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Highland Council to be asked by Conservative councillor Helen Crawford to take decisive action to improve literacy and numeracy results in primary schools

By Scott Maclennan

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Highland Council.
Highland Council.

Latest league tables show Highland is in last place for P1, 4 and 7 in Scotland.

Aird and Loch Ness Conservative councillor Helen Crawford said that cannot be allowed to continue.

Backed by Lib Dem group leader Alasdair Christie, she is bringing a motion to this Thursday’s full council meeting calling for recognition of the current state of numeracy and literacy and demanding action.

Cllr Crawford wants an improvement report to be presented by the council’s head of education Nicky Grant at the next full council meeting and thereafter on a biannual basis. She also wants similar reports to be brought to each and every education committee.

She is seeking cross-party support for the move, saying: “I am delighted to be lodging the very first motion of the new five-year session, a motion which asks our Highland councillors to prioritise literacy and numeracy in our primary schools, specifically to require that these basic learning fundamentals are tracked and monitored by the Highland Council at the top table – that means at full Highland Council level.

“One of the main reasons I stood as a councillor is that we currently rank, in Highland, lowest in Scotland for literacy and numeracy at the key stages in primary one, four and seven.

“And, as far as I can see, these core education fundamentals are not considered fully by all 74 councillors at any given time. That cannot be right and it’s selling our children and our hardworking teachers short.

“Looking at the council agenda, much of what’s discussed at the full council level is job creation, the economy and infrastructure but that’s only half of the picture.

“We’ve also got to ensure we do all that we can to give our children the key skills of literacy and numeracy so that they can take up the very same skilled jobs that the council wants to create. And we have to better support our excellent teachers and support staff to deliver these fundamentals.”

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