Paisley’s MSP praises the SNP Government’s announcement of a £50million package of support to improve attainment in local schools and has said pupils living in Paisley’s most deprived communities will benefit from targeted funding from the Attainment Scotland Fund to help close the poverty-related attainment gap.  

Renfrewshire Council will receive a £4,558,000 investment from the SNP Scottish Government to support pupils from deprived backgrounds and to help mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, schools and local authorities will have flexibility to redirect some of this funding from existing plans to best support the most vulnerable and disadvantaged families, with a continued focus on equity in education.

Nine local councils with the highest concentrations of deprivation in Scotland, known as “Challenge Authorities”, will share £43 million of investment from the Attainment Scotland Fund. In addition, a further £7 million will be shared from the Schools’ Programme between 73 additional schools with the highest concentration of pupils from areas of deprivation.

This £50 million package is in addition to the £250 million Pupil Equity Funding package announced in May for the next two years and an investment of £9 million to provide 25,000 laptops to assist pupils learning at home.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:

“Closing the poverty-related attainment gap remains the defining mission of this Government and the challenges presented by the current pandemic mean that efforts to deliver equity in education are more important than ever. This funding will allow local authorities and schools to provide targeted help for some of our most disadvantaged pupils.

“I have given local authorities additional flexibility in how this funding is deployed in light of the unprecedented circumstances we find ourselves in. This will allow schools and councils to swiftly adjust plans and to work together to identify opportunities to undertake collaborative approaches in response to the current crisis.

It is important too that Headteachers continue to be directly involved in any decision made about the deployment of Schools’ Programme funding and Pupil Equity Funding.”

Commenting, George Adam MSP said:

“In Government, the SNP has put closing the poverty-related attainment gap front and centre of its plans to improve education.

“This latest funding boost for Paisley demonstrates the Government’s ambition to transform our schools and ensure that every young person gets the chance to succeed in life, regardless of their background.

“There’s still a lot to do in reducing poverty and inequality in Scotland – but universal benefits like free school meals for our youngest pupils, free prescriptions and free higher education are helping keep more money in the pockets of hard working families here in our town.

“The Education Secretary, John Swinney, has also handed councils the flexibility to use this funding to help respond to the coronavirus pandemic so no child gets left behind and I know this will go a long way to make sure all Paisley children have the opportunity to achieve their dreams.”