Labour Back 'Fair Start Fund' In Education Plan

23 November 2015, 06:14 | Updated: 23 November 2015, 07:21

Head teachers will be given £1,000 for every poor child in their school and the discretion over how to spend it if Holyrood backs Labour's proposal for a fair start fund, Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has pledged.

Labour says the best people to make decisions about deprived children's educational needs are not government ministers or councillors but head teachers.

Its fair start fund is designed to devolve power beyond Holyrood and town halls directly into schools.

Labour will pave the way for the fund with an amendment to the Education Bill - which will require backing by a majority of MSPs in the SNP dominated chamber - and say it could be funded with a 50p top rate of income tax when the power is devolved to Holyrood.

The money would be allocated to each child who meets Labour's criteria, and head teachers empowered to decide how it should be spent to support their education.

Ms Dugdale said: "Education is the single most important economic policy we can pursue. If we can give every child a world class education then they, and Scotland, will be able to take advantage of the amazing opportunities the future will bring.

"That's why Scottish Labour will amend the Education Bill to use the new powers coming to the Scottish Parliament to create a fair start fund.

"Our fair start fund will mean £1,000 of extra investment in children from Scotland's poorest families so we can cut the gap between the richest and the rest in our classrooms

"We want to give the spending powers to head teachers, challenges in classrooms are different across the country, in fact they are different across the same city. That's why these decisions should be taken by head teachers rather than by an SNP Minister in Edinburgh.

"That's why we will amend the Education Bill to out into law our plans for a fairer Scotland. The First Minister has said that closing the attainment gap is her number one priority, if that's the case, the SNP should back our amendments.''