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The latest news and ideas from ScotlandCan, setting out the fresh thinking and the positive ideas about what Scotland can do now.

To Improve Schools Across the UK, Let’s Learn From Each Other

Last week, the Times published a hefty report from its Education Commission. It arrived at a moment of change in education systems across the UK. So as each nation heads into the choppy waters of reform, what could they learn from this doorstep report? And what does it tell us about devolution itself?

Make Scotland Healthier? Make Veg Cheaper

The debate around how to improve our nation’s health has come round once again, and rightly so as Scotland is facing an obesity issue, with 65% of the population being overweight or obese. We need to have a better understanding of food and improve our overall relationship with food if we want to improve the nation’s health. 

A Hot Classroom with a ZX Spectrum

ThYou don’t have to be a policy expert to know that technology is the key to the future. It will increase efficiency, drive change and grow our economy, it is also paramount to our national security and resilience. Which makes it all the more baffling that this generation's affinity with technology is not being supported by Scotland’s education system. In fact, almost unbelievably, the exact opposite is happening.

We Have a Scottish Book Town. Why Not More?

Wigtown gained its status as the country’s National Book Town in the late 1990s. The idea came from academics at Strathclyde University which had seen the success of Hay-on-Wye, the national book town of Wales, and thought Scotland should have its equivalent. Up till then, the town had been in sharp decline. After winning the competition, everything changed.

Report: Scotland and USA at Bottom of Life Expectancy League Table

A major new study by health academics has exposed changes in life expectancy in the USA and 19 other western nations between 2019 and 2021, the period of the pandemic. But before we all have our say over what is going wrong on the other side of the Atlantic, shouldn’t we look a little closer to home as well?

Dear Permanent Secretary…

Former civil servant Michael Graham says the Scottish Government has been politicised from top to toe by the SNP. Here he writes on how Scotland’s new chief mandarin can restore trust.

And for my next trip…

Nicola Sturgeon is back home after her visit to the USA. However, without any obvious trade deal or economic benefit accruing from the visit, it looks like the trip will be marked down as another item in the Scottish Government’s news grid that is forgotten about within a week. I’d like to suggest that, for her next foreign visit, the First Minister does something a little more long-lasting.

Let’s harness the power of communities to end child food poverty in the UK

The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted upon household food security across the UK, and exposed widening health inequalities. The most deprived households with children, have been particularly affected, with 2.3 million children experiencing food insecurity between August 2020 and January 2021. During this time, the voluntary sector has made important contributions in tackling child food poverty. The future sustainability of such models of funding is, however, unclear.  

Charge your Engines: ​How To Power Up Scotland’s Electric Dream

Electric Vehicles are vitally important to Scotland’s climate change plans, not least to phase out new petrol and diesel cars by 2030. Yet with less than 8 years to go, there are nowhere near enough charging points in Scotland.

“The Scottish Parliament has been only a partial success, certainly less successful than campaigners hoped for at the onset in 1997. It can do better.”

Nigel Smith was “the most influential campaigner you’ve never heard of” and one of the architects of devolution. Two years after his untimely passing, his family have published his thoughts on the Scottish Parliament’s record – and how we can revive the “new politics”.

How Many More Deaths From Drowning Before We Teach Scots Kids to Swim?

Swimming is a fundamental life skill because it can save your life, and in some cases save other lives. Yet Scottish Swimming states that 40% of Scotland’s children leave school not knowing how to swim, well over a third. These distressing stories every summer of yet another young person found dead from drowning can be prevented.

Enough of the warm words: SNP should act to make Scotland a magnet for migrants

Scotland has a problem. No, not that one. Or that one. It’s a problem that if you squint your eyes, you can see, menacingly, on the horizon. Its distance makes it all the more challenging to solve, as politicians focus on the present and at furthest the next election.

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