We’re here marking the start of the new
school term but also to underline the Scottish Government’s commitment to
closing the attainment gap in our schools. I’m announcing today the latest
allocation of funding from our attainment fund and this is money that schools, like
this one, can invest in targeted initiatives to raise attainment, particularly
amongst young people from less well-off backgrounds. We’ve looked at reading and we’ve looked at how we teach reading. We’re using real books, we’re using
phonics, we’re using all sorts of strategies to engage children but we’ve
also looked at the learning environment in Primary 1, and we’ve totally transformed
the learning environment in a play based environment where children are being
taught by the class teacher but also have opportunities to practice their learning in a play-environment and learn from each other, and with each other.
Different schools will use this money differently, some will employ extra
teachers, others extra support workers, some will invest in family support
initiatives. But in schools like this one, already we’re seeing an impact on levels of reading attainment, for example. This is an important part of our overall
work to make sure we’re providing in Scotland an excellent education system,
as we are, but that that education system is providing excellence for all young
people regardless of their background.