Pupils living in North Ayrshire’s most deprived communities will benefit from another £5.8 million targeted funding from the Attainment Scotland Fund to help close the poverty-related attainment gap.
Nine local councils with the highest concentrations of deprivation in Scotland, known as “Challenge Authorities”, will share £43 million of investment.
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.
The £50 million 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.
To help mitigate the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, schools and local authorities will have flexibility to redirect some of this Challenge Authority and Schools’ Programme funding from existing plans to best support the most vulnerable and disadvantaged families, with a continued focus on equity in education.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney MSP 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 that Headteachers continue to be directly involved in any decision made about the deployment of Schools’ Programme funding and Pupil Equity Funding.
“This work will be supported by our £9 million investment in 25,000 laptops and tablets to assist pupils learning at home.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“In Government, the SNP has put closing the poverty-related attainment gap front and centre of its plans to improve education.
“This latest £5.8 million funding boost demonstrates its ambition to transform our schools and ensure that every young person in North Ayrshire 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. 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 across North Ayrshire.”