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Poverty the Pandemic & Supporting Our Young People

The Scottish Government will be contributing an additional £43million to all of Scotland’s Local Authorities to address the impact of poverty and the pandemic on educational attainment.

Head teachers will receive up to £130 million next year through Pupil Equity Funding. It will be up to Head Teachers how this targeted money can best be used in their schools.

For those pupils who are care experienced there will be approximately £11.5 million, with around £9 million reserved for a number of a national programmes.

On Monday The Orkney News reported on the balance that schools need to maintain to not just look at ‘catch up’ in class but of a child’s well being. Whilst most schools are getting this right a few are not thinking first and foremost of a child’s mental well being but of ‘completing set tasks’. Schools & Covid: Getting the Balance Right

Research has shown that the Covid19 pandemic has had a significant impact on school pupils, not just with the loss of face to face teaching during periods of lockdown or self isolation. The mental well being of young children, particularly girls has been negatively impacted. Feelings of anxiety, loneliness and depression have been compounded for those in low income households.

Announcing the £200million funding for the year ahead Education Secretary in the Scottish Government, Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“Closing the attainment gap remains our key long-term ambition. We are increasing our investment to £1 billion over this parliamentary term to support education recovery and improve outcomes for children and young people impacted by poverty.

“We are determined to increase the pace of this crucial work and to ensure children and young people across different parts of Scotland reach their full potential. Our head teachers and teachers know their pupils best, and they have our full trust to help achieve this backed by £200 million for the year ahead. Schools can’t do this alone and we have fully aligned our work on closing the attainment gap with wider work to tackle child poverty.

“Nothing is more important than ensuring every child and young person has the same opportunity to succeed in education, regardless of their background – we will deliver this for them.” 

Education Scotland will be providing support to educators and management teams to ensure that “learners disadvantaged by poverty have the opportunities and support they need to achieve their aspirations,” said HMI Chief Inspector and Chief Executive of Education Scotland Gayle Gorman.

Education is administered by each Local Authority in Scotland. The investment of £43 million will be distributed equitably between 32 local authorities based on Children in Low Income Families data for the 2019/20 financial year. 

A number of national initiatives and Third Sector organisations will also receive funding.

COSLA (The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities) is the representative organisation for our local councils. Spokesperson for Children and Young People, Councillor Stephen McCabe said:

“Tackling the impact of poverty and inequality on Scotland’s children and young people continues to be a key priority for Local Government.

“Councils are on the frontline of efforts to support children and young people in poverty every day. That’s why we welcome the recognition that councils across Scotland will be pivotal in work to tackle the attainment gap, not only providing additional support within schools but enabling stronger links with the wide range of important services for children, young people and their families that sit beyond the school gates.

“COSLA and our Member Councils will continue to work collaboratively with partners – locally, regionally, and nationally – ensuring that all children and young people in Scotland achieve the best possible outcomes from their education.”

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