, six months into her role as Education Secretary.
Improving literacy and numeracy, the role of parents and families, leadership in schools and the impact of austerity are all expected to feature as key themes during the address.
Speaking ahead of the event, Ms Constance said: "There is much to be proud of in our system, including a long term national plan for success in Curriculum for Excellence that is delivering improving outcomes for our children, as well as record exam results and a drop in those leaving school with no or few qualifications, record numbers of school leavers securing positive destinations and record proportions of Scots from the most deprived areas entering higher education.
"We should celebrate the progress that we have made, but I am clear that there is - and there will always be - a need to do more.
"Tackling inequity is a priority not only for the Scottish Government, but for me personally. It will never be acceptable for poverty to be an excuse for failure. It is our job - as parents, teachers and academics and in local and central government - to overcome that barrier, not use it as an excuse.
"I want Scotland to have an education system which ensures each child, in every community, has every chance to succeed; that leaves no child behind; that promotes and support excellence in learning through valued and supported teachers and a high quality workforce; that is ambitious for our children, that takes their aspirations for themselves and nurtures and develops those, so that they succeed in school and in life.
"I am passionate about realising these priorities for every child in Scotland.''