Progress is being made on the Attainment Challenge in Clackmannanshire, which this school year has focussed on literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing in our primary schools.
The programme, part of the Scottish Attainment Challenge, is working to raise attainment for all and closing the gap between the children living in our most and least deprived communities. Clackmannanshire is one of seven local authorities who initially received a share of the funding that was allocated to drive forward these improvements over four years.
Across Clackmannanshire, we have developed literacy with a key focus on reading this year, by funding schools to improve resources and to develop library areas and classroom spaces, supporting pupils by creating high quality learning spaces.
Schools have launched exciting projects that engage and motivate pupils in reading. For example, Park Primary and Alloa Academy worked together to enable P6 pupils at Park to undertake a series of library visits at the Academy, which supported the development of literacy skills such as extending vocabulary and their knowledge of books and genres. A group of Alloa Academy S3 pupils embraced a supporting "buddy" role in the project and are to receive accreditation for their efforts.
Menstrie, Banchory and Park Primary Schools have joined forces to use tablet apps such as FaceTime to share their literacy learning between classes from each school, giving a modern twist to reading classics such as Treasure Island.
In several Clackmannanshire schools, small groups of pupils are working directly with Attainment Support Teachers on Literacy and Numeracy to build their skills and abilities.
Clackmannanshire teachers have undertaken on-going professional learning by attending Attainment Challenge Workshops, with topics such as Reading Strategies.
Each primary school has a literacy leader who has responsibility for developing literacy within their own school, driving forward reading projects and ideas. The literacy leaders have been meeting regularly this year to share good practice and discuss reading improvements and resources.
In this first year, the Attainment Challenge has provided the pupils with opportunities to be journalists and children's articles have been published in a newsletter for children and families.
Parents and families play a key role in Raising Attainment and our schools continue to develop and grow these relationships. A sports project in Coalsnaughton Primary has been very successful this year, with children, parents, teachers and Sports Development working as a team. Psychological Services team is able to provide additional time for therapeutic work supporting children and families who have had difficult and emotional experiences.
We are now in the process of taking the Attainment Challenge forward into Year Two. The team is working in conjunction with head-teachers to plan for the best educational opportunities for all pupils and to increase the quality and use of resources. There is an on-going commitment to the aims of the Challenge and to providing children with the best start to their educational careers as possible.