THE Scottish Government’s Holyrood opponents have lauded the exam success of the educational system, despite party leaders spending so much time criticising it in the past.

The National reported last week that Michelle Ballantyne, the Conservative South of Scotland list MSP, had lodged a Parliamentary motion praising the record exam success of pupils in the Borders, despite her leader Ruth Davidson claiming the Scottish education system was “not working”.

The Conservatives claimed the success happened “despite” the SNP Government, but the motion did not mention the hard work of teachers and other school staff, which upset Scottish teachers’ union the EIS.

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Now other MSPs have lodged similar motions, and at least one Tory MSP appears to have learned the lesson from Ballantyne, mentioning teachers.

Liam Kerr, Conservative list MSP for North East Scotland, lodged a motion praising the SQA exam results at St Margaret’s School for Girls in Aberdeen.

He wrote that “the overall results were excellent across all levels” and cited a 92 per cent pass rate at Advanced Higher level, a 90 per cent pass rate at Higher level, with almost half achieving at least five straight A passes. His motion “further acknowledges that for those sitting National 5, there was a 98 per cent pass rate overall.”

He asks that Parliament “commends the teachers for their hard work and dedication, as well as all the pupils’ parents for the support that they give their children, and wishes all the pupils every success for the future”.

Kerr has also lodged a motion “that the Parliament congratulates school pupils in Angus and the Mearns on the recent SQA exam results that show that attainment had been maintained or improved across almost all indicators”.

His motion “acknowledges that the significant progress that was recently made in Angus has been maintained; recognises that half of S4 pupils across Aberdeenshire achieved five or more National 5 qualifications, an increase of 2 per cent; understands that 43 per cent of S5 pupils gained three or more Highers in one sitting, an increase of 4 per cent.”

The motion also commends teaching staff, parents and carers across the region.

Another Tory list MSP, Donald Cameron, of the Highlands and Islands region, has penned a motion congratulating the students of the University of the Highlands and Islands West Highland College “who have achieved an 81 per cent pass rate in Higher exams in 2017, which is an increase on the 76 per cent pass rate the previous year,” and he adds congratulations to “the staff on delivering such excellent results”.

Labour’s Lothian list MSP Neil Findlay lauded exam success in West Lothian, lodging a motion congratulating “the achievements of West Lothian pupils, teachers, parents and school support staff following the recent exam results” and he “notes that educational attainment in West Lothian has continued to markedly improve each year since 2013”.

Findlay “further notes that 29 per cent of pupils gained five or more Level 6 SCQF awards, 47 per cent gained three or more Level 6 SCQF awards, 67 per cent gained one or more Level 6 SCQF awards and 20 per cent gained one or more SCQF Level 7 awards.

Findlay commented: “I welcome the excellent results delivered by Labour-run West Lothian council, teachers and pupils in the face of a decade of SNP cuts to local education budgets.

“Since 2011 alone the SNP has cut the funding for local authorities by £1.5 billion. The achievements in West Lothian, and across the country, are in spite of efforts of an SNP government that has failed to fund education properly.”

The SNP expressed delight at the comments of the “ordinary” Tory and Labour members, in contrast to their leaders.

James Dornan MSP said: “Tory and Labour MSPs are right to celebrate this success – and it shows that their regular attempts to talk down Scottish education are based on nothing more than political point-scoring.

“The SNP Government is committing £120 million in attainment funding directly to schools in this year alone, and it is fantastic to see the number of Higher passes across Scotland topping 150,000 for the third year in a row.

“Improving our education system should be something all parties at all levels of government get behind, and John Swinney has made clear that a consensus on the way forward, with a collective effort across the system, is essential for continued improvements to education.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives said: “Congratulating school pupils on their exam results is a perfectly normal, and indeed obvious, thing for an MSP to do.”