August 12, 2008

Schools Get Top Marks for Literacy, Numeracy Skills Achievement Hits Peak but There’s Still Work to Do

READING, writing and maths achievement in Glasgow's state schools have risen to their highest levels after a push on literacy and numeracy.

Official figures show attainment in the "three Rs" among 5-14- year-olds 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 in 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.

Around 40per cent of pupils still fail to achieve the required standard in reading and maths, and nearly 50per cent fail to achieve the standard in writing.

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

The figures, 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.

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 an education commission which wanted a "zero tolerance" approach to poor literacy and numeracy.

The commission called for literacy and numeracy "champion teams" to be created from a pool of 90 experienced staff to offer support to pupils, other staff and parents.

Children from disadvantaged backgrounds identified as needing extra support would be given "booster lessons" .

Ms Doran said: "The attainment is pleasing. It is saying 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.

"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 ."

Gordon Matheson, the council's executive member for education, said he was "heartened" by the results.

Originally published by Newsquest Media Group.

(c) 2008 Evening Times; Glasgow (UK). Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.