Highlands and Islands MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston has been appointed Shadow Minister for Education after new Scottish Conservative Leader Jackson Carlaw reshuffled his team.
Mr Halcro Johnston, who previously served as Shadow Minister for Jobs, Employability and Training under Ruth Davidson and then Jackson Carlaw’s interim leadership, said he was delighted to have the opportunity to take a lead in developing the Scottish Conservatives’ education policy ahead of the next Scottish Parliament elections in 2021.
Mr Halcro Johnston said he was looking forward to working with his friend and colleague Jamie Greene MSP, who takes over as new Shadow Education Secretary. And he paid tribute to the previous education team of Liz Smith and Oliver Mundell, who he said had ensured education was always at the forefront of the debate at Holyrood.
Mr Halcro Johnston said: “I am delighted to have been appointed Shadow Education Minister and I’m looking forward to taking on what is such an important and wide-ranging brief.
“Scottish education was once the gold standard. But with the flagship Education Bill dropped, PISA figures showing standards falling in key areas, subject choices limited and Scottish students turned away from Scottish universities, Scottish education has suffered years of neglect under the current Scottish Government.
“What was meant to be a priority area for the SNP has now become one of embarrassment for Nicola Sturgeon and her party.
“It is vital that our young people get the education they deserve and they need to fulfil their potential. That our educators have the support they need to do the job they are so passionate about, and can do so in the right environment. And that Scotland has the highly skilled workforce we require to grow our economy and meet the challenges of the future.
“These are just some of the challenges we face, and I’m excited to be part of the team now tasked with developing the new and innovative policies needed to meet those challenges”.