St Anthony's Primary 2 Pupils - Olivia Regan, Jack McLaughlin, David Baird and Corey Jamieson

Education Scotland inspection hails progress in improving literacy, numeracy and work to close the poverty-related attainment gap

Renfrewshire Council is the first local authority in Scotland to be rated ‘excellent’ for its progress in improving learning, raising attainment and narrowing the poverty-related attainment gap as part of the Scottish Attainment Challenge.

St Anthony's Primary 2 Pupils - Olivia Regan, Jack McLaughlin, David Baird and Corey Jamieson

Education Scotland published its inspection report today (Tuesday 19 February 2019) on progress in Renfrewshire and found significant year-on-year improvements in listening, talking, reading, writing and numeracy, with the attainment gap closing across all measures.

Renfrewshire is one of nine ‘challenge authorities’ in the Scottish Government funded Scottish Attainment Challenge, to close the attainment gap between those living in Scotland’s least and most deprived areas.

The report praises the “very successful” evidence-based, universal approach which sees support extended across all 62 primary, secondary and Additional Support Needs schools in Renfrewshire, a region where 27% of pupils live in Scotland’s most deprived areas.

Citing ‘highly effective leadership’, ‘excellent governance’ and a ‘shared vision’, it praises the culture where all staff are empowered to improve outcomes for pupils, their families and communities.

Renfrewshire Council Depute Leader Jim Paterson, Convener of Renfrewshire’s Education and Children’s Services Policy Board, said: “This is an exceptional endorsement from Education Scotland and testament to the innovative way Renfrewshire is raising attainment for all children and young people while also closing the poverty related attainment gap. We are delighted that significant progress has been shown in both measures.

“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.

“And 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.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “Improving the education and life chances of our children and young people is the defining mission of this government. Central to this is the Scottish Attainment Challenge which is supporting hundreds of schools to develop approaches to improve literacy, numeracy and health and well-being that help close the poverty-related attainment gap.

“I would like to congratulate Renfrewshire Council on becoming the first local authority in Scotland to be rated ‘excellent’ for their progress in closing the poverty-related attainment gap. 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.”

As a Challenge Authority, Renfrewshire has received £10.4million in Scottish Government attainment challenge funding since June 2016 and has achieved an 11 percentage point increase in expected levels of literacy and a 5 percentage point increase in expected levels of numeracy from 2015-2018. Over the same period, the poverty-related attainment gap has reduced by 6 percentage points in literacy and 4 percentage points in numeracy.

The report highlights Renfrewshire’s ‘outstanding approach’ in using data to inform improvements, with data mentors in every primary school and principal teachers for raising attainment in each secondary school, helping build staff expertise in data analysis.

Gayle Gorman, Chief Inspector of Education for Scotland, said: “Closing the attainment gap is vital for a modern, successful Scotland and that is why, since late 2017, Education Scotland’s Inspectors have been working in partnership with Audit Scotland with the goal of reporting on the progress made by local authorities in improving learning, raising attainment and closing the poverty-related attainment gap.

“These reports are vital to learn and share how well local authorities are doing and it is an absolute delight to see Renfrewshire Council’s report. Everyone should be delighted to see the impact of their work on children and young people. The clear and consistent

focus on improving aspects of literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing is helping to meet more effectively the specific needs of individual pupils.

“No doubt this is in part to a number of strategic approaches, in addressing the impact of poverty on the outcomes of children, young people, their families and the community. Addressing this impact has also been key and the improvement plan reflects very clearly the council’s strong commitment to early intervention together with the council’s very successful strategy of using universal approaches to raise attainment for all, alongside targeted interventions to close the poverty-related attainment gap.

“The commitment and focus of Renfrewshire Council on developing high-quality learning and teaching and leadership at all levels has led to improvements in children’s and young people’s learning and progress. I am particularly pleased to hear of the work being undertaken to listen to the voice of children and young people to help shape improvement in the authority. I am also very aware of the hard work that will have been undertaken by teachers, support staff and communities to achieve this success and would like to thank all of them for their commitment to improving the life chances of Scotland’s children.”

