Glasgow winning in poverty fight

20th October 2006 at 01:00
The Parkhead area of Glasgow is the most education deprived zone in Scotland, according to the latest index of multiple deprivation.

Of the five zones, four are in Glasgow City and the other in North Lanarkshire.

Education deprivation is measured by pupil absences, exam attainment in S4, the number of working-age people with no qualifications, the proportion of 17 to 21-year-olds enrolling in higher education, and the proportion of 16 to 18-year-olds not in full-time education.

Glasgow contains 44 per cent of the 15 per cent most education deprived zones in Scotland, but its position has improved compared with two years ago when it had nearly 49 per cent. It is followed by Dundee City with 31 per cent.

Glasgow, Inverclyde, North Lanarkshire and West Lothian have shown a relative decrease in education deprivation, while South Lanarkshire, Falkirk and Dundee City have shown a relative increase.

Steven Purcell, leader of Glasgow City Council, said the index showed the city was winning its fight against poverty: "It takes great effort to turn the tide in terms of school leaver destinations."

But only 10 per cent of Glasgow's school-leavers were going straight into unemployment compared with 20 per cent a few years ago and 40 per cent 10 years ago.

A number of schools that would normally have been at the bottom of league tables, given the correlation between poverty and attainment, were now at the top in terms of positive destinations for school-leavers, Councillor Purcell said.

He cited St Andrew's Secondary in Carntyne, where 28 per cent of pupils were going into higher education this year: "That is a remarkable figure for one of the most deprived intakes in the city."

The job of tackling Glasgow's deprivation was not half-finished, Councillor Purcell added. He wanted to focus on the connection between health and educational performance, and the importance of getting agencies working much more closely together.

Murdo Fraser, the Scottish Conservatives' deputy leader and enterprise spokesman, said the multiple causes of deprivation, including low educational standards, required an entirely new approach. He called for a close partnership with the voluntary sector, "which has had a raw deal for the last seven years under Labour and the Lib Dems".

Christine Grahame, the Scottish National Party's social justice spokeswoman, said it was "a disgrace" that a quarter of children were still living in poverty in an energy-rich nation like Scotland.

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