'The government is committed to help improve reading standards by encouraging the spread of early intervention reading programmes, and will work in partnership with local authorities to raise standards of basic reading, writing and numeracy skills in Scottish schools.
'This grant programme is worth£9m over three years and each authority will be able to apply for up to£300,000 per year to develop early intervention schemes in schools.
'Many authorities have identified early intervention as having a vital role to play in helping children to achieve basic skills. This programme will build on the work already being undertaken by authorities and further develop innovative approaches to early intervention for areas of identified need. We will have a range of pilot projects in place across Scotland by August.
1. The announcement of an early Intervention grants programme arises from a recommendation in the report Improving Achievements in Scottish Schools which was published in December. The report was the work of a task force set up to look at strategies to improve performance in primary and secondary schools. The task force recommended that education authorities should give priority to the development and introduction of early intervention schemes designed to improve basic skills of literacy and numeracy and that The Scottish Office should support local authority expenditure on early intervention by means of a specific grant.
2. Local authorities have been invited to submit proposals for schemes which aim to improve reading, writing and numeracy skills within Primary years 1 and 2. Schemes will be targeted at individual schools, groups of schools or pupils within a defined area or community.
3. Grant will be able to be used to support a number of approaches eg additional classroom personnel, staff development and training, home/school liaison, additional teaching materials, etc.
4. The grants programme will run for three years. Education authorities have asked to submit proposals by 30 May and decisions will be announced by 14 June to allow schemes to get underway in the school year beginning in August.
5. The overall resources available under the grants programme will be 3 million per year. To ensure a wide spread of innovative projects is funded a maximum figure of£300,000 in any one year will apply to grant which may be offered to an individual authority.