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.

Gavin Newlands MP

NEWLANDS: THE RIGHT TO SELF-DETERMINATION MUST BE PROTECTED WHEREVER THAT MAY BE.

 

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, joined calls from MPs of all major parties for a fair and democratic process to bring an end to the Catalan crisis.

Gavin Newlands MP

This follows the start of the trial of many pro-independence Catalan politicians and activists, some of whom have been remanded in prison for over a year on trumped up charges of rebellion and sedition. The 12 defendants include the President of the Catalan Parliament (equivalent to the House of Commons’ Speaker), and two civil society leaders.

Newlands has established himself as a strong supporter of the Catalan right to determine their own future and has spoken out against state repression of democracy across the world. Newlands has also drawn the public eye towards the links between Paisley and Renfrewshire North and Catalonia, including the connections to the small village of Borgonya where the local team plays in St Mirren style stripes due to their common history with the Coats group.

Speaking up for the 12 accused, Newlands said:

“I am proud to join MPs from across parties to stand in solidarity with the Catalan political prisoners who this week begun their trial on medieval charges of rebellion and sedition.

“Catalan pro-independence parties went into an election with a promise that they would hold a referendum on their independence, this gave them an undeniable mandate. The Spanish Government cannot continue to ignore these democratic calls forever.

“Regardless of your opinion on Catalan Independence, one thing is certain, namely that as enshrined in article 1 of the UN Charter, the right of Self-Determination must be protected all over the world. It is an international norm that must be respected and championed by everyone who claims to believe in democracy.

“The Spanish Government must agree to a fair and robust democratic process to bring this crisis to an end.”

st vincents lochwinnoch

Due to the hard work of the Change Lochwinnoch Campaign and St. Vincent’s Hospice Volunteers, the charity shop in the heart of the village will begin its major refurbishment on Friday 1st March 2019.

Having hit their ambitious target, the shop is now set for a complete refurbishment, creating a modern, warm and welcoming space for the community to enjoy while continuing to raise vital funds for the charity.
st vincents lochwinnoch

The Change Lochwinnoch project was launched by a group of volunteers in the local community who have close ties to the life changing work of St. Vincent’s Hospice and the importance that donations to their charity shop make to their services.

Commenting on the work, Trading Support Manager for St. Vincent’s Hospice, Fiona Campbell, said: “The level of support our Hospice receives from the community in Lochwinnoch really is second to none, and we have been blown away by the work and dedication they have put in to make this refurbishment a reality!

“Each year our shops generate more than £400,000 which goes directly towards supporting the work of our Hospice. Not only will these changes to the shop help patients and families all throughout Renfrewshire, but it will also be a hub for the community, a place for people to meet, chat, make new friends and bring people together.”

St. Vincent’s Hospice is a specialist provider of palliative and Hospice care for individuals and families affected by life-limiting conditions from across Renfrewshire.

In the last year alone, the Hospice offered care for hundreds of families across Renfrewshire through their eight bed In-patient Unit, Day Hospice Service and in the comfort of people’s own homes with their Community Nurse Specialists team.

Fiona added: “Work will be ongoing in the shop throughout the month of March, and we owe a massive debt of thanks to every single person who has helped make this possible. Thank you!”

For more information and updates, follow St. Vincent’s Hospice on Facebook, @StVincentsHosp on Instagram and Twitter, or visit www.SVH.co.uk.

st vincents hospice

Barr + Wray, a world leading provider of pool and spa design alongside water engineering, has pledged its support to St. Vincent’s Hospice by becoming headline sponsor for their hugely popular Strictly Come Prancing event this Spring.

st vincents hospice

St. Vincent’s Hospice’s award nominated event Strictly Come Prancing is now in its eighth year and will take place on Friday 15 March at Ingliston Country Club & Hotel, aiming to raise vital funds to support the work of the Hospice.

Thirteen couples have been training hard for several months, and will compete on the night to win the prestigious trophy by performing a series of dance routines to impress the judges and live audience. The variety of Tangos, Quick -Steps, Waltz’s and Sambas will all be danced by couples who started out as non-dancers.

St. Vincent’s Hospice is a specialist provider of palliative and Hospice care for Renfrewshire and beyond, supporting families and patients who have been impacted by life limiting conditions.

