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Poverty Commission: ‘Unacceptable attainment gap must be closed’


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Poverty Commission: ‘Unacceptable attainment gap must be closed’.

The attainment gap between pupils from high and low income families in Scotland is not acceptable and must be closed – that was the clear message from the Renfrewshire Tackling Poverty Commission recently.

The Commission met last week to focus on ‘education, skills and attainment’ with Professor Sue Ellis from Strathclyde University taking on the role of theme lead.

Professor Ellis said: “The attainment gap is not acceptable. There is absolutely no reason that in the 21st century what your parents earn should determine how well you do at school.

“Both schools and parents have a key role to play in narrowing the gap and it’s important that schools empower parents to support their children’s learning. We need to look more closely at how we remove existing barriers.”

Councillor Mike Holmes, Chair of the Tackling Poverty Commission, added: “Attainment in Renfrewshire is above the national average and continues to improve, but we cannot be complacent. As we work to do better there are challenges around how we use information about poverty and target interventions that will best support pupils to improve and close the attainment gap.

“How we respond to the challenge will have to vary depending on the needs of schools and their pupils, and I look forward to the Commission’s recommendations on how this is best achieved.”

During the recent meeting, Commission members Jim McCormick (Joseph Rowntree Foundation), Audrey Cumberford (West College Scotland) and Professor Ellis, all put forward practical and positive ideas stemming from research, academic reports and real life experiences of how to narrow the attainment gap.

These will be considered along with recommendations on health and well being, housing and community, increasing income and minimising expenditure before the Commission makes its final report.

The Commission continues to gather evidence with the next meeting planned for Friday 12 September to focus on ‘housing and place’. It will move to its recommendation setting phase later this year.

For more information visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/tacklingpoverty[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]