MSP hails funding boost for Western Isles schools

Alasdair Allan MSP
Alasdair Allan MSP

Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan has welcomed the news that schools in the Western Isles will benefit from a £275,000 funding boost as part of the Scottish Government’s drive to improve standards in schools.

The share each school is due to receive from the Scottish Government’s new £120 million Pupil Equity Fund has been revealed by Deputy First Minister John Swinney, with schools set to receive additional support worth thousands of pounds.

It will be up to teachers and school leaders to decide the best way of using the funding to close the poverty related attainment gap in their schools.

Alasdair Allan MSP commented: “Every child in Scotland should have the best possible start in life.

“It is simply wrong for children from the poorest backgrounds to have their chances limited by circumstances outside their control.

“The SNP in government has made closing the poverty-related attainment gap our number one priority.

“This new £120 million Pupil Equity Fund is aimed at doing just that – supporting 21 primaries and 4 secondaries across the Isles.

“This new announcement will let parents, teachers and school leaders see how much funding they can expect to drive up standards and tackle the inter-generational cycle of deprivation in their school.”

Responding to Alasdair Allan’s claims that extra money will be available for schools in the Western Isles, Highlands and Islands MSP, Rhoda Grant said: “The money being given directly to schools, in no way, makes up for the extensive cuts facing local councils, following yesterday’s budget.

“The Scottish Parliament Information Centre has confirmed that local government still faces a £169 million cut in the current year. This means that local government has seen cuts totalling £1.5 billion since 2011.

“The Scottish Government’s auditors report that education has already been cut in real terms and that teacher numbers are at a 10-year low. The price of those cuts is that achievement is falling, the chances our children get are being limited and their horizons are being narrowed.

“This money is by-passing local councils and going directly to school. It is, we are told, an attempt to close the attainment gap between the richest and the rest. This is being done against the background of extensive cuts to public services, including education which, following the budget, we can expect to continue.

“This money makes no attempt to close the financial gap between rich and poor - which we know is growing. We will not close the gap between rich and poor through education itself and the continued cuts to services make it considerably harder for local authorities to do this either.”