Hundreds of Renfrewshire staff have benefited from professional learning which is described in the report as ‘sector-leading’, including leadership development for headteachers and senior school staff and specialised literacy and numeracy training for classroom assistants.

Initiatives which have delivered success include pizza family learning, where more than 300 family members have enjoyed tea-time study sessions which look at literacy and numeracy.

A Cost of the School Day fund sees parents and school staff work together to ensure all children can take part in school activities and participate fully in their school.

More than 3800 pupils from 27 schools have also benefited from the PATHS programme which develops self-control and has seen a significant reduction in anti-social behaviour, while 49 schools so far have worked with the educational psychology service to embed a nurturing approach which helps children to learn and develop socially and emotionally.

Strong relationships have been built between schools and parents, encouraging greater family and parental engagement, with inclusion support assistants to help pupils struggling with attendance, school engagement or difficult home circumstances.

Steven Quinn, Interim Director of Children’s Services, said: “The additional resource from the Scottish Attainment Challenge has enabled us to increase the pace and widen the scope of our work to deliver high quality learning and teaching. This is improving attainment and achievement in all Renfrewshire schools, reducing inequalities and improving health and wellbeing for children and supporting young people into positive destinations after school.

“This excellent inspection report reflects the incredible work taking place in our schools and by the central education team to achieve these goals. We have invested heavily in our teachers and in our support staff, recognising the incredibly important role they have in shaping children and young people’s lives. We will now build on this progress and ensure we have the plans in place to continue this great work.”

The different initiatives were delivered and evaluated in partnership with experts at the University of Strathclyde while the Council’s education team also worked closely with the Robert Owen Centre at the University of Glasgow to co-ordinate work that delivers the maximum impact.

Professor Sue Ellis, from the University of Strathclyde’s School of Education, said: “The Renfrewshire Literacy Approach is evidence of the successful partnership between the University of Strathclyde and Renfrewshire Council and has addressed real-life, complex problems of practice and led to improvements year on year.

“It has made a real difference to the children of Renfrewshire by raising attainment, improving learning and narrowing the poverty-related attainment gap. Everyone from academics, head teachers and teachers, local authority staff and classroom assistants, worked on introducing a diverse range of children’s literature, as well as learning and teaching activities that engaged children on all levels. That valuable work has generated knowledge about effective literacy teaching and project implementation, as well as assessment and leadership, that can now inform policy and practice across the whole of Scotland.”

Professor Chris Chapman, Director of Policy Scotland at the University of Glasgow and Co-Director of the Robert Owen Centre, said: “The Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change has been working with key local authority leaders to develop a shared vision and understanding of the complexity and challenges of closing the poverty related attainment gap.

“We supported the development of Renfrewshire’s strategic approach, working with key partners to optimise the impact on children and young people’s outcomes. We’re delighted Renfrewshire’s approach and commitment to the major challenge of our time has been recognised in this inspection report.”

carer

2,535 carers in Renfrewshire get £221 each in first payments from Social Security Scotland 

 

Over 77,000 carers who were getting Carer’s Allowance from the DWP on 16 April 2018 were paid an additional £221 from the Scottish Government – totalling an investment of £17.2 million.

carer

Showing the importance the Scottish Government places on recognising the role of carers, the Carer’s Allowance Supplement was the first payment to be made by Social Security Scotland, which was launched in September 2018. A second annual payment was made in December 2018.

Cabinet Secretary for Social Security, Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“These payments marked a momentous moment – one where the most significant new public service since devolution became real. With this one payment alone, this new service helped 77,620 people including 2,535 in Renfrewshire.

“This is just the start. Once fully operational, Social Security Scotland will administer 14 benefits, supporting 1.4 million people and providing approximately £3.5 billion in payments every year.

Social Security Scotland Chief Executive, David Wallace, said:

“Our priority is to make sure that people get the right amount of money paid to them, into the right place and at the right time. We were happy to have done this successfully for this first round of payments.

