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02 February 2017 – All through

Dear Parents and Carers

I wanted to write to you to update you on the Pupil Equity Fund and how it will affect our school.  You may be aware from news reports that the Scottish Government has allocated £120 million to headteachers in schools based on how many children are entitled to free school meals.  For St John’s RC Academy, this funding amounts to £120,000, with £74,400 allocated to the primary department and £45,600 allocated to the secondary.  This is the largest amount of any single school in the local authority.  We have been told that this grant is additional money and must be spent on reducing the attainment gap which arises from poverty.  As I have said previously in my blog, the school’s Standards and Quality report and elsewhere, St John’s RC Academy (together with Perth and Kinross Council) is committed to closing this gap, and we have a wealth of data to suggest we are doing just that.  Of course, we still have further to go.  This additional funding is very welcome and will help us to plan for further targeted interventions for our children and young people.

There is no single solution to improving attainment among children and young people living in more deprived households.  As the diagram suggests there are many interventions we can focus on.  The diagram also makes it clear that to make improvements we must look at learning and teaching, leadership in the school, and our families and communities.  Schools can make a difference to the life chances of young people, but they can’t make all the difference.  Parents, grandparents and adults who love and care for our children and young people are the biggest factor in overcoming barriers and helping every child to success.  Taking an active interest in your child’s learning is hugely important – from reading and counting with them in the early years, to listening to them explaining the causes of World War I in high school: ever stage is important.  We know we have families who care about education – over 80% of parents of children in S1 and S2 came to our parents’ evenings recently, and in primary almost all parents come to both parent evenings.  As a school we want to work with you to help you to support your child to success.  This can be about us helping you to understand what we are teaching and how your child is learning, but it may also be about helping you overcome your own barriers to learning.  For ideas on how to help your child, click here.

Over the next few months we will be engaging with our pupils, our staff and with our parents to find out how we should wisely use these additional resources to close the poverty related attainment gap.  If you have any particular views you would like to share with us, please email st-johnsacademy@pkc.gov.uk with the subject line, ‘Pupil Equity Fund’.

With every good wish,

Seán P Hagney

Headteacher and Campus Leader