By Dougie Atkinson, Senior Professional Officer for Scotland
Voice Community Scotland has welcomed the appointment of Shirley-Anne Somerville as the new Education Secretary.
We look forward to working with her on the many challenges facing education in Scotland following the pandemic.
I appreciate the Minister will have a very full in-tray, but at the top of her priority list must be:
- education recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic;
- reducing the workload of teachers and other education and early years and childcare professionals alike;
- teachers' pay – the offer currently on the table is an insult to the efforts of taff who have put so much effort over the last year to provide high quality educational experiences for Scotland’s young people; and
- ensuring adequate resources are provided to actually make inroads into the attainment gap that has widened over the last 15 months.
We look forward to meeting with her as soon as we can to discuss these and many other education matters in Scotland.
Educated at Kirkcaldy High School, Shirley-Anne Somerville then graduated from the University of Strathclyde with a BA (Hons) in Economics and Politics (1996), followed by a Diploma in Housing Studies at the University of Stirling and a Diploma in Public Relations from Queen Margaret University College.
She has worked as a parliamentary researcher, a Policy and Public Affairs Officer at the Chartered Institute of Housing, and as a Media and Campaigns Officer at the Royal College of Nursing.
Shirley-Anne was previously an MSP for the Lothians region from 2007 to 2011, and returned to the Scottish Parliament in 2016 as MSP for Dunfermline. She was appointed Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science in May 2016, and was then appointed Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People in June 2018.
She now becomes Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, taking forward work on COVID recovery within the education system, as well as continuing the Government’s mission to further close the attainment gap.