Unexpectedly, but not unsurprisingly, Alex Salmond moved Fiona Hyslop from Education to Culture and External Affairs today. She will take over the remit of Mike Russell but without the constitutional element and Mike Russell has moved to Education.
Mr Salmond will take personal responsibility for constitutional matters.
Fiona Hyslop has had a difficult time in the post of Education Secretary especially recently when some councils refused to reduce class sizes and employ more teachers. This was part of the 'concordat' the SNP agreed with COSLA and the SNP government insist councils were given the money to take the appropriate action. We have yet to be told by councils where the money was spent if not on education.
Alex Salmond said :
Schools policy has reached a difficult period with our disagreement with many local authorities about their failure to reduce class sizes by sustaining teacher numbers, while we have achieved a new record low in primary school class sizes.
“It is appropriate that a fresh look is taken at this and other schooling issues to break the impasse for the benefit of parents, teachers and children. I believe that Michael Russell can bring new thinking to this tough task.
A smart move at the right time. The problem with councils unable to adhere to agreements needs fresh thinking. This mini-shuffle has probably been on the cards for some time. After all, yesterday Mike Russell fulfilled his remit to deliver the Bill on Scotland's constitutional future.