Are John Swinney’s education reforms really empowering?

IT’S a good thing I’m not a betting woman. Caught on the hop by a BBC producer asking for my predictions for a Scottish Government Cabinet reshuffle that I hadn’t heard a peep about, I paused for a moment before saying: “Well, surely John Swinney has to go – these education reforms have been a disaster.”

To be fair, the Holyrood insiders weren’t that much closer to the mark – those tipped to go were Ewing, Cunningham and Hyslop, not Robison, Constance and Brown – but they were unanimous in asserting that the Deputy First Minister and Education Secretary would remain in both of those posts.

They were right, of course, but Swinney still managed to dominate the first half of the week’s news despite being one of few Cabinet secretaries staying put. The climbdown over his centrepiece education bill might suggest he is being kept in post not to keep up the good work, but to try and sort out a mess of his own creation.

Read the rest of this column at

Published in The National on June 29 2018.

Published by Shona Craven

Writer, editor, talking head

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