Council credited for progress on narrowing attainment gap in schools

Education Secretary John Swinney has congratulated Renfrewshire Council on its progress in narrowing the attainment gap in its schools.

The local authority is the first to receive an “excellent” rating for its efforts in improving learning as part of the Scottish Attainment Challenge.

An Education Scotland report published on Tuesday notes year-on-year improvements in listening, talking, reading, writing and numeracy among pupils.

Renfrewshire is one of nine authorities in the Scottish Government-funded Scottish Attainment Challenge which aims to close the attainment gap between pupils living in the least and most deprived areas.

John Swinney said of the council: “It is clear that the close collaboration between their dedicated and empowered workforce and their wider school communities is having a significant and positive impact.

“These results are extremely encouraging and I look forward to seeing how the local authority builds on this momentum to truly ensure that every child in Renfrewshire is given the best possible start in life, no matter their background.”

Renfrewshire has received £10.4 million in Scottish Government attainment challenge funding since June 2016.

Initiatives have included tea-time study sessions for families and a Cost of the School Day fund to make sure all children can take part in school activities.

The authority has achieved an 11 percentage point increase in expected levels of literacy and a five percentage point increase in expected levels of numeracy from 2015-2018.

The poverty-related attainment gap has, meanwhile, reduced by six percentage points in literacy and four percentage points in numeracy, it said.

Depute leader Jim Paterson, convener of the education and children’s services policy board, said: “Our success is down to a collective approach.

“Children and young people have gained belief in themselves and I want to thank them and their parents and carers for their effort and commitment to learning.

“Our children’s services team has, through outstanding governance and leadership, also provided the right support and created the space to allow schools to deliver high quality learning and teaching.

“Staff in schools have once again shown their commitment to doing the best for our children by committing the energy and drive to deliver innovative approaches which are changing the opportunities for Renfrewshire children both during their school years and for their choices when they leave school.”