Operations Director for Barr & Wray, Lorne Kennedy, said: “Barr + Wray take great pleasure in supporting local charities on an annual basis. St. Vincent’s Hospice is a highly commendable charity, providing care for all. We admire the hard work, love and support that go in to every aspect of the charity from the In-Patient Unit to the Day Hospice and the Community Nurse Specialists. Not to mention the support provided not only to the patients but their families and loved ones. B + W are proud to sponsor St. Vincent’s Hospice and give a little towards helping such a worthy charity.”

The evening will be hosted by their very own ‘Brucie’ and ‘Tess’ and will also feature performances from previous winners, contestants and professional dancers. An audience of approximately 500 will watch this spectacular event, including family, friends and Hospice supporters, as well as our panel of expert judges and a special guest.

Senior Fundraiser for St. Vincent’s Hospice, Louise Strachan, said: “On behalf of everyone at St Vincent’s Hospice, I want to say a heartfelt thank you to Barr & Wray for their continued support.

At St Vincent’s Hospice, we offer specialist palliative and Hospice care for people and families all across Renfrewshire and beyond who are impacted by life-limiting conditions.  Every year we have to raise more than £1.1 million to offer the level of support that we do for the community, making sure we are offering the right care, in the right way, for anyone who needs it.

This simply wouldn’t be possible without the wonderful support of the community, and we truly cannot thank Barr & Wray enough.  Their generosity and continued support will make such a huge difference to patients and families all around the community, at a time when they need it most.”

There are a very limited number of places left at what is sure to be a sell-out event. If you would like to purchase a ticket, support the hospice or be kept up to date with any fundraising events Email Info@svh.co.uk or call 07521988488.

paisley-pirates

ABERDEEN LYNX 2 PAISLEY PIRATES 5

Pirates travelled north to the Lynx Arena and recorded a notable win as they put the home side to the sword, securing an excellent victory in front of a capacity crowd.

paisley-pirates

The visitors were obliged to play off early penalties but in fact it was during one of those periods of play, with Thorp sitting out a Holding call, that they broke with Abercrombie assisting Walker to score the opening goal while they were at a numerical disadvantage. While that goal proved to be the only one of the period, Pirates did in fact keep Lynx netminder Chalmers busy throughout the session, while Russell in the visiting net had little to do by comparison, and thus the visitors headed to the changing rooms holding a narrow 1-0 advantage at the break.

Aberdeen were penalised within a minute of the restart and found themselves two behind as Pirates made full use of the powerplay to double their lead, Walker netting his second of the game. The hosts saw a little more of the puck than they had done in the first session and pulled a goal back in the 29th minute through Durkacz, but Walker restored his side’s two goal lead with 5 minutes of the session remaining with an unassisted goal, making it a straight hat trick for the Pirates’ player/coach. With no further scoring, the buzzer sounded for the end of the session with the visitors holding a handy 3-1 advantage.

Pirates continued to have the bulk of play in the final session but they were shocked when Lynx reduced the deficit to one through Thomson in the 46th minute. The home side’s joy was short lived, however, as within two minutes they were penalised and Pirates scored immediately through Henderson to lead 4-2. Any remaining doubts about the destiny of the two league points were doused in the final five minutes, with the visitors on the powerplay again, as Walker netted his own fourth, and his team’s fifth, to silence the home fans and send the visiting supporters homeward with smiles on their faces.

Pirates Player/Coach, Adam Walker, commented after the game, “I thought we played a really solid road game last night. It’s always difficult to get the two points in Aberdeen but to heavily outshoot them and keep them to the outside for most of the game is a credit to our team. Everyone played their part and kept disciplined and that made. the difference.”

Pirates return to home ice this Saturday after a 3 week absence to face Solway Stingrays (face off 6.30pm)


 

PAISLEY PIRATES-PREVIEW

 

Paisley Pirates are back in action at Braehead Arena this Saturday as they welcome the Solway Stingrays to the venue for what will be their first home fixture in the Scottish National League for a few weeks. The club has recorded two excellent wins on the road over the last fortnight and will be looking to keep that good form going on home ice, particularly after beating Aberdeen 5-2 at a venue which has been somewhat problematic in recent years.

Head Coach Ian Turley commented, “It was very good collective performance from everyone. The team’s attitude and approach to the game was excellent and all the boys contributed to the win whether they played a lot of minutes or not.”

Pirates hope to continue their run in front of a big crowd on Saturday, as they look to cement a place in the top four ahead of playoff season, which commences in a few weeks’ time, and which would see them gain one of the seeded places, while looking to see the return of a few players who have been missing for various reasons in recent weeks as they head into the latter stages of the season.

Face off against the Stingrays is at 6.30pm.

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.

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