Literacy levels in Fife schools continue to rise

Pupils in Fife schools are becoming better readers.
Pupils in Fife schools are becoming better readers.
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Literacy levels in Fife schools have reached a new high, bucking the national trend.

Part of the success has been attributed to Fife Council’s Workshop for Literacy approach, which particularly focuses on disadvantaged children.

Councillor Bryan Poole has praised school staff.

Councillor Bryan Poole has praised school staff.

Having already made a difference in primary schools, it is now being piloted in secondaries.

Craig Munro, the Council’s executive director of education and children services, said: “I am delighted that we’re continuing to improve the literacy levels of children in Fife.

“And, importantly, the gap in literacy levels between children living in areas of social disadvantage and those in the most affluent areas is significantly reducing. Not only are we raising the bar for attainment, we’re also levelling the playing field for all of our children in Fife. This is creating national interest.

“I’d like to thank the children and parents for their hard work which supports our drive on reading and writing.

Better literacy levels open up opportunities in secondary and further education and make people more employable – it really is the key to a child’s future.

Councillor Bryan Poole

“I’m also writing to staff to thank them for their efforts – teachers are leading the work to develop programmes that improve the quality of learning and teaching for reading and writing and it is paying dividends for our children.”

The Workshop for Literacy approach has involved a dedicated team being set up to work with headteachers, teachers and support staff.

Work in schools has particularly focused on children and young people who are looked after, are not attending school regularly, have high levels of exclusions and live in areas of deprivation.

The approach is based on building nurturing relationships and supporting effective learning and teaching in literacy and numeracy.

A study carried out by a team of Fife educational psychologists found Workshop for Literacy significantly improved reading accuracy and reading comprehension for all pupils.

Pupils from the 20 per cent most disadvantaged backgrounds continued to perform above the national average, but did not show significant improvement in reading accuracy from the end of P1 to mid P2. However, their reading comprehension showed a highly significant improvement.

Councillor Bryan Poole, Fife Council’s education spokesman, said: “Fife Council is committed to breaking the cycle of disadvantage and we know that improving literacy standards is critical to this.

“Reading and writing skills are vital for unlocking a child’s full potential and their confidence.

“Better literacy levels open up opportunities in secondary and further education and make people more employable – it really is the key to a child’s future.

“Too many children are living in poverty and they must have the same opportunities as others to build a successful future for themselves and the next generation.

“We’ve targeted and invested in this over a number of years and we’re seeing great results.

“I want to put on record my thanks to all the staff, from the pupil support assistants and classroom teachers right through to those working in the education and children’s service directorate for the efforts they have been making for several years in this area of work. The rise in literacy achievement in Fife is due primarily to them.”