Earlier this year, the Highland Council region was the worst in Scotland for literacy and numeracy in P1, P4 and P7.
Official statistics for 2020/21 for P1/P4/P7 indicate that 49% of pupils achieved literacy results, but the Scottish average was 67%, while 60% achieved numeracy results against a national average of 75% .
Council bosses have blamed the impact of Covid despite investment per primary pupil putting the council 20th out of 32 local authority areas nationwide, as they insist a lot of work is being done to improve the results.
The latest figures show that the combined performance of Highland P1/P4/P7 increased by 10%, with 59% of students reaching the expected level of literacy while the proportion reaching the expected levels in numeracy increased by 8%, reaching 68%.
“Let’s be clear, nothing has changed across the Highlands in terms of how the council approaches literacy and numeracy education; it’s just that our hard-working teachers have finally received training on how to assess literacy and numeracy levels. »
Fiona Grant, head of secondary education and Colette Macklin, head of primary education, pointed out that the figures reported to the education commission were “estimates based on returns from schools in June 2022”, with a “number of ‘assumptions’ made when calculating percentages.
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Aird and Loch Ness Councilor Helen Crawford welcomed the improvement but said the only thing that had really changed was that teachers were receiving standardized training on how to grade results.
“I am determined to campaign for improvements in our local schools,” she said. “While the improvement is not due to remedial programs or a change in the way we deliver literacy and numeracy classes, it should still be welcomed as a starting point.
“This is a change in the way our teachers assess achievement, not a strategic Highland-wide change in the way we teach our children.
“Let’s be clear, nothing has changed across the Highlands in terms of how the council approaches literacy and numeracy education; it’s just that our hard-working teachers have finally received training on how to assess literacy and numeracy levels.
“Until now, our teachers had to figure out for themselves how to score these important fundamentals. This contrasts with other local authority areas in Scotland where many years ago and on an ongoing basis the relevant education department ensured that standardized assessments took place across the area.
“We have to ask ourselves the question: where is the remedial program that we were promised in literacy and numeracy? Where is the great thinking and direction that we really need from the board to improve these foundational fundamentals in our schools? »