New community schools reach the halfway mark

HALF of Scotland's local authorities now know they will be able to continue the steady march of new community schools.

Cathy Jamieson, Education Minister, confirmed during a visit to Northfield Academy in Aberdeen on Monday that joint professional working would be stepped up in 16 councils, which are first to draw from the Scottish Executive's pot of pound;30.6 million up to 2004.

Others have been told applications will be considered in the next few weeks. Of the four cities, only Aberdeen has so far been included.

Ms Jamieson said new community schools were central to closing the attainment gap. "By encouraging the provision of integrated services, focused on the needs of the individual child, we can make a real difference to the lives of children and their families."

The first new community pilot started in 1999 and the initiative involves more than 400 schools. Funds are allocated on the basis of pupil rolls and progress councils have made in their projects.

Helen Law, education spokeswoman for the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, said councils shared the vision of a "motivated workforce, working with paraprofessionals in well-resourced classrooms in schools that are open from 8am until 8pm, offering a range of educational, cultural and sporting experiences."

Councils to benefit are: Aberdeen, Dumfries and Galloway, East Dunbartonshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, Falkirk, Fife, Highland, Moray, Orkney, Renfrewshire, South Lanarkshire, Stirling, West Dunbartonshire, West Lothian and the Western Isles.

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