The Leader of the Labour Group on Dumfries and Galloway Council Ronnie Nicholson, has slammed the council for failing local children after a report to the Education Committee, revealed that a number of key education targets have been missed.
The report to the committee today (Tuesday 17 September) showed that the target for the percentage primary 7 pupils for both general mathematics and mental arithmetic is being missed. For both, the target is 68%. In the case of general mathematics, the council’s score was 53.2%, while in terms of mental arithmetic the score was even worse at 42.4%.
Just as concerning is that the target for the number of looked after children (those children taking into care) attaining a suitable education was missed and the number actually felled.
Ronnie Nicholson, a member of the Education committee, said:
“Overall, as a result of the hard work of teachers and in particular pupils we have good attainment levels in Dumfries and Galloway, but for these specific targets to be missed is so badly is utterly shocking. In terms of the maths targets, the council coalition has set a target of 68%, which is already writing off 32% of children. For that target to be low and still be missed is just not good enough. Maths is vitally important both in school and in life. The council should be focusing on why this target has been failed to be met once again.”
“I am also concerned about the figures for looked after children. Not only has the target been missed but the attainment has actually decreased. The Education Director’s attitude at our committee meeting was extremely worrying. He implied that because there were a low number of children in care it didn’t really matter. But that is an excuse for this failure. It does not matter if its one child in care or ten, these children are already facing a difficult time in their home life, they should not be facing it at school. Children in this situation should be given extra support so they can get a good education.”
“Instead of focusing on its own pet projects, the Education Department should focus on giving our children a good education starting with the basics.”