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5 January 2016, 06:55
Education will be front and centre of the SNP's third term in government if it is re-elected in May, Nicola Sturgeon has pledged.
The First Minister will outline her plan to double the duration of government-funded childcare to 30 hours a week, in a speech to Holyrood.
She will this week publish a National Improvement Framework for Education, designed to spark a four-month debate on education ahead of the forthcoming Scottish Parliament election.
In her speech the First Minister is expected to say: "Over the next four months there must be a great, ambitious and thriving debate in Scotland.
"A debate about how to build on our achievements, address the challenges that we face, and in so doing realise the full potential of our nation.
"I am determined that, for the SNP, education will be front and centre of our plans for a third term in government.
"Later this week, I will publish the new national improvement framework for education, which focuses firmly on our objective of closing the attainment gap in education.
"But the task of giving young people the best start in life must start in the early years.
"That is why our most transformational infrastructure investment in the next parliament will not be in a bridge or a road.
"It will be our investment to transform childcare provision, providing parents with 30 hours a week of government-funded childcare, enabling them to return to work, to pursue their careers and to know that their children are being well cared for, well educated and given the best start of life.
"And, as I have made clear already, as we extend childcare, we will focus just as much on quality as on quantity, with investment in teaching skills - especially in our most deprived areas - as well as in bricks and mortar.''