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Councillors to hear progress update on pupil attainment strategy

A report going before the next Lifelong Learning Committee on Wednesday 4 November 2020 will give an update on progress made in Perth & Kinross Council schools to raise pupil attainment and close the poverty-related attainment gap.

Committee Members will hear about the range of measures put in place between 2016 and 2019 to improve performance and monitor these improvements, including the use of monies directly provided to schools to support learners from the Scottish Government's Pupil Equity Fund (PEF).

Notable among the range of achievements detailed in the report for the course of the 2016-2019 strategy are:

  • The proportion of children meeting their developmental milestones at the age of 27 to 30 months has improved;
  • Progress continues to be made in all areas of literacy and numeracy and across all year groups, building on improvements seen in recent years;
  • For school leavers, literacy and numeracy qualifications achieved continue to increase across both SCQF levels 4 and 5 - and the Committee will also hear that there are encouraging signs of the poverty-related attainment gap closing for these indicators;
  • More widely, senior phase attainment for leavers continues to be good and sitting above or at the same level as comparator council areas in most cases;
  • Literacy and numeracy qualifications and positive destinations beyond school for looked after children and are continuing to improve;
  • Destinations for school leavers and participation in further education, training and employment have grown further from an already high level in Perth and Kinross, remaining amongst the highest across Scotland; and
  • Effective partnership working is taking place between schools, colleges, universities, employers and the local Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) Board - with 489 business partnerships with schools recorded in 2019/20. 

Areas where the focus on improvement will be directed in coming years are also referred to in the report.  Further work will be undertaken to reduce the poverty-related attainment and leaver destination gaps, once the effects of improvements and interventions earlier in young peoples' lives including the Pupil Equity Fund become more evident for school leavers. For looked after children, continued efforts will be made to bring their literacy and numeracy qualifications further in line with those of their peers who are not looked after, with additional PEF support of £228,000 allocated to the Council for this purpose for 2020/21. Alongside these, improvement in children's health and wellbeing will also be a priority.

Lifelong Learning Convener, Councillor Caroline Shiers welcomed the update to the Committee: "In the challenging times that the Coronavirus pandemic has created for our schools, staff, children and young people, it is extremely positive to be able to report on what the Council's Raising Attainment Strategy has already been able to do to help pupils achieve to their fullest potential, academically and personally. We are not complacent, however, and there is more to do to close the attainment gap further. This paper sets out where we intend to focus on to keep making a real difference to young lives."