The money will go directly to 2 387 schools based on the level of deprivation in their catchment area. Schools will then be free to use the money in the way they think best suited to help disadvantaged pupils close the attainment gap in literacy and numeracy.
I feel sure one reader (Alasdair?) will have good ideas on this. My own view is that, in the main, it should be used to reduce class sizes in these key areas and at key points such as S1 and S2 when, in particular, disaffected, adolescent males lose the most ground on their peers in more affluent areas.
Although we know of the above problem from statistics, other age groups in Scotland do not suffer from the massive attainments gaps found in England. We also know that teacher/pupil ratios in Scotland are more favourable than elsewhere in the UK.
The pupil/teacher ratio is only one of several factors likely to narrow attainment gaps, but it is an important one and one which governments can do something directly about. Once more, this suggests the SNP government in Scotland is making a difference, not seen under previous Labour/Lib Dem administrations and clearly not a high priority for the Tory one in Westminster. Notably, UK fee-paying schools use their ratio of 9 pupils per teacher as a marketing tool and say:
‘Significantly smaller class sizes are proven to improve academic achievement as the ability to spend more time with each child allows teachers to get to know their personal strengths, weaknesses and learning styles, ensuring that their individual needs are met.’
See this for more:
You may have read of criticisms suggesting that giving more power to head teachers and by implication taking it away from local councils might not be effective. For a rebuttal of this largely Labour and political attack on anything the SNP do, see:
From a report in Insider yesterday, see these details:
‘Glasgow City Council, Scotland’s largest authority, will benefit from more than a sixth of the cash, receiving £21.8m to help fund improvements at 191 schools. The Education Secretary, John Swinney, announced the funding breakdown ahead of a visit to St Francis RC Primary School in Dundee, where staff used part of the cash they received in the first funding round to set up six week-long summer schools focused on boosting literacy, numeracy and well-being for pupils in the most deprived areas. Neil Lowden, the headteacher of St Francis RC Primary School, said the cash from the scheme “has had a significant impact on how I have managed my school in terms of the absolute focus on raising attainment in literacy and numeracy as well as improving outcomes in health and wellbeing for the children in St Francis”.’
Long experience in education has taught me to be wary of initiatives from politicians but this one does seem to leave the key decision-making where it should be, in the schools.