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DEWAR ANNOUNCES EXTRA£36M FOR EARLY EDUCATION INTERVENTION

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A major expansion of the government's Early Intervention Programme ...
A major expansion of the government's Early Intervention Programme

has been announced by Scottish secretary Donald Dewar who has

allocated an additional£36m to build on 'the Programme's success in

raising standards of literacy and numeracy in the early years of primary school.' Mr Dewar also highlighted some of the specific educational innitiatives which will benefit as a result of this additional funding.

Speaking during a visit to Pirniehall Primary School in Pilton Mr

Dewar said:

Looking Back

'A year ago we announced a three year Early Intervention Programme

as part of our commitment to raise standards in our schools, and said

that all Primary 1 and 2 children should acquire the basic learning

skills at this stage in their school career.

Looking Forward

'Today I am announcing the rolling out of the Programme from three

to five years. I want more children to benefit from the Programme and

from April 1999 the government will double its contribution from

£7m to£14m per year allowing education authorities to build on the excellent work already undertaken.

This extra cash will allow:

- the focus on literacy to be expanded to include numeracy

- more support for home/school links and initiatives such as schemes to help parents support their children's learning eg listening to their reading

- increased numbers of classroom assistants to allow teachers to work

more closely on individual needs

- targeting of schools under performing on reading and numeracy

- special focus of resources on areas with social exclusion problems

'This announcement, which means that over the full five year period

we will have provided an additional£56m, reflects the importance

the Government attaches to the early achievement of basic skills in

reading, writing and numeracy. A good grounding in these basic skills

is essential if pupils are to achieve their full potential at all later stages of their learning.

'The Early Intervention Programme will work alongside other

measures put in place to get the early years right, investing in the early years avoid the costs of later failure.

- from next winter there will be a pre -school nursery place for every

child

-£30m package for childcare

-£23m for out of school activities with government support programme in one in four primary schools

-£3m alternatives to exclusion pilot scheme

'This significant expansion of early intervention underpins our wider

policies for increasing the achievement of targets in literacy and

numeracy in primary schools and is critical to meeting our social

exclusion agenda.

'Early intervention is vitally important for children with special

educational needs and the Programme acknowledges this. We will

double the programme's existing provision of£500,000 per year to

£1m per year for specialist training for classroom staff working with

pupils with special educational needs.'

NOTES

1. The government's Early Intervention Programme was launched

by Brian Wilson, Scottish education minister, on 23 June 1997.

2. The government's original contribution was£7m in

1997-98. This will increase to£14m per year from 1 April 1999

and the life of the programme will be extended to five years up to

2001/2. The value of the government contribution to the Programme

will be£56m over the five year period.

3. The Early Intervention Programme aims to help education

authorities develop early intervention schemes designed to improve

basic literacy (reading and writing) and numeracy skills in primary

years 1 and 2. There are now local early intervention schemes

operating in all education authority areas in Scotland. These have been drawn up by authorities themselves to take account of local needs and circumstances.

4. Expansion of the scheme will support authorities to widen the

focus of their early intervention work. In addition extension of the

programme complements the government's wider policies for the

development of universal pre-school provision, the raising of standards in schools and will contribute to its social exclusion agenda.

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