By Aileen MacLennan
Argyll and Bute Council has reaffirmed its commitment to tackling the poverty-related attainment gap in Argyll and Bute and to ensuring that children and young people in the area are provided with equal opportunities.
As part of an update on the latest Scottish Government guidance on the Scottish Attainment Challenge (SAC), members of the Council’s Community Services Committee reiterated their focus on ensuring that funding delivers support across the region for those most in need.
The SAC is the Scottish Government’s framework for supporting schools, local authorities and the wider education sector to assist educational recovery and increase progress in improving outcomes for children and young people impacted by poverty. It is supported by the Attainment Scotland Fund (ASF), which aims to deliver improvements in literacy, numeracy, and health and wellbeing for children affected by poverty in Scotland’s schools.
The ASF is made up of various funding streams totalling £1 billion, including the Strategic Equity Fund (SEF) and Pupil Equity Fund (PEF).
At the meeting, the Community Service committee noted the strong progress that has been made towards achieving Argyll and Bute’s 2022-2023 stretch aims – these are core attainment measures identified as local priority areas for improvement such as literacy, numeracy, school attendance and pupils’ health and well-being.
Councillors were also provided with the latest guidance from Scottish Government to support the SEF and PEF funding streams.
Councillor Yvonne McNeilly, Policy Lead for Education, said: “Improving outcomes for all our children and young people is and will remain a top priority. As the latest figures demonstrate, we are making progress on closing the gap between our most and least disadvantaged learners but there is still more to be achieved, and we believe we are on course to further reduce the gap as we move forward.
“Our focus is on ensuring that the various SAC funding streams are targeted effectively to ensure we deliver high-quality educational experiences for all and maximise opportunities for those adversely affected by poverty across Argyll and Bute.”