By Lucy Ashton
West Dunbartonshire schools are offering a wide range of additional support to ensure the area’s young people reach their full potential.
The supports are in place as part of work to raise attainment and give every pupil opportunities for success.
The details of projects were shared by Cllr Clare Steel, right, at a meeting of West Dunbartonshire council’s Educational Services committee this week.
In a report updating members on progress with attainment, they were told about a number of initiatives including one called Hive Intervention at Vale of Leven Academy.
The project offers enhanced support in numeracy, literacy and health and wellbeing for S2 and S3 pupils with low attendance and engagement.
The school also runs a Student and Family Engagement Hub to offer pupils and their families a space to raise concerns, set targets and get advice on any barriers to learning.
At Dumbarton Academy, Excellence and Equity leads help pupils to build resilience, self-esteem and wellbeing, with S6 pupils guiding S1 pupils as Well-being Ambassadors.
The school also uses Pupil Equity Funding to purchase school uniforms, stationery, and calculators, to ensure no pupil is disadvantaged in their learning both within and outwith school.
A pilot project at Our Lady and St Patrick’s High School supports young people who have the potential to achieve National 5 qualifications by providing devices that can be used at home, advice and support to engage in home-study, with regular one-to-one progress meetings.
In addition, the school has developed a ‘Health and Well Being Award’ with pupils engaging in activities and delivering presentations to share their learning about the importance of health and wellbeing.
At Saint Peter the Apostle, pupils can participate in more than 50 lunchtime clubs including sports, debating and performing arts, while the school also used Pupil Equity Funding to bring in an additional counsellor, ensuring pupils have access to support.
Clydebank High School runs a study café, following feedback from pupils who asked for a safe place at the end of the day to study and complete homework, with staff available to provide encouragement and support.
In addition, senior pupils have daily check-ins with Raising Attainment Principal Teachers and access to a teacher mentoring programme for advice on studying, time management, attendance, and wellbeing.
Councillor Clare Steel, Convener of Educational Services said: “It is really pleasing to hear such a varied and comprehensive package of support to ensure that our pupils not only reach their full potential academically, but also have the confidence and resilience to thrive once they have left school.
“Having safe and well-resourced spaces to study, have a bit of breakfast and get some peer or teacher support is so important, and the positive feedback received from pupils shows how much of a difference these extra initiatives are helping.”
Councillor John Millar, Vice Convener for Educational Services, added: “Changes to the way schools are funded through the Scottish Attainment Challenge Funding has seen West Dunbartonshire schools receive around 58% less funding, but it is vital that these projects remain available to ensure all pupils, regardless of circumstance, are given equal opportunities and life chances.
“It is great to know that our young people are being properly supported and encouraged within our educational establishments.”