More than 2,000 delegates heard that the all-embracing nature of the West Dunbartonshire approach is one of its distinctive features. Mr MacKay has advised a third of Scottish authorities on literacy programmes.
A phonics programme in nine primaries boosted recognition of letter sounds by between 16 per cent and 152 per cent in one year. Some 4,000 children were assessed in their pre-school year and the first two years of primary.
Speaking before setting out for France, Mr MacKay said: "There is a common chain in which the main links are poverty, negative values regarding school, underachievement, low self-esteem, alienation, social exclusion, absenteeism and delinquency. This is the chain we intend to break."