Nicola Sturgeon The Andrew Marr Show

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Nicola Sturgeon

Recorded coverage of Andrew Marr interviewing Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon, from Sunday 14 May.

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Scotland's First Minister and leader of the Scottish Nationalists made it


absolutely clear at the start of the campaign for cheap product was all


about, independence was a part of the election and she is with me now.


Nicola Sturgeon, and that independent Scotland will children


be better able to read and write than they are now. Regardless of


whether or not Scotland becomes independent, in Scotland right now


we are focusing on improving education standards. Look at the


education system, we've expanded early years education, have a new


school curriculum in place praised by the OECD, record numbers of young


people leaving school with higher passes and advanced higher passes


and going into further education on training or employment. We


identified a particular issue with literacy and numerous and we are


determined to accelerate the progress into using the attainment


gap, we have a massive programme of reform under way to do that. On


literacy, your record is terrible, your own government figures show


among 13 and 14-year-olds, less than half are not performing well in


reading and writing, that's gone down from 70% in a few years under


the SNP. I've been very open that's not good enough but to put it into


context, we have a survey that measures pupils in the second year


of secondary school but measures than against the standards they are


expected to achieve in the third year of secondary school and we have


other information that shows by the time young people are in the third


year more than 80% are reaching the required level but we have a new


curriculum in place, the curriculum for excellence praised by the OECD


but they've made recommendations to us about how we improve teaching of


literacy and numerous. Right now we have the national improvement


framework, attainment challenge and an attainment fund putting in extra


resources to education. Frameworks and challenges and funds, do you


know what is going wrong? We've had advised the new curriculum for


excellence which I'm sure you're familiar with is about educating


young people to be good citizens, do not just absorb facts and figures...


