Glasgow University Performs Strongly in Latest World Rankings; University Excellence Under Threat From Tory Brexit

SNP MSP Sandra White has welcomed the latest Times Higher Education university rankings which have seen Glasgow University rise from 88th to 80th – despite the severe threat posed to our universities and colleges by Tory plans for a hard Brexit.

Scotland’s universities continue to rank strongly in the Times’ rankings, with five universities in the top 200 in the world. Yesterday’s Programme for Government announced extra measures that will benefit Scottish universities, academia, and students, including extra funding for research and development, and free provision of sanitary products.

The SNP is committed to attracting students from across the world to come and study in our world leading universities – but warnings from academic institutions about the threat posed by a damaging hard Brexit, and Tory proposals to continue clamping down on international students, risks holding Glasgow University back.

Commenting, SNP MSP Sandra White, who represents Glasgow University, said:

“These rankings are extremely positive, and prove once again how resilient Scotland’s academic sector is.

“It is particularly good news to see Glasgow University performing so strongly in these rankings – and there is absolutely no doubt that this institution is one of the best in the world.

“However, we must be wary of the impact that Tory Brexit plans are set to have on our universities – no matter what support the Scottish Government is able to offer them.

“Universities and academics have made it perfectly clear what they think of the Tories’ disastrous Brexit proposals – from the impact it’ll have on research funding to our ability to attract the best and brightest from across the world to come and study in Glasgow.

“The Tories must urgently wake up to the threat their plans pose to our universities’ global standing and support our efforts to strengthen Scotland’s academic sector.”

Parliamentary Motion:

Motion Number: S5M-07506
Lodged By: Sandra White
Date Lodged: 05/09/2017

Title: University of Glasgow in the World’s Top 80 Higher Education Institutions

Motion Text:

That the Parliament welcomes the news that the University of Glasgow has been placed in the top 80 in the prestigious Times Higher Education World University Rankings; understands that the university has risen eight places since the previous year and sits alongside five Scottish institutions in the global top 200, and congratulates the students and staff of the university on their ongoing success and contribution to Scotland’s vibrant and world-leading higher education sector.

Sandra congratulates Glasgow University Union’s European Debates win and Scottish hosting of 2018 Championships.

Sandra White MSP has congratulated the Scottish participants of the European Universities Debating Championships in Tallinn on their achievements as Scottish teams picked up top awards, and as Glasgow University Union wins the Europe-wide Open Finals.

In recognition of the achievements of participating groups, individuals, and the Scottish Student’s Debating Council, Sandra has lodged a congratulatory motion to the Scottish Parliament.

Sandra White MSP for Glasgow Kelvin, said:

“I was delighted to hear about Glasgow University Union’s winning of the Open Finals in the European Universities Debating Championships, which I was pleased to record in a congratulatory motion to Parliament.

“This win also accompanies many other fantastic achievements including Glasgow’s Bethany and Owen being hailed amongst Europe’s best debate speakers, and Scottish teams from Strathclyde to Aberdeen taking their place alongside the best in Europe at the Tallin Championships.”

“These achievements are also fitting as Scottish debating societies prepare to welcome over 750 university debaters from across Europe to the 20th edition of the Championships which will be hosted in Edinburgh.

“I am pleased to recognise their efforts, and want to wish all involved in the Tallin and Edinburgh editions the very best!”

Congratulatory Motion to the Scottish Parliament:

Motion Number: S5M-07199
Lodged By: Sandra White
Date Lodged: 21/08/2017

Title: Glasgow University Union’s European Success

Motion Text:

That the Parliament congratulates the Scottish Student’s Debating Council’s (SSDC) participants on their success at the 2017 European Universities Debating Championships (EUDC) in Tallinn; notes that Glasgow University Union’s “A” Team won the Europe-wide open finals, and was the fifth-highest ranked team in the Open category, and that Edinburgh University Debates Union reached the quarter-finals; believes that the Glasgow team’s success was the second time that a team from Scotland has won at the EUDC, following the University of St Andrews victory in 2015; notes that Glasgow’s Bethany Garry, who was named the joint-first best speaker with an average of 83.3 points, was the first woman to win the top prize since 2005, and that, with an average of 83.2, the team’s Owen Mooney was joint-third; understands that 11 SSDC teams from Glasgow, Edinburgh, St Andrews, Strathclyde and Aberdeen universities, grouped alongside teams from Durham and Newcastle, were among the 216 that took part; understands that 14 judges from Scotland’s institutions helped to facilitate the event, including seven group judges from the SSDC, and that University of Glasgow graduates, Duncan Crowe and Elliot Porter, served as independent adjudicators; congratulates everyone involved, and welcomes the news of the return of the EUDC to Scotland in 2018, where it understands over 750 participants will take part in the 20th edition in Edinburgh.