“In addition to making sure that people get the money that they are due, we were delighted with the general feedback on our service. We have worked hard to make sure our client correspondence is clear, that our service on the phone is friendly and informative and that people feel like they are being treated with dignity, fairness and respect in every interaction with us. This has clearly worked and is something we will build upon as we introduce future benefits”

Paisley Secret Collection MFG

There’s now much more to see in Paisley’s fascinating museum store, The Secret Collection.

With the temporary closure of Paisley Museum for a multi-million pound re-development, the entire collection of artefacts has been moved to The Secret Collection store, 9 High Street.

Paisley Secret Collection MFG

The public can book weekly free guided tours of the museum store, which last 45 minutes to an hour. The Secret Collection is accessible for wheelchairs and pushchairs.

Christine McLean, Renfrewshire Leisure’s Heritage Manager said: “The Secret Collection is Renfrewshire’s own unique town centre Museum store.

“During the past six months all the objects have been moved out of Paisley Museum and Art Galleries and the Coats Observatory to their new home

 “I’d encourage everyone to come and have a guided tour which will give a peek at Renfrewshire’s fantastic heritage.

“If you’ve been to our Museum before, you might just spot some old favourites.”

The free weekly public Tours of The Secret Collection, at 9 High Street are available to book online by logging on to www.renfrewshireleisure.com/thesecretcollection or by email tours@renfrewshireleisure.com or telephone 0141 618 5129.

Voice and Verse

PAISLEY Arts Centre will be hosting three dementia friendly concerts this spring, presented by Live Music Now.

Voice and Verse

This begins with Aidan Moodie and Graham Rorie, on Wednesday, February 20, featuring an eclectic mix of traditional and self-penned tunes and songs from across Scotland and beyond.

The other LMN performances are MK Duo, who are Roberto Kuhn and Callum Morton-Teng on Wednesday March 13 and Voice and Verse, who are Laura McFall and Kristine Donnan on Wednesday June 12.

MK Duo

A spokesperson for Live Music Now said:

“Live Music Now Scotland’s dementia friendly concerts are relaxed and informal, and the audience is invited to sing and dance along if they like.

“We have consulted with experts in dementia to find a format that is likely to be both enjoyable and beneficial to the audience’s health and wellbeing.

Graham Rorie and Aidan Moodie

“The musicians tailor the performance so that some tunes may already be familiar, and therefore good for singing along to, which means the concert becomes interactive with everyone feeling welcome to join in.

“For those who prefer just to listen, they can enjoy a cup of tea and a biscuit while being entertained by outstanding performers.

“It has been shown that participating in arts activities is extremely beneficial for older people with dementia, improving such things as communication, memory, enjoyment of life and creative thinking.”

For more information, or to book one of these performances call Renfrewshire Leisure box office on 0300 300 1210 or go to www.renfrewshireleisure.com/whats-on.

Tickets for these performances are £5, and include tea and coffee. Carers go free.

library

A new chapter in the story of Paisley’s library services has begun.

The temporary home for Paisley Central Library opened this week in a new building next to The Lagoon Leisure Centre.

library

The move has been made to allow the refurbishment and creation of a learning and cultural hub at Central Library, on Paisley’s High Street, when it re-opens in 2021.

library

The work is part of an investment in Paisley town centre venues by Renfrewshire Council to support a wider push to use the town’s unique cultural and heritage assets to transform the area’s future and bring new footfall to the town centre.

In the meantime, the usual services of book lending, free computer and internet access, Bookbug sessions and children’s activities are available at the library facility at The Lagoon.

Opening hours are 9am to 5pm on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and 9am to 8pm on Tuesday and Thursday.

Councillor Lisa Marie Hughes said: “There are exciting times ahead for Renfrewshire cultural scene in general and Paisley library service in particular.

“Once work has been completed at Central Library, the people of Renfrewshire will have a fantastic literary, cultural and social facility we can be proud of.

“And while that work is on-going we’ll have the same library services available at the Central Library’s temporary home, so no one misses out.”

bbc-scotland

Our casting team are currently looking for applicants for Series 2 of our brand new car-based gameshow, Test Drive.

