It's not often FMQs is educational. Diabolical, puerile, hysterical, sure.

Educational? Not so much.

But this was an object lesson in wilful blindness.

According to academics and teachers, there is a slow scandal in schools, 
as pupils are offered fewer and fewer subjects.

Schools that once offered eight subjects at S4 now offer six. The poorer the catchment, the narrower the choice, and already-limited life chances get squeezed some more.

If this keeps up, schools will be turning out kids fit for nothing but politics.
Tory Jackson Carlaw asked Nicola Sturgeon why she refused to accept there was a problem. Her reply was as daft as Bash Street. 

S4 to S6 is three years, so what children learn at S4 isn’t everything. 

Errrr, said Mr Carlaw, but surely choices ought to be broadest at S4, as they may narrow thereafter. Start narrow, stay narrow.

“The issue is about choice and breadth across the entirety of the senior phase, not in one year of the senior phase,” Ms Sturgeon huffed. 

“I am the first to concede we have more to do,” she added, to audible disbelief.

“A whole generation is being let down on the FM’s watch,” snarled Mr Carlaw. 

Panicking, Ms Sturgeon smashed the glass marked Think of the Children.

“As we debate these things, young people across Scotland are sitting their exams, and to talk down their achievements in the way that Jackson Carlaw just has is an absolute disgrace!” she wailed.

Tory Liz Smith asked about poorer pupils being disadvantaged in college and university applications because of fewer subjects. 

“It’s not simply the qualifications that young people get in S4 that count, but the qualifications that they get across the three years,” the FM repeated to no avail.

Nat class sook Jenny Gilruth, a former teacher, shot her hand in the air to deliver a scripted line about Ms Smith failing to do her homework. 

“I think that we should particularly listen to the views of a teacher,” Ms Sturgeon purred.

At which Tory MSPs pointed out Ms Smith was also a teacher, some literally. Jamie Greene, next to her, jabbed at the top of her head as if it were Greenland on a globe.As the SNP benches tried to drown out the fiasco, Labour’s Johann Lamont, another former teacher, tried to speak.

“Pay attention,” tutted Heedie Ken Macintosh. 

“That would not have happened back in the day, I can tell you,” she said.
Ms Lamont, as we said in my tawse-filled youth, looks ‘a good belter’. And maybe a dispenser of the odd brick round the ear.

“I suggest the FM listens to teachers, parents and the evidence from the experts,” she trembled furiously.

“They are telling us that the system is more unequal than it was.  

“I urge her to look to the evidence and address that question.”

Ms Sturgeon seemed chastened. “We will listen to views and evidence from wherever it comes,” she said, then insisted all was dandy. How long, we wondered, before she is forced to eat her dunce’s cap – and at what cost?