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Early intervention gets Pounds 3m

The Scottish Office has confirmed the go-ahead for early intervention programmes Labour inherited from the previous government.

Councils have been poised to submit applications worth Pounds 3 million a year for the next three years. Brian Wilson, the Education Minister, also confirmed his predecessor's decision to limit any one authority to a grant of Pounds 300,000.

Bids will have to be submitted by May 30 and decisions announced by June 14 to allow schemes to get under way in the next school year. This is a slight slippage on the previous timetable which indicated that successful bidders would be notified by May 31.

Councils told the previous education minister at a meeting in March: "This might be too late for successful local authorities to develop and implement appropriate programmes."

The cash will be used to improve reading, writing and numeracy in primary 1 and primary 2. Schemes will be targeted at individual schools, groups of schools or pupils within a defined community. The grant could be used for extra staff, training, home-school liaison or additional teaching materials.

Confirming the move, Mr Wilson said: "The Government will pay particular attention to the progress and effectiveness of early intervention so that lessons learned can contribute to identifying good practice and guidance for all schools in Scotland."

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