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Renfrewshire making ‘excellent’ progress in raising attainment

Renfrewshire Council is the first local authority in Scotland to be rated ‘excellent’ for its progress in improving learning, raising attainment and narrowing the poverty-related attainment gap as part of the Scottish Attainment Challenge.

Education Scotland published its inspection report on Tuesday 19 February 2019 on progress in Renfrewshire and found significant year-on-year improvements in listening, talking, reading, writing and numeracy, with the attainment gap closing across all measures.

Renfrewshire is one of nine ‘challenge authorities’ in the Scottish Government funded Scottish Attainment Challenge, to close the attainment gap between those living in Scotland’s least and most deprived areas.

The report praises the “very successful” evidence-based, universal approach which sees support extended across all 62 primary, secondary and Additional Support Needs schools in Renfrewshire, a region where 27% of pupils live in Scotland’s most deprived areas.

Citing ‘highly effective leadership’, ‘excellent governance’ and a ‘shared vision’, it praises the culture where all staff are empowered to improve outcomes for pupils, their families and communities.

Read the full reaction to the report findings from the Chief Inspector of Education for Scotland and Deputy First Minister 

As a Challenge Authority, Renfrewshire has received £10.4million in Scottish Government attainment challenge funding since June 2016 and has achieved an 11 percentage point increase in expected levels of literacy and a 5 percentage point increase in expected levels of numeracy from 2015-2018. Over the same period, the poverty-related attainment gap has reduced by 6 percentage points in literacy and 4 percentage points in numeracy.

What was the inspection?

Education Scotland introduced a new model of inspection of local authorities in 2017, working in partnership with Audit Scotland to evaluate local authorities’ strategies to improve learning, raise attainment and closing the poverty-related attainment gap.

The inspection looked at the effectiveness of the education service’s use of data to target, select and evaluate the impact of initiatives and the education service’s leadership, governance and management of resources to improve learning, raise attainment and narrow the poverty-related attainment gap.

What did the Renfrewshire Council inspection report say?

Renfrewshire Council is the first local authority in Scotland to be judged to be making ‘excellent’ progress in improving learning, raising attainment and narrowing the poverty-related attainment gap.

  • Significant, year-on-year improvements in closing the poverty-related attainment gap across all key indicators.
  • Leadership and governance within Children’s Services are highly effective and outcomes in literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing have improved significantly
  • Very successful, evidence-based universal and targeted interventions which are securing improvement.
  • Highly effective leadership, a shared vision and staff empowered at all levels to improve outcomes for pupils, their families and communities.
  • Outstanding impact of its sector-leading approach to professional learning, delivered in collaboration with academic partners.
  • Excellent approach to governance and accountability.

How does it work in Renfrewshire?

  • Our focus is to improve attainment for everyone, with extra support tailored and directed to the pupil as required.
  • All 49 primary schools have a pupil tracking and monitoring system to effectively monitor the poverty-related attainment gap and data mentors in every primary school and principal teachers in raising attainment in each secondary school help to build staff expertise in data analysis.
  • More than 1000 staff have participated in Stages of Early Arithmetical Learning which has improved confidence in teaching numeracy
  • More than 50 classroom assistants have undertaken literacy and numeracy training in collaboration with the University of Strathclyde
  • A further 134 staff have completed the Aspiring Leaders course, with all head teachers outlining increased confidence in their ability to lead and manage change
  • More than 300 parents, carers and their children have enjoyed tea-time study sessions with a family focus on literacy and numeracy
  • Parents in Partnership provides practical lessons for pupils and parents, aiming to make pupils and parents more comfortable in the school environment and has improved or maintained attendance of all participating S2 pupils
  • Coffee, Cake and Comprehension/Calculus sessions were created for P7 and secondary teachers to discuss the links between the curricular transitions between primary and secondary, share good practice and enhance knowledge and skills.
  • More than 3800 pupils from 27 schools are part of the Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS) programme, delivered in partnership with Barnardos, to develop self-control and emotional awareness, achieving a significant reduction in antisocial behaviour and improved concentration in class.
  • A total of 49 schools are involved in the Renfrewshire Nurturing Relationships Approach programme, run by the educational psychology service and encouraging nurturing relationships in helping all children to learn and develop socially and emotionally.
  • A Cost of the School Day fund sees parents and school staff work together to ensure all children can take part in school activities and participate fully in their school.
  • Our work has been acknowledged with the 2018 COSLA excellence Silver award and in 2018 St Anthony’s Primary School in Johnstone became the first Scottish school to become the Literacy School of the Year, awarded  by the UK Literacy Association.

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