The first series is due to air on BBC Scotland (the new channel) from February 25th at 7pm.

bbc-scotland

We’re looking for fun, opinionated and outgoing teams of two – from loved up couples, bickering family members, best pals to colleagues for our exciting new car-based gameshow. For a chance to go on a road-trip across Scotland’s most amazing landscapes and potentially win a cash prize en-route, applicants must be available for one full day’s filming between 25th March & 5th April 2019 (excluding weekend).

Apply directly to TestDrive@bandicoot.tv (all applicants must be legal residents of the UK and currently living in Scotland | Drivers must be 21+ and have held a valid licence for at least 1 year)

roar
Paisley Grammar

Paisley Grammar School pupils, parents and teachers are celebrating a strong school inspection report.

Education Scotland published its inspection findings today (Tuesday 12 February 2019) which highlights the positive relationships between staff and pupils.

Paisley Grammar

Learning, teaching and assessment and raising attainment and achievement were all evaluated as ‘good’ in the glowing report which follows a visit to the school in November.

The report also praised headteacher Janice Levens and the school’s senior team for having a clear sense of direction and priorities.

Welcoming the report findings, Janice Levens said: “We are very pleased with the report and would like to thank all of those involved in the work of the school – our pupils, staff, parents and partners. It recognises the very positive relationships we have with pupils and the work we do to provide our pupils with the best possible learning experience.

“Our values are important to us and the report notes the positive inroads we have made in making these part of our school culture, together with improvements in attainment and the work to develop our curriculum to provide every opportunity for pupils to move onto a positive destination. Our aim is to continue improving our work and improving the outcomes for the young people of Paisley Grammar School.”

During their visit, the inspection team talked to pupils, parents and school staff and the report gives recognition to the important progress being made in establishing the school values and celebrating the school’s diverse community.

Staff working in the flexible learning resource were also recognised for their efforts in providing a safe and nurturing environment which is re-engaging young people in learning.

Inspectors encouraged the school to continue its focus on offering high-quality learning and to further develop its assessment process, so pupils are fully aware of their strengths and areas for improvement.

Third Year pupil Nathan said: “I like the wide range of opportunities. In third-year we have two periods for wider achievement where you can do different activities that you might not normally get, such as photography or cooking.”

Sixth Year pupil Emily added: “I like how diverse the school is, there’s many people with different backgrounds and cultures. We’ve had a few world food festivals and a modern language day so I like how they embrace the many cultures the school has.”

Janice Levens

Roslyn Woodland is chair of Paisley Grammar School’s Parent Teacher Council which has made excellent progress in strengthening the relationship between school staff, parents and family members.

She said: “Paisley Grammar School Parent Council is delighted that the school has gained recognition for the continuous improvement that Janice Levens, her senior management team and staff have achieved over the last few years. This positive report will no doubt help to further encourage shared values, the building of relationships and the continued equity for all of its young people.”

Schools across Renfrewshire continue to deliver high-quality learning and teaching, with last summer’s exam results seeing more S5 pupils gaining five or more Highers and more S4 pupils achieving three or more National 5s than in 2017.

Education and Children’s Services convener, Councillor Jim Paterson, said: “I would like to extend my congratulations to Headteacher Janice Levens and to all staff at Paisley Grammar for the fantastic work they are doing, which is reflected in this strong inspection report.

“Pupils and parents at Paisley Grammar will rightly be proud of its findings, recognising the importance the school has placed on fostering positive relationships between staff and pupils, which helps young people at the school to develop their confidence and skills.

“We are ambitious for all children and young people in Renfrewshire and will do all we can to give them the best start in life so they can reach their full potential.”

craig-McClelland

INQUIRIES MUST BE AUTOMATIC IN TAG MURDERS

A full independent inquiry into the failures leading to the murder of Paisley dad Craig McClelland remains critical to restoring confidence in Scotland’s Home Detention Curfew system.

craig-McClelland

However, Craig’s father Michael and Neil Bibby MSP also believe families shouldn’t have to plead for an inquiry in such tragic circumstances – it should be automatic.

Craig McClelland was murdered in an unprovoked attack by a convicted knife criminal who was unlawfully at large, having breached his home detention curfew and broken his electronic tag. The man convicted of his murder last year had been at large for five months at the time of the attack in Paisley.

