Page last updated at 16:12 GMT, Monday, 16 March 2009

Three Rs concern in city schools

School students
Student are expected to reach benchmark standards by the end of S2

Figures revealing poor basic literacy levels at schools in Aberdeen have been condemned as alarming.

At half the city's schools, a majority of children failed to meet benchmark standards in writing by the age of 14.

The figures, released under the Freedom of Information Act, also showed that in a quarter of schools, most pupils failed to make the grade in reading.

Opposition Labour councillor Barney Crockett described the figures as "shocking" and "shameful".

"The question really will centre around staffing. What can we do?' he asked.

"We are facing a crisis in the pupil support assistance in the schools. There's several hundred posts in line to be removed. We've cut back schools to the absolute bone."

Narrow divisions

Aberdeen City Council said the figures compared well with other local authorities.

Kirsty West, SNP lead councillor for education in Aberdeen, said the authority was working to narrow divisions in educational attainment.

"Aberdeen has always had a problem in that some of its children attain really well and there's a big gap between the highest performers and the lowest performers," she said.

"We're working really hard to try to close this gap and to try to make the children who don't attain so well, to help and support them to attain higher."

Under Scottish government guidelines, all children are expected to achieve the benchmark, level E, by the end of S2.

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