Education specialists from across the North-east, North and West of Scotland are to deliver a week-long series of digital professional learning events for teachers and practitioners from the end of September as part of a drive to increase awareness about child poverty in Scotland and the impact this has on learning.

Led by the Northern Alliance (Regional lmprovement Collaborative for the area’s eight local authorities) in collaboration with Education Scotland, Promoting Equity Week will run from Monday 28 September and will help schools across the region consider the barriers faced by young people living in poverty and investigate the pressures the pandemic has had on vulnerable and disadvantaged children.

Teachers and practitioners will have an opportunity to look at mitigating measures they can use in school, explore how they can best use Attainment Scotland funding and share ideas and best practice with peers on how to address the poverty-related attainment gap.

Lead officer Scott Calder explains: “At this time of pandemic, achieving equity for all our young people has never been more important or more challenging. Promoting Equity Week will provide an important opportunity to collaborate on what is working, share research and provide professional learning opportunities which will support the work of educators across the Northern Alliance. We hope it will help colleagues’ in understanding equity, raising attainment and closing the poverty-related attainment gap for our young people.”

Each day of Promoting Equity Week will cover a different theme, with expert inputs and opportunities to attend sessions on everything from using local data to inform practice to family learning and partnerships. There will also be resources for practitioners available to use from the middle of September which will actively engage pupils around the theme of equity in school.

Helen Budge from Shetland Council who is now lead officer for the Northern Alliance Regional Improvement Collaborative commented: “The necessity for delivering meetings and training online since lockdown has helped us to re-imagine the best ways of working with colleagues across such a large geographical area and the online delivery of continued professional learning opportunities has been hugely successful.

“Promoting Equity Week will build on that success, giving one of our core workstreams a real platform for collaboration and focus. All our bairns, regardless of where they live or how much money their family has, should be given the same chances to flourish, and this is a chance for all of us educators to make a concerted effort to focus and deliver on behalf of some of our most vulnerable children and young people.”

Social isolation and exclusion are considerable issues for those experiencing poverty leading to low aspiration, little social mobility and less favourable outcomes post education.

David Gregory who is Senior Regional Advisor for Education Scotland’s Northern Team added: “It’s important we support all teachers and practitioners to develop their understanding about the issues being faced by children and young people in order to put in place the best solutions at a local level. Promoting Equity Week will provide a great opportunity to gain new insight as well as share examples of what has really worked.”

A website has been set up to share the highlights about Promoting Equity Week and encourage practitioners to sign up for events:

You may also wish to follow the discussion on Twitter using the hashtag #NA2020Equity or by following @NAPovertyGap

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