Major investment aimed at ensuring every child in Fife is given the best possible start in life appears to be paying dividends.
Fife Council is investing £7.8m over a three-year period in an early years strategy.
Parents are telling us they feel more confident in their own skills, and this is in turn having an effect on positive school resultsCouncillor William Campbell
This week, councillors were told the ‘Family Nurture Approach’ was having a positive impact on children and their families.
And they approved spending plans for 2015/16 in order to keep the work going.
New programmes for parents and children have been rolled out across the Kingdom.
More than 500 parents have taken part in projects aimed at improving attachment, confidence in parenting and behaviour management, while more than 128 staff have been trained to help and support parents and families taking part in these projects.
In addition, the Family Support in Fife team has been in contact with 1000 vulnerable families.
Councillor William Campbell, Fife’s early years spokesman, said: “We are committed to breaking the cycle of disadvantage through early intervention in families with children under three.
“Within less than two years of the Family Nurture Approach being implemented in Fife we are seeing positive changes for families.
“Parents are telling us they feel more confident in their own skills, and this is in turn having an effect on positive school results.
“There has been a marked increase in literacy and numeracy in primary one children over the past year, and they are now performing better than the national average.
“Early intervention is key to continuing these positive results.”
The Family Nurture Approach is geared towards supporting children and their parents in their local area.
In Kirkcaldy, around 25 children and their parents from the Gallatown and Sinclairtown areas are being supported with services provided at The Cottage Family Centre.
Further initiatives have been designed to reduce health inequalities and improving children’s readiness to learn.
Teachers have reported in increase in the number of children inprimary one achieving Curriculum for Excellence levels in literacy and numeracy, up from 90 and 91 per cent in 2012/13, to 93.7 and 94 per cent in 2013/14 respectively.
Councillor Peter Grant, SNP group leader, said: “Young people in Fife are being given a better start to their primary education, and therefore a better start to the rest of their lives.
“The challenge now is to ensure we continue this for future generations.”
Cllr Bryan Poole, education spokesman, added: “Progress over the last couple of years has been fantastic.”