It wasn’t quite Tony Blair’s ‘education, education, education’ speech but education was a centre point of Sturgeon’s first address to Holyrood after the election earlier this year. 

Here’s Sturgeon, speaking to Parliament in May 2016: 

I believe Scotland has a good education system. We have great schools and teachers. We have a new curriculum, record exam passes and more young people leaving school to go onto positive destinations.”

But the most recent Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) figures do not paint a pretty picture. The following table is taken from the BBC’s report on the PISA stats: 

    As you can see, there’s little doubt about where PISA think our education standards are going. 

    These results present three problems for the government and the SNP. 

    One, they’re being led by a First Minister who wants to be judged by her record on education. 

    Two, the Scottish Government have been in power for ten years now so, although the table above shows the standards slipping under the previous administration, they’ve had ample time to address the underlying issues. 

    Short term these problems are unlikely to cause the government much of a problem beyond the usual political attack from the Conservatives and Labour

    But, occurring so early in the Parliament and having staked so much of her reputation on this policy area Sturgeon will face a third, more damaging problem in the long-term: one of credibility. 

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