We must help parents to help their children
Scotland is one of few countries in the world that has developed and adopted a national strategy for supporting parents in pursuit of the commendable aim of making our country "the best place in the world to grow up".
A recent report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, however, shows that a worrying gap in educational attainment between poor children and their better-off counterparts begins to emerge very early in life.
We know, from the rich data provided by the Growing Up in Scotland longitudinal study, that children's learning in the earliest years is strongly associated with their later achievements and that very many of our poorest children have already fallen far behind in their learning and development by the age of 2.
What Growing Up in Scotland also highlights is that parental input and the home learning environment are of critical importance to this early learning. As the Joseph Rowntree Foundation report points out, high-quality early childhood education and care is of great value in helping poor children to make up educational ground, as is embedding best practice in schools.
Much better outcomes are achievable, however, if parents are supported and encouraged in providing their children with the best possible early learning experiences. This will substantially reduce the risk of their falling behind in the first place.
Unless we get to grips with this problem, and ensure that our national parenting strategy is fully implemented, we will continue to have parents who struggle to provide their children with the most positive early life, and children whose potential is never fulfilled.
Senior policy and parliamentary officer, Children in Scotland
Short and tweet
Brilliant day at the Armadillo [the Clyde Auditorium] for the Caritas Awards. Did some stand-up, gave out medals, took a selfie with a bishop. Pretty standard, really.
An honour and privilege to take part in Caritas Awards ceremony. Great to see how time and talents of young people have helped others.
Tomorrow. New chapter. New timetable. Uniform ready. Gear in bag. Targets to set and get. 8.30am sharp. pic.twitter.com9muH3zJsXc
How do we use 140 characters and Facebook comment? To support people or to put them down and hurt them? @stninianshigh
Leadership tip: developing and promoting leadership attitudes and qualities in everyone in your team does not mean they have to look like you.
Serious question. Is there any kind of literacy which isn't "media literacy"?
"If you torture data sufficiently, it will confess to almost anything." Fred Menger
"Color is powerful. It is almost physiologically impossible to be in a bad mood when you're wearing bright red pants." Jessi Arrington
Letters for publication in TESS should arrive by 10am Monday. Send your letters, ideally of no more than 250 words in length, including contact address and phone number, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to TES Scotland, Thistle House, 21-23 Thistle Street, Edinburgh EH2 1DF. Letters may be edited