Thursday, September 27, 2007

The poor and education

Socialist Courier has directed readers towards findings that have indicated a link between class and educational achievement here and here and the Herald reports further connections between poverty and educational success .

Figures from the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) show that Glasgow, Dundee, North Ayrshire and West Dunbartonshire are among the councils with the lowest attainment rates at Standard Grade and Higher - all are regions which have a much higher proportion of pupils on free school meals than the national average of 14.6% - a key indicator of deprivation. Glasgow , for instance , has 32% of pupils are on free meals .

The best performing councils, including East Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire, Stirling and the Western Isles all have much lower proportions of pupils on free school meals. In East Renfrewshire, the figure is 8.3%.

The latest figures to highlight the gulf in exam attainment between rich and poor will spark renewed concerns that not enough is being done to address the problem. Last year, HM Inspectorate of Education found the gap between the best and worst-performing pupils in Scotland was growing wider, despite a raft of government initiatives and £19 billion spent on education since devolution.
Isabel Hutton, education spokeswoman for Cosla, which represents local authorities, called for the "inequalities arising from deprivation" to be removed.
A Scottish Government spokesman said the focus by ministers of early intervention, cutting class sizes in deprived areas and ensuring teachers were retained in nurseries would all help to raise attainment across the board.

Socialist Courier doubts if such palliative will address the situation . After all , it has been an objective of all governments , of all shades of the political spectrum , to foster an educated work-force and here we are still facing the same problem .

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