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Why rich kids do better at school

This opinion piece is over 9 years old

Jackie Brock believes there are key changes to the education system that will ensure poor kids catch up with their richer, more successful peers

In Scotland today, too many children from deprived households and communities finish their formal education with significantly lower levels of attainment than their peers from more affluent areas. The situation is often the same if they are living in less well-off households where families are headed by one or both parents who have few, if any, formal qualifications.

Equally disturbing, there is an attainment gap between the more and less affluent children and young people within the majority of all our schools – regardless of their geographical location. In this context, we strongly support the current political priority to raise school attainment and work towards eliminating the attainment gap. The shocking gap in attainment between richer and poorer children requires a ruthless focus within learning settings on a strategic approach to improving educational attainment.

To that end, Children in Scotland proposes the following five-point plan for securing a more effective contribution for the third and private sectors in the campaign for educational attainment.

Jackie Brock

Only an area-wide strategy can ensure that our most vulnerable children receive the resources they require

Jackie Brock

1. We would like to see Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) updated to underline that it is Scotland’s approach to learning for all – from birth throughout adulthood. If we are to have an unrelenting focus on improving educational attainment, we need to recognise formally within CfE that learning begins from birth and that the pre-formal learning experiences of a child before the age of three – together with the love and support provided by their parents, carers and professionals – provide the crucial pre-conditions for future effective learning.

2. We welcome the proposal within the Scottish Attainment Challenge to develop a bespoke improvement plan tackling attainment inequality for a school or cluster of schools. However, we believe this needs to be set within a wider attainment strategy of a local authority and community planning area and, in particular, in the context of the school community based around primary schools and their partner secondary schools, special schools and early years settings.

3. Only an area-wide strategy can ensure that our most vulnerable children – those with additional support needs, including looked after at home and those who may need to move in and out of mainstream school or require specialist support – receive the resources they require.

4. We welcome the progress made by the literacy and numeracy hubs, but we believe these hubs should be rolled out across the country. An area requiring further attention and action is that effective engagement with families in the early years must address the literacy and numeracy needs of many parents.

5. We welcome the announcement that the Attainment Scotland Fund will enable schools to develop out of school activities. This is a critical feature of the development of our children’s skills.

Finally, while we welcome the focus on raising attainment for our children and young people, it is vital that the role of parents and carers is also taken into account in supporting their children to become confident, aspirational and ambitious.

Jackie Brock is chief executive of Children in Scotland, the umbrella body for the children’s sector, including education, health, social care, early years and childcare. It has more than 430 members and its staff are delivering a wide range of projects and programmes in schools and other settings, with an array of public, private and third sector partners.



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over 9 years ago
Well that is a sensationalist headline. The article isn't actually about why rich kids do better but how to eliminate the attainment gap and should actually reflect that.However I have serious reservations about what this article actually states. They are attempting to box up the CfE into measurable outcomes so that children are assessed from birth to adulthood at every potential level. This is fundamentally wrong we need to focus on giving them the opportunity to be who they can and want to be.The statement I find particularly troubling is - 'that the pre-formal learning experiences of a child before the age of three – together with the love and support provided by their parents, carers and professionals – provide the crucial pre-conditions for future effective learning.' Firstly what does pre-formal mean. I believe it to mean assessment assessment assessment and if they aren't where they are suppose to be in the pre-formal learning experience then somebody will be to blame. finally on that point what does pre-conditions for future learning mean? the only part i agree with in this statement is 'love and support.'As a parent i am finding it increasingly hard for my child to simply have fun and that is what is missing from this series of action point. pardon the language but screw the attainment gap for 0-7 year olds and lets concentrate on all children having good wholesome PLAY experiences, fun and most importantly having a great childhood free from adult led learning pressure which by the way rich kids have too.I could rant on further but i feel my point is made. one final FYI is that point 5 is statement of fact not an action plan
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