Efforts to Redouble in Attainment Challenge


3rd September 2020

A progress report on the work across Dundee to cut the poverty-related attainment gap, and produce better outcomes for children and young people from the city’s most deprived communities, will be discussed on Monday September 7.

A senior councillor says that efforts will be redoubled to help pupils following the period schools were closed to fight coronavirus.

The children and families service committee will hear that there were “improving trends” in attainment, but the impact of coronavirus and the cancelling of this year’s exams make it difficult to make comparisons with previous years.

However, committee members will be told, the response to the pandemic is now allowing new flexibility around how money is targeted at pupils.

Dundee City Council has been able to claim over £20 million from the Scottish Government in recent years to assist with attainment challenge projects, and a similar sum has been awarded under the Pupil Equity Fund.

Developments highlighted to the committee include the positive impact that attainment challenge projects are making in early learning at nurseries to help young children with language and communications skills.

In primary schools, increase in access to the online Sumdog resource is assisting children to improve their numeracy skills.

Meanwhile, additional study and learning support funding is being provided to all secondary schools for looked after and care experienced young people including examination preparation.

Children and families services convener Councillor Stewart Hunter explains that while progress is being made, there cannot be any let up in the attainment challenge across the city.

He said: “The impact of the pandemic was felt across all our schools, but those young people who are the focus of our attainment challenge efforts would have been most disadvantaged.

“That is why schools and the council’s children and families services are redoubling their efforts to continue and build on the progress that was being made before the pandemic.

“We want to improve outcomes for these children and young people, but there are no quick fixes or easy solutions. This report outlines how creativity is being used by our dedicated staff to bring about improvements for young people to help them onto a positive future.”

Dundee City Council

Dundee draws skilled workers from a 60-minute catchment population of 640,000 and has a local population of over 140,000. The availability of a large pool of highly skilled labour is a key feature in the Dundee economy. Flexibility in the labour force is currently more prevalent in Dundee than in Scotland as a whole. All forms of labour market flexibility - part-time, temporary employment, self-employment and shift work - are widely operational within the city. Labour force stability in the city is excellent, enabling companies to plan with confidence. Labour turnover levels are less than 5% and absenteeism averages 2%.

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