Written by Scott Campbell, Cumbernauld Media's Senior Reporter.
Published at 13:49 on 15 September 2015
NORTH Lanarkshire Council has welcomed an announcement from the Scottish Government that additional funding will be handed to the authority to help improve educational attainment.
The council has said that primary pupils in some of the poorest areas in North Lanarkshire will be targeted with the funding, as part of a national campaign to improve educational attainment in Scotland’s poorest communities.
North Lanarkshire Council is one of seven local authorities to benefit from initial funding in the Scottish Government's Attainment Challenge.
Aimed at improving literacy, numeracy, health and wellbeing among primary pupils in Scotland, the selected local authorities were chosen because they are home to the largest concentration of primary-aged children living in deprivation.
North Lanarkshire was awarded £2,241,000 from the fund to develop the region’s local challenge programme, which was launched at a head teacher's meeting in Motherwell’s Civic Centre, on 1st September.
Jim Logue, Convener of Learning and Leisure Services, has welcomed the award.
Commenting, he said that the council will “use the funding to further develop the skills of our teaching and support staff, as well as working with partners to help parents be more involved in their child's education.
"A recent presentation from Audit Scotland to the council heard that we have experienced 10 years of continuous improvement in terms of exam attainment.
"This initiative allows us to build on that strong track-record of success while targeting resources were they are needed to improve the opportunities for all children to help give them the best possible start in life."
Around £450,000 will be set aside every year for additional family link workers while around 80 new additional teachers will be employed in North Lanarkshire, as a result of the funding.
In each of the seven local authorities, the Scottish Attainment Challenge will build on the good work already underway in schools, with additional dedicated support from Attainment Advisors and a National Hub that will provide access to the best evidence and research on raising attainment.
Isabelle Boyd, Head of Education Standards and Inclusion is leading the Attainment Challenge within North Lanarkshire Council.
She explained that the region’s schools will be “supported to embed systems for gathering, analysing and responding to data.
"This information will be used to help plan learning and teaching, and to identify and implement specific actions and or interventions to raise attainment and close the gap.
It is no accident that the programme we have developed is called Challenging Attainment in Northlan - CAN. This reflects our 'can do attitude' to making significant difference to the life chances of our children, young people, families and communities."
Graeme Logan, Strategic Director Attainment and Improvement, Education Scotland explained that his organisation was “pleased to support North Lanarkshire's launch of the Scottish Attainment Challenge.”
He added: “This is a real opportunity to focus on lifting attainment for those who are living in the greatest poverty, and to look at what more can be done, what more support we can give schools, teachers and others to succeed in tackling this issue.
"We will work with colleagues in North Lanarkshire on the improvement plan they are developing to intense efforts to improve literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing for children.
“We look forward to working together and making an impact on the lives of our young people who are in the most need of our support."
Glasgow, Dundee, Inverclyde, West Dunbartonshire, North Ayrshire, Clackmannanshire and North Lanarkshire were announced as the first local authorities to benefit, following the establishment of the fund, in February this year.
Since then, each of the successful councils has developed improvement plans, outlining already existing projects which are focused on raising attainment and identifying areas where specific improvement is needed.
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