The Convener of one of the most influential councils of the Church of Scotland has pledged his support to a children’s campaign to help youngsters affected by poverty do better at school.
Despite being part of the fifth richest economy in the world, there are extremely high levels of poverty in Scotland, and statistics show children who attend school in deprived areas are four times as likely to leave school without education.
Rev Ian Galloway, Convener of the Kirk’s Church and Society Council has given his backing to a campaign to be launched today by Save the Children with the aim of improving the educational chances for underprivileged youngsters and reducing the educational gap between children living in poverty and more affluent children by calling for a commitment to extra targeted resources through the introduction of a Pupil Premium.
The Kirk echoes the belief of Save the Children that a Pupil Premium could provide a vehicle for targeting extra investment at the poorest pupils in Scotland. It could have a significant impact on supporting the poorest children to succeed at school.
Mr Galloway said: “I say that it is unacceptable that in every stage of schooling Scotland’s poorest children do worse and make less progress than their more affluent classmates. I really do believe that the stark educational achievement gap does reinforce and perpetuate existing patterns of poverty.”
The Church of Scotland has made a deliberate decision to ensure that its resources, material, personal and spiritual, have a bias to the poor, responding to the gospel imperative following the teachings of Jesus to bring the good news to the poor.
Mr Galloway said: “It remains a deep injustice on our nation that so much human potential is lost because of poverty. The Church of Scotland believes that a bias to the poor in how we use our national resources would benefit the whole nation, not just spiritually, making everyone’s quality of life a better experience.
“We at the Church of Scotland believe that every child should have a fair chance to succeed at school. Children from the poorest homes must be given high quality and sustained additional support to ensure they can overcome the obstacles they are facing at school and realise their potential.
“We do not pretend to have all the answers but we raise some questions and declare our willingness to work alongside everyone in government and in community who also wants to ensure that policies are hammered out which might dent and even eliminate the disparity of opportunity and aspiration which there is for children growing up in Scotland.”