Yesterday’s report that the percentage of pupils in Fife attaining expected levels in every key skill (reading, writing, numeracy and listening) was below the national Scottish average at every point assessed between P1 and S3 evoked an extremely poor response from Fife Council.
The convenor of Fife’s Education Committee was silent, leaving the head of education to blame the poor results on a methodological blip since the method of assessment in Fife has changed in recent years. This might explain why in the past Fife produced better statistics, but it does not explain why Fife’s current statistics are now so poor compared to other local authorities when they were all measured in the same way.
Of course the reasons why pupil attainment in Fife is below the Scottish average are multiple and complex, but the other education report in yesterday’s paper gives one clue. Fife has more pupils to teachers than Angus, Dundee and Perth and Kinross, and again does not beat or even match the Scottish average.
Attainment in Fife’s schools will not improve with evasion, denial and complacency on the part of those responsible. They are no substitute for political leadership, both from Fife Council and the Scottish Government.