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31 August 2016, 05:55
An expert panel set up to help Holyrood ministers improve Scotland's education system is meeting for the first time today.
The Scottish Government has recruited specialists from across the globe to be part of its International Council of Education Advisers.
Both First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who set up the new group after May's Scottish Parliament elections, and Deputy First Minister John Swinney will be present for the discussions.
As the panel - which includes members from the US, Canada, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Malaysia, Australia and the UK - prepared to begin its work, Ms Sturgeon stressed the importance of closing the attainment gap between rich and poor pupils in Scotland's schools.
The First Minister said: "Education is the top priority for this government and I want to ensure that Scotland is a global leader.
"A huge amount of work has been done already to drive up attainment and improve the life chances of every pupil across Scotland, but we know there is more to do.
"That is why the work being taken forward by this independent body of international experts is so important.
"I want them to challenge and scrutinise our plans for reform to ensure they are as robust as possible as we look to ensure Scotland's education system promotes excellence for generations to come.''