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Pupils in Scotland have fallen behind in science. Now the PM has attacked the country for its ‘neglect’ of schools. Is she right?

From James Watt’s steam engine to Dolly the sheep, Scotland is proud of its strong science tradition, so a recent fall in the international rankings of Scottish pupils in science is causing a degree of national soul-searching.

And as the political temperature rises, Scotland’s education performance is being used as ammunition against the SNP government. Theresa May accused Nicola Sturgeon of “neglect and mismanagement” of education when responding to the call for an independence referendum. The Scottish Conservative leader, Ruth Davidson, said at her party conference earlier this month that the SNP’s record on education was “an absolute disgrace” and “a mark of shame” and promised a “back to basics review” of Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence (CfE). Questioned at Holyrood last week about May’s attack, Sturgeon said merely: “The education secretary and I work to raise standards and close the attainment gap in our schools every single day.”

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May v Sturgeon: Scottish education swept up in political war of words © Guardian News & Media Ltd

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