Calls for an independent public inquiry into the circumstances leading to the death have so far been blocked by Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf. Now the family have written to the Lord Advocate asking for a Fatal Accident Inquiry and Neil Bibby MSP is proposing amendments to the Management of Offenders Bill to enshrine their right to an inquiry in law.

Michael McClelland, Craig’s father, said:

“As a family we will not have any confidence in the system, until lessons are fully learned.

“Process reviews are not good enough – there should be a full independent inquiry and we have said this to Humza Yousaf and the Lord Advocate.

“We need answers to why this happened to Craig and the public need to feel safe and have trust in those who are supposed to protect us.

“So far our calls have been ignored and the Justice Secretary is blocking a public inquiry for no good reason.

“We should not have to plead for an inquiry, it should happen automatically.

“If Humza Yousaf and the Lord Advocate can’t see the need for an inquiry in cases like these then the matter should be taken out of their hands. “The law must be changed and it’s down to MSPs to make sure this happens.”

Neil Bibby MSP said:

“No family should have to go through what Craig’s have. It is critical that confidence is restored in the system and this cannot happen until lessons are learned.

“This is why it is so important that a full and independent inquiry takes place into the failures that led to this tragic murder.

“The Justice Secretary is resisting a public inquiry into the case for no reason whatsoever, leaving Craig’s family devastated. The Lord Advocate has the power to instruct a Fatal Accident Inquiry and the family are now asking him to do so.

“There would be no question of ordering an inquiry if a prisoner were to kill another behind bars. It should be mandatory that an independent inquiry is triggered whenever a prisoner causes a death while out on a tag.

“I will seek to amend the Management of Offenders Bill to ensure that Craig’s family and any other family put in this awful position can get the answers they deserve by making an independent inquiry a legal requirement. Families shouldn’t have to plead for action – an inquiry should be automatic.”

Murder of Craig McClelland – independent inquiry should be a legal right:

 

Sign the Petition here.

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/murder-of-craig-mcclelland-independent-inquiry-should-be-a-legal-right?

We, the family of Craig McClelland, demand:

– a full independent inquiry into the circumstances that led to his murder
– automatic independent inquiries whenever a prisoner on HDC commits a murder
– changes in the law to make HDCs safer for the community.

Why is this important?

Craig McClelland, a loving father of three, was murdered in an unprovoked attack in his hometown of Paisley by a convicted knife criminal who had no right to be there. It could have been any one of us.

Craig’s murderer was on the run, having removed an electronic tag and breached a Home Detention Curfew, and he had been at large for five months. We believe that the Scottish Government, Scottish Prisons Service and Police Scotland all have questions to answer about Craig’s death but our calls for a full inquiry have been blocked by the Justice Secretary, Humza Yousaf MSP for no good reason.

We‘re still in the dark as to why Craig’s murderer was free when he should have been behind bars. We still don’t know why he was at large for months and why he was never caught. It still makes no sense.

Nothing will bring Craig back. The actions of one man mean he is lost to us forever. No one can change that and now three little children will grow up without a dad.

We believe a full independent inquiry is the only way to get the answers we need as a family. But we don’t want another family to go through what we have. We want to stop this happening to other families and to do that lessons must be fully learned.

We were promised answers by the Scottish Government but we still don’t have them.

If Scotland’s Justice Secretary or Lord Advocate can’t see why an inquiry is needed then the matter should be taken out of their hands.

The Management of Offenders Bill is going through the Scottish Parliament right now. MSPs should make it mandatory to have an independent inquiry whenever a prisoner on an HDC kills a law-abiding member of the public. If a prisoner kills another prisoner there would be a Fatal Accident Inquiry so why will families like ours not get one? This needs to change.

Tell the Justice Secretary, tell the Lord Advocate and tell MSPs that you are with us by signing this petition.

Please support our call for an inquiry into the circumstances that led to Craig’s death and changes in the law.

KennethKeegan_F Plans-page-001

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KennethKeegan_F Plans-page-001

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