Education professionals across Argyll and Bute will team up with fellow educators from throughout Scotland next week, to take part in a series of digital professional learning events to increase awareness of child poverty and the impact it has on learning.

The events are being led by the Northern Alliance (Regional lmprovement Collaborative for the area’s eight local authorities) in conjunction with Education Scotland, and are being run to promote Equity Week, which starts on 28 September.

Argyll and Bute will be the first of four local authorities to present an anonymised case study of a family from the area, focusing on the effects COVID-19 has had on them, as well as possible supports.

It is hoped these case studies will highlight the large variety of families that may be experiencing poverty or financial barriers, particularly in relation to education.

Argyll and Bute’s Principal Educational Psychologist, will also lead a workshop on equity and wellbeing alongside the Principal Educational Psychologist from Shetland Council. This will focus on building a trauma informed workforce to change working practices and improve outcomes for children and young people.

John Logie Baird Primary and Campbeltown Grammar School will also be taking part in a live (virtual) session focussed on Children’s Rights with Bruce Adamson, Children and Young People’s Commissioner for Scotland.

The Council’s Policy Lead for Education, Councillor Yvonne McNeilly, said: “Far too many young people across Scotland are growing up in poverty.

“Covid-19 has put additional strains on already vulnerable families, so it is vital we look at ways to address this and help these young people.

“By collaborating with our partners in the Northern Alliance, and driving forward Equity Week, we can share knowledge and ideas; look at how we make the best use of attainment funding; and explore ways to address the poverty-related attainment gap.

“Every single one of our children and young people deserve equal opportunities to thrive and move onto positive destinations in life, regardless of their postcode or how much money their family has.

“As a local authority, we are committed