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Last Updated: Monday, 2 July 2007, 12:57 GMT 13:57 UK
Council claims illiteracy 'first'
West Dunbartonshire Council logo
The council said the intiative had managed to combat illiteracy
A Scots council has claimed it is the first local authority in the world to eradicate illiteracy in its schools.

West Dunbartonshire Council's Early Intervention Initiative (EII), has cut illiteracy and won a prestigious award.

The council, one of Scotland's most disadvantaged local authorities, is on target to have all school-leavers up to expected reading levels by November.

In 2001 almost one in three (28%) pupils entering secondary school were functionally illiterate.

The project won the prestigious Municipal Journal Award for best achievement in children's services in the UK.

The national magazine awards recognise the achievements of local authorities throughout the UK.

Literacy skills for children of all ability levels have significantly improved with marked gains across the board for both the highest and lowest attaining groups of children
West Dunbartonshire Council leader Iain Robertson

About 4,000 children are tested every year and evaluation shows that pupils entering P3 have an average reading age almost six months higher than previous expectations.

Council leader Iain Robertson, said: "Every aspect of this unique programme has been based on research.

"There is no doubt that our EII has transformed reading, writing and numeracy in our schools.

"As little as five years ago, one in three children were leaving primary school functionally illiterate.

"Literacy skills for children of all ability levels have significantly improved with marked gains across the board for both the highest and lowest attaining groups of children.

"We believe our EII is the largest and most ambitious of its kind in the world.

"The results are clear to see, with the council having achieved it's ambitious target of ending illiteracy within a decade."


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