Whitehaugh, Paisley News

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.”

KennethKeegan_F Plans-page-001

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Kenneth Keegan Funeral Directors

Our funeral directors, qualified to diploma level, will take care of all aspects of arrangements. An appointment can be arranged at our comfortable premises at 149 George Street, Paisley or in the convenience of your own home

We know and understand how difficult it can be to arrange a funeral; we strive to offer a complete, individual, caring and professional service to all families from the moment of first contact. We’ll endeavour to help you every step of the way providing guidance and support at a time when you need it most.

KennethKeegan_F Plans-page-001

We consider it our privilege when a family entrusts their loved one into our care and we guarantee that we will provide the highest possible level of care. We strive to listen to all our client’s wishes and deliver a personalised funeral as a lasting tribute to their loved one.

We passionately believe that bereaved families deserve a funeral for their loved one to be tailored to their personal wishes at an affordable cost and best possible value.

You can visit Kenneth Keegan Funeral Directors on Facebook or Twitter.

paisley town hall

The people of Paisley are getting their first glimpse at what to expect from their transformed town hall – including entirely new rooms inside the existing building, and an increased capacity allowing bigger-name performers to bring new life to the town.

paisley town hall

The magnificent Victorian-era town hall is currently undergoing major internal refurbishment into what will be one of the West of Scotland’s landmark entertainment venues when it reopens in 2021.

Renfrewshire Council is leading the work to turn the much-loved 19th-century architectural gem into a 21st-century facility which will drive new footfall to the area, while delivering upgrades essential to keep it at the heart of local life for generations to come.

paisley town hall

Some initial artist images have been released, with more to follow in the coming weeks, and features people can look forward to in the revamped building include:

– the capacity of the main hall increased to 1,200 for a standing gig, allowing the venue to attract bigger and better shows than ever before, boosting the local night-time economy;

paisley town hall

– entirely new rooms created inside the current building – including a new café-bar and dance studio built in currently-unused space. There will also be a smaller venue-within-a-venue – meaning more use, more footfall, and a better range of community events;

– transformed audience experience including lowered stage, new seating, better sightlines and acoustics, new reception area, and much improved access to and around the building;

– an entire replacement of the building’s decades-old electrical and mechanical equipment, and improved backroom facilities allowing more weddings and conferences;

The council is taking forward the £22m work as part of a much-bigger investment in the town centre designed to change the area’s future using its internationally-significant cultural and heritage story.

That includes a transformation of Paisley Museum which will almost quadruple current visitor numbers, a new modern home for library services on the High Street, and major investment in key outdoor spaces such as Abbey Close and County Square to create places which will keep residents, students and visitors in the town for longer.

The building’s operators Renfrewshire Leisure have already been speaking to some of Scotland’s top music promoters about using the venue when it reopens.

Mark Mackie, of Regular Music – who has worked with some of the industry’s biggest names as the man behind massive gigs including the Castle Concerts at Edinburgh Castle and Summer Nights at Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Bandstand, said: “As a Paisley buddy myself, I’m really excited about the transformation of Paisley Town Hall.

“This investment is great news for gig-goers in the west of Scotland and it’s definitely a venue Regular Music would look to bring bands to. The new facilities, refurbished auditorium and café-bar will make it a must-visit venue for bands and audiences.”

Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, chair of Renfrewshire Leisure, said: “Paisley Town Hall is a much-loved building which has been at the heart of life in the town for generations – but to keep it there the interior of this beautiful building needs the revamp now being delivered.

“The council is making a substantial investment – not just to do the necessary maintenance to keep the building viable, but to take what it can do to a totally new level.

“As a result, the revamp is predicted to double the number of people who use it each year – bringing new life to the town centre and helping anchor our ongoing wider work to use our outstanding cultural and heritage story to bring new visitors to the area.

“It also means creating a facility in which people will be able to experience world-class culture on their own doorstep, with all the opportunities that means to make people’s lives better.

“And while the renovation is happening we will be making sure everybody knows Paisley continues to remain open for business.”

The building is being redesigned by award-winning architects Holmes Miller, whose previous projects include the redevelopment of Old Trafford and reshaping Hampden for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

The town hall revamp is being run by Renfrewshire Council in partnership with Hub West Scotland – a Scottish-Government-backed firm who help public-sector bodies get value for money when investing in large infrastructure projects.

The council worked with Homes Miller and Hub West Scotland on the new Johnstone Town Hall –which has won a string of industry awards since it opened in 2015.

Initial work to clear out the building is already under way, with stonework and roof repairs taking place over the summer, ahead of main construction work starting towards the end of the year. The building is due to reopen in late 2021.