A £25 million plan to raise the attainment of the country’s poorest children has been unveiled by the Scottish Labour leader.
Plans to boost the number of teaching assistants and increase literacy levels, including among children in care, are at the heart of the proposals announced by Jim Murphy.
SCOTSMAN TABLET AND MOBILE APPS
The East Renfrewshire MP said he wants every child to have “an equal shot at getting on in life”, no matter what their circumstances are.
Mr Murphy has already pledged to introduce a 50p top rate of tax for those earning more than £150,000.
Scottish Labour plans to use the additional revenue from that tax to invest in tackling educational disadvantage, if it gets into power at Holyrood in 2016.
The plans include a doubling of the number of teaching assistants in every primary school associated with what Labour called “the 20 secondary schools that the SNP government has failed the most”.
Labour also said it would recruit and train literacy specialists to support pupils in those primary schools, as well as 1st and 2nd year pupils in each of the 20 secondary schools. A special literacy support programme for looked-after children was also proposed by the party.
Mr Murphy unveiled the plans as he visited the 6VT Youth Cafe in Edinburgh.
He said: “I want the best for our kids. That means no matter where you were born, how much money your parents earn, or whether you are looked after, you have an equal shot at getting on in life.
“One of the biggest problems that some of the kids from the poorest backgrounds have is literacy. In too many homes the literacy levels of parents, particularly mums, is a problem. And children in care often have no one to help them with their reading.
“My central mission is to make sure the poorest kids in Scotland get a decent start in life.”