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Urgent action required to address primary school numeracy problems

April 30, 2014 4:16 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Liam McArthur has Liam McArthurLiam McArthurcriticised the education secretary over a dramatic drop in the number of primary school pupils performing well in numeracy.

The Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy published today revealed that numeracy performance by P4 and P7 pupils dropped by 7 and 6 percent respectively between 2011 and 2013. During the same period, the attainment gap between children from the most and least deprived areas also grew wider.

Commenting on the figures, Mr McArthur said:

"Parents will be concerned that in terms of numeracy, the figures are going in the wrong direction on the education secretary's watch. This is a basic skill which our children need to get on in life. It is alarming that in the space of two years, the percentage of P7 pupils performing well or very well at the relevant curriculum level has dropped from 72 percent to 66 percent.

"Meanwhile, the situation for children from more deprived backgrounds is particularly stark, with the attainment gap on numeracy wider growing ever wider.

"Our schools and teachers work tirelessly to educate pupils and give them the tools they need to get on in life. But with bigger class sizes, fewer teachers and pupil-teacher ratios all heading in the wrong direction, it is no surprise that this is having an impact on pupil learning.

"If we are to build a fairer society the education secretary must get a grip of the basics and give our schools the support they need."