Pupil Equity Funding is being put to good use in schools across Argyll and Bute, helping children to realise their potential and improve literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing.
At a meeting of the council’s Community Services Committee today (Thursday) Caroline Armour, head teacher at Dalintober Primary School in Campbeltown, was joined by Rona Young, Physical Education Co-ordinator, and Kathryn Wilkie, Area Education Officer, to explain to members the different ways that PEF is being used to benefit pupils.
The Scottish Government PEF was introduced last year as a core element of the Scottish Attainment Challenge, with the aim of improving the educational outcomes of children affected by poverty. There is currently a gap between the educational progress made by those living in Scotland’s least and most deprived areas, often known as the ‘attainment gap.’
Just over £1.3 million was allocated to schools across Argyll and Bute in 2017, with a further £1.4 million of this year’s allocation earmarked for the area.
The fund enables head teachers to make decisions about how the funding can be used to deliver activities that are additional to those which are already planned.
One of the ways that Dalintober Primary has used the money is to extend the Better Movers, Better Thinkers project – an initiative that was first established through funding from the Scottish Government’s Education Scotland Innovation Fund aimed at raising attainment through literacy and numeracy. It encourages young people to use sequencing with numbers and letters whilst moving, engaging the body and the mind at the same time.
Dalintober is one of four schools in Argyll and Bute using the PEF to extend the Better Movers, Better Thinkers initiative. The others are Parklands, Bowmore and Port Ellen Primary Schools.
The impact of the project at Dalintober was monitored over a three month period and the results were measured using the British Ability Score. These results showed a significant improvement in learning. The children were more confident, their mental agility was better and there was an improvement in their motor skills. The pupils had better digital recall, they appeared more focussed, their speed processing had increased and they were able to self-evaluate their own learning.
The Council’s Policy Lead for Education, Councillor Yvonne McNeilly said: “The staff and pupils at Dalintober have been extremely innovative in how they how used their allocation of funding and it is very encouraging to hear such positive feedback from the children.
“We want our young people to have the best start in life. This means raising attainment and trying to close the attainment gap.
“It is important that the life chances of all children and young people in Argyll and Bute are equal. We recognise the importance of rural issues and how this impacts on the life chances for our children, and look forward to the Pupil Equity Funding helping to address these issues.”