33k children benefit from free school meals in Glasgow

With pupils across the country preparing to go back to school, 33,000 pupils will be eligible for free school meals this year.

Throughout Scotland, over 250,000 pupils will be eligible for free school lunches – a figure that has doubled in the last three years.

Thanks to an SNP Government initiative in 2015, all primary 1-3 pupils are eligible for free school meals, which is of huge financial help to families.

Commenting, Sandra White SNP MSP for Glasgow Kelvin said:

 “It’s fantastic that 33,000 of school pupils in Glasgow are eligible for free school meals – an integral part of ensuring that every child gets the best start in life and as much as possible out of their time in the classroom each day.
“Guaranteeing our youngest pupils a healthy meal during the school day helps them to learn and can save families an estimated £380 a year.  
“This is just one of the steps the SNP Scottish Government is taking to tackle child poverty and help household incomes – and is an essential part of our central ambition to drive up standards in Scottish schools.
“I wish teachers and pupils alike the best of luck as they start the new academic year.”

Sandra welcomes funding boost for Glasgow’s schools

Schools in Glasgow will receive £7,665,677 in 2017/18 to help close the poverty-related attainment gap, the Scottish Government announced this week.

More than £45 million of dedicated funding will be provided to primary and secondary schools across Scotland in 2017/18 to help pupils from low-income backgrounds succeed at school.

The Scottish Attainment Challenge is providing £750 million during the course of this Parliament to tackle the poverty related attainment gap. It prioritises improvements in literacy, numeracy, health and wellbeing of children adversely affected by poverty in Scotland’s Primary and Secondary schools. This funding takes the Challenge Authorities and Schools Programme into its third successive year.

Nine local authorities and an additional 72 individual schools have been allocated funding from the Scottish Attainment Challenge, for education initiatives and projects targeting Scotland’s most deprived children.

Commenting, SNP MSP Sandra White said:

“Improving the education and life chances of our children and young people is the defining mission of the SNP in government.

“The Scottish Government are providing £750 million during the course of this Parliament to tackle the poverty-related attainment gap – and schools in Glasgow will benefit to the tune of £7,665,677 this year through our Attainment Challenge.

“This latest round of funding will ensure that schools where the need is greatest have substantial additional funding for the coming year to improve literacy, numeracy and health and well-being.

“I’m delighted that schools in Glasgow are benefiting from this funding, which is targeted to improve the life chances of children and young people in Scotland.”

Repeal Bill: Tories in Glasgow Must Stand Up for Scottish Parliament

Glasgow Kelvin SNP MSP Sandra White is calling on Glasgow Tory MSP’s Adam Tomkins and Annie Wells to oppose the UK Tory government’s attempts to use the EU Repeal Bill to strip Holyrood of powers.

The Scottish Tories need to distance themselves from the Bill which represents a naked power-grab, an attack on the founding principles of devolution, and which could destabilise our economy.

Sandra White MSP for Glasgow Kelvin said:

“Twenty years on since the referendum on devolution in Scotland, and the Tories are attempting an attack on the founding principles of devolution under the guise of the EU Repeal Bill.

“The SNP wants a smooth transition as much as the UK government, however this should be achieved through negotiation, not imposition. And it must be achieved in a way that respects Scotland’s hard-won devolved powers.

“An erosion of Scotland’s devolved areas would be contrary to the settled will of the Scottish people and would represent an appalling roll back on devolution which we were promised never could or would happen.

“The aim of this attack is very clear; the Tories are seeking to rack up fast and unfavourable trade deals without any scrutiny or voice for the Scottish people so they can get away with risking Scotland’s farming and fishing industries in order to save their crumbling Brexit agenda”

“I’m therefore calling on Glasgow’s Tory MSP’s Adam Tomkins and Annie Wells to challenge any attempts from their party in Westminster for a naked power-grab on the devolved legislatures during the withdrawal process from the EU, and to make clear their opposition to this Bill which sets out to undermine our national parliament.”


Scottish Parliament Information Service: All areas of agriculture, forestry and fishing were devolved under the Scotland Act (1998).