Promoting Literacy: Supporting vulnerable children and young people in school

October 2008

This seminar highlighted both the challenge of poverty in Scotland and also the importance of promoting literacy as a means to overcome disadvantage. Presentations and key documents can be downloaded below.

John Dickie of the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland, opened the seminar and set the scene with an overview of Scotland’s alarming situation in respect of child poverty. Drawing on recent research completed by Child Poverty Action Group, John addressed the relationship between child poverty and educational inequalities. John’s PowerPoint presentation HERE

Professor Tommy MacKay, Educational Psychologist explored the importance of literacy, drawing on his visionary work to eradicate illiteracy in West Dunbartonshire Tommy emphasised the key components of success including early intervention and shared family and community commitment. Tommy’s PowerPoint presentation HERE

The developing Curriculum for Excellence framework identifies Literacy as a key component of the new curriculum. Delegates heard from Fiona Norris, Learning and Teaching Scotland’s Literacy Team, who explored where and how Literacy fits within a Curriculum for Excellence as well as identifying why schools across Scotland aim to enhance reading, writing, talking and listening. Fiona’s PowerPoint presentation HERE

Throughout the day participants were encouraged to share their perspectives and experiences of focusing on reading and writing as a potential route out of poverty. Round table discussions included an exercise drawing on the work of the Open University Children’s Research Centre which used research undertaken by children to explore what children need to enhance reading and writing proficiency. See below for more.

Useful articles were shared in delegate packs. These included:

  • Children Researching Links Between Poverty and Literacy: This OU study explores what can be learnt about education and poverty from children’s own perspective when they are empowered as active researchers. It focuses on reading and writing proficiency as a potential route out of poverty and studies two schools in contrasting socio-economic areas. Get this study HERE
  • Experiences of Poverty and educational Disadvantage: Children growing up in poverty and disadvantage are less likely to do well at school. This feeds into disadvantage in later life and in turn affects their children. To break this cycle, we need to address the attitudes and experiences that lie behind social differences in education. Get this paper HERE
  • Estimating the costs of Child Poverty: The moral case for eradicating child poverty rests on the immense human cost of allowing children to grow up suffering physical and psychological deprivations and unable to participate fully in society. But child poverty is also costly to everyone in Britain, not just those who experience it directly. What are the costs to the whole of society of allowing child poverty to continue? Get this paper HERE