I'm coming to accept the point, to encourage young people not just to


absorb facts and figures but analyse it and make sense of the world they


live in. It's the right thing to do but we have had advice we need to


have or are they focus within the curriculum on literacy and numerous


and that's what we are doing. We've introduced benchmarks for the


teaching of literacy and numerous, I'm interested... Benchmarks and all


the rest of it but under the SNP things have got worse and quite


dramatically. I would challenge that in terms of the general performance


of education, I look at it... On literacy, personal question. I'm not


denying that in terms of literacy and numerous and telling you for


doing to address it and use a frameworks and benchmarks, I look at


the debate in England about falling budgets in schools, we've taken a


decision to increase the budget schools have I100 and ?20 million,


money going directly to headteachers giving them the ability to invest in


measures they think will improve literacy and numerous it. You are


700 teachers short. Teacher recruitment is a challenge not just


in Scotland but in many countries and we are increasing teacher


intake, the DTC in Scotland is thinking of different ways to bring


different people into teaching, trying to encourage retired teachers


to come back into teaching and I've been frank about that. Would you pay


them more? We have negotiations with teaching unions about pay and


conditions of teachers, that's one of the issues we've always got to


keep in mind. But we need to be both frank about the challenges we have


an education, some of them not unique to Scotland but we have to


recognise the fundamentals of Scottish education in many respects


are very strong and I repeat, we have record numbers of young people


coming out of schools with higher and advanced higher passes and going


into what we call positive destinations. I'm focused on


improving these areas we need to improve also making sure we don't do


a disservice to teachers and pupils across the country is seen


everything about Scottish education is bad because emphatically it's


not. Let's return to what you said in the independence blueprint in


23rd team about the OECD rankings, you said Scottish pupils are


performed the OECD average in reading and science, the latest


results show we have halted a period of relative international decline


since 2000, can you tell me what happened? We've seen that situation


not as good as we wanted to be, Andrew, are not going to sit here


and deny that, we have a study and SS L M, a study the latest version


of which was published last week come it's a Sample survey and it


looks quite small numbers of pupils, one of the things we've done is


introduced the national improvement framework... Didn't challenge the


rankings when they are going well, you can hardly challenge them when


they are going badly. I didn't challenge them. I said this many


times before, I know how important a good education has been to me in my


life and I want every young person in Scotland to have the best


education and the vast majority of young people in Scotland get the


best of education but there are areas we need to do better and I'm


not shying away from that. Under the SNP something serious is gone wrong,


Scotland used to be one of the best educated countries in the world. In


many respects it still is. You have the power to change this and things


are going badly. On that is the numerous things are going badly but


in many other measures of Scottish education is not true, we are not


going backwards. Literacy and numerous ER important. You are


trying to conduct this interview on the basis I'm being defensive, I'm


not, I absolutely readily accept the areas we need to do better, that's


why we've put effort into the initiatives and reforms we are


taking forward and the point I was going to make earlier which I didn't


get the chance to finish is that we are actually introducing more


transparency so I can be held more accountable so instead of Sample


surveys like the ones we have we will have information on every pupil


in Scotland at the required levels, broken down, not just by local


authority but school by school, there'll be no hiding place any


politician. You said not so long ago you want to be judged by this Andrew


Nick Wood be on the line. You were looking a little like Mary Queen of


Scots. I don't wish to be Mary Queen of Scots, I've been First Minister


for two and a half years and I said when I became First Minister that


this would be the defining priority of how many years I am First


Minister and I hope that so why the time we are at the next Scottish


election I want to see improvement and we are talking about literacy


and numerous, the other big challenge rehab in Scotland which is


not unique to Scotland is to close the attainment gap between the


richest and young people and we are very focused on that. On some


measures, we don't measure it in exactly the same way, you and I have


had the discussion about University entrance before and the measurements


are different in Scotland and England but I'm not sitting here


wanting to make comparisons, I want Scotland to be the best on its own


terms. Let's move another aspect of domestic policy, is a discount


versus have to use the bags because of poor pay? Yes. That's happening


in Scotland according to the RCN spokesperson, it's happening in


Scotland and you have the power of the Scottish Parliament to set


public sector pay you can raise taxes and pay Scottish nurses


properly. We have work to tackle, I am going to set out what happens


with nursing pay and it's the same in the rest of the UK, we have the


independent pay review body and makes recommendations, the Scottish


Government on like the Westminster government has accepted those


recommendations, we have had a period of pay restraint in the


public sector because of the determination to detect... They've


lost 14% in terms over the past period and you can correct this. We


will continue to work through the pay review body to make sure nurses


get the pay they deserve, I except... Your post higher pay for


nurses. We didn't... The Royal College of Nursing is talking about


strike action. Let me set this up, we work through the pay review body,


we've agreed with the unions we will commission research but there is


another important point, because of the action we took in Scotland on


low pay and because of the commit and we gave nurses would always get


the entitlement to progression, a newly qualified nurse in Scotland is


paid ?300 more than a newly qualified nurse in England, somebody


at the bottom level of the agenda for change of smaller than that, we


protect the nurse bursary and for not asking students to pay tuition


fees so it's tough for nurses out there but we have done far more than


any other government in the UK to try and protect the pay of nurses.


You have said that independence is at the heart of this choice and you


have talked a lot about material changes. You have watched the way


that public opinion is going in Scotland. If the Conservatives move


ahead and you fall back in this election, isn't that the material


change? Let's see who wins the election in Scotland? Can I set out


my position? This is important. For me it is a question of whether at


the end of the Brexit process, Scotland get a choice about their


future. The position of the Tories and UK wide, no matter how badly


Brexit negotiations go, people have got to like it or lump it and I


don't agree with that and people in Scotland should have another choice


about their future. After we have left or before we have left? At the


end of the process, when the terms of Brexit are clear and people can


compare that with the terms and applications of independence. In


this election, there is a more immediate priority and opportunity


for Scotland and that is making sure our voice is heard in the Brexit


negotiations. That is an important point. There is a lot of concern


even among some people who voted to leave that we are heading down the


road of a very extreme Brexit. The Scottish Government previously


published proposals that would have accepted leaving the EU but


protected our place in the single market, and the Prime Minister


dismissed those proposals out of hand. She thought it was


impractical. She didn't look at them seriously. This election gives the


Scottish people the chance to give democratic legitimacy to those


proposals. Whether you voted leave remain, whether you will yes or no


in 2014, if you vote SNP, you are strengthening my hand to make sure


Scotland's voices heard in these negotiations and we don't sacrifice


jobs and our economy and we can arrest the case with Scotland's


place in the single market. A lot of SNP voters voted to leave the EU.


You have said in a past that Scotland must be a full member of


the EU after independence and it has been suggested by some people that


EFTA would be all right. Our position continues to be that we


want Scotland to be a full member of the European Union. We don't want to


go into the Euro and no member of the EU can be forced into the Euro


and Sweden is one example of that. What we did at the end of last year


would recognise... The majority of Scotland voted remain and some voted


leave and Scotland voted differently to England, though we try to see if


there was compromise ground and we put forward proposals that would


have accepted that we were leaving the EU as part of UK that try to


protect single market. And I ask you, yes or no, with independent


Scottish membership EFTA be unacceptable, mice in these


circumstances, yes or no? My position is that I want Scotland to


be in the EU. If we have an independence referendum, we would


set out the process of regaining or retaining EU membership depending


where we are in the Brexit process. It might be that we have a phased


approach to that by necessity. EFTA first? By necessity. We have got to


stipulate that at the time because there are still many uncertainties


behind the Brexit process. In this election, if we want to have a


chance of protecting our place in the single market, on which 80,000


Scottish jobs depend, vote SNP to strengthen our hand. You got that


line out at the end. Thank you for joining us in the studio in London.


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