August 11, 2008

Focus on Writing and Maths Pays Off As Pupils Get Best Ever Results


READING, writing and maths grades in state-run primary and secondary schools in Glasgow have risen to their highest ever levels after a n intensive push on literacy and numeracy.

Official figures show attainment in the three RsZ among 5-14- year-olds in the city has moved steadily upwards in the past three years, reaching a peak in 2007-08 and closing the gap on other local authorities .

The results are particularly impressive given the high number of asylum seekers and refugee children coming into city schools who do not have English as a first language. Progress has been most marked in the early years of secondary school, but there is still significant work to do, with 40% of pupils failing to achieve the required standard in reading and maths, and nearly 50% failing to achieve the standard in writing.

In primary, more than 80% of pupils are now achieving the recommended levels in reading and maths, while 76% are attaining the standard in writing.

The figures, contained in a report for Glasgow City Council s executive committee next month, also confirm that results at Higher are generally improving, although there has been a small drop in some benchmark figures for Standard Grade.

The council believes this is partly because some 300 S4 pupils who would previously have dropped out have been kept on the school roll while they take vocational courses not accredited by the Scottish Qualifications Authority.

Yesterday, Margaret Doran, the council s executive director of education and social work, said the improvement in reading, writing and maths was due to an increased focus on literacy and numeracy since 2007.

The strategy was drawn up after the publication of a report by a unique education commission set up by the council s former director of education, Ronnie O Connor, which called for a zero toleranceZ approach to poor literacy and numeracy.

The commission called for literacy and numeracy champion teamsZ to be created from a pool of 90 experienced staff to offer intensive support to pupils, but also to train other staff and help parents. Children from disadvantaged backgrounds identified as needing extra support would be given booster lessonsZ to raise standards.

The final strategy to improve literacy incorporated elements of synthetic phonics, where children learn the sounds of letters which make up words, as well as learning through play and activities.

Ms Doran welcomed the new figures, but said officials would be expecting even better results in future years .

The attainment is pleasing.

It is saying to me that our primary and secondary schools are doing well, and they are doing that in the context of a significant number of foreign national children Z she said.

In terms of the results at Standard Grade and Higher there has also been strong progress in some areas, but I am looking for further evidence of improvement year on year.Z Gordon Matheson, the council s executive member for education, added: I am heartened by these results which complement a number of excellent HMIE inspection reports recently, but we accept we still have a way to go yet. Z INSIDE Zero tolerance Page 6 Leader Page 14

Originally published by Newsquest Media Group.

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