Council welcomes Attainment Scotland funding for Highland schools

Highland Council welcomes the announcement today by the First Minister that 5 local schools are going to receive additional funding as part of the Attainment Scotland Fund.

This second phase of the national initiative involves 57 schools across Scotland, and the five in Highland are – Merkinch and Bishop Eden (Inverness), Coulhill and Milton (East Ross) and South Wick (Caithness).

The Scottish Government has indicated that between £20,000 to £80,000 will be available to each of these schools to assist them to progress their improvement plans to raise attainment, with a focus on literacy, numeracy and wellbeing. We are also looking at how these schools can share this activity within their associated school groups, and build on the improvement work that is taking place to raise attainment for all children.

Councillors will consider a report regarding this, at the Education, Children and Adult Services Committee on 27 August. This report builds on the commitment of the Council to “improve pupil attainment by taking focussed action in and beyond the classroom to help improve the performance of pupils, particularly those experiencing poverty and deprivation”.

The report will acknowledge that there is compelling evidence across the country of a deep-rooted and pervasive gap in educational attainment for children from less advantaged backgrounds.

The report will set out a number of proposed measures, building on the work in these five schools. These include:

  • A relentless focus on literacy and numeracy improvements to daily teaching practice
  • Further work on emotional literacy, raising pupil aspiration and ambition.
  • Sharing successful local strategies and best practice, e.g. build on existing successes such as Speedy Readers.
  • Carrying out further research, for example with parents of pre-school, primary and secondary children about the barriers they perceive in engaging with schools

Highland Council also intends working in partnership with other local authorities in the north of Scotland on this issue. This will involve co-ordinated use of Attainment Advisors, previously announced by the Scottish Government, and will focus on four specific streams of activity:

  1. Raising Attainment in small schools - focusing on curriculum design and impact.
  2. Early Years Literacy.
  3. Early Years Numeracy.
  4. Addressing Rural Deprivation.

Councillor Drew Millar, Chair of the Education, Children and Adult Services Committee, said: “It is simply not acceptable that some children do less well than their peers, simply because they come from less advantaged backgrounds. Highland Council is committed to working to achieve ‘a fairer Highland’ and closing the attainment gap is at the core of that commitment.”

Bill Alexander, Director of Care and Learning said: “Across Scotland, there has been an 80% attainment gap between pupils in the lowest and highest performing schools In Highland, the gap has been less, at around 60%, and trends have improved over the last ten years. But we have to do more to support some children achieve their potential, do well at school, and move on into jobs or further training. Schools are very aware of this issue, and this additional funding, and the focussed improvement work across all schools, will help provide further momentum for this important work.”

18 Aug 2015
Tell us something about this topic How is this webpage?