Many Angus primary school pupils are falling behind when it comes to numeracy and reading and writing, councillors have been told.
A meeting of Angus Council’s children and learning committee heard some age groups in primary schools have been below the Scottish Government’s Broad General Education targets for the past three years – and even further behind its own stricter measures.
But secondary pupils are generally performing ahead of the curve, with improving Nat 5 scores and more pupils acing more than five Highers than ever before.
The Scottish Government has an 85% target for children to be secure in their learning at second level by the end of primary 7, and third level by the end of S3 by June 2017.
The local authority aims for 90% of children to be secure in their learning at the appropriate level by the end of P1, P4, P7 and S3 in June next year.
Head of schools and learning Pauline Stephen reported to councillors that local performance in reading within early to second levels is “marginally below the national target for June” and there has been “a marginal dip in performance at all levels” in the primary sector.
“Performance in writing within the primary school at P1, P4 and P7 is below the national target for June 2017,” she commented.
“Improvement in attainment in writing will be a focus for schools for session 2016/17 and the quality improvement team and Schools and Learning Support officer for Literacy will provide enhanced support and challenge to those schools underperforming.”
Ms Stephen said there has been a “disappointing dip in performance in numeracy” at the end of P4 and P7, and there are “concerns about pace and challenge in numeracy and mathematics.”
“We also propose to work with teachers to improve their confidence and knowledge in teaching writing and building on the basic skills learned in early level to ensure appropriate provision and challenge in first and second levels,” she commented.
“We propose to undertake a review of pace and challenge of primary mathematics and numeracy across a sample of our primary schools to inform the ongoing focus on improving learning and teaching in this area.”
Arbroath councillor David Fairweather told the meeting in Forfar: “I did notice in the report the slight dip in performance in the primary sector but I also note the work that’s being done to better performances.
“I have no doubt of that, especially when looking at attainment in secondary schools.”
Following the meeting, Montrose councillor David May said: “The results for Angus secondary pupils have over the last five years shown a consistent and very welcome improvement at nearly all of the stages.
“It is clear that the work put in by staff and pupils with support from parents in raising expectations, and not just accepting passes, is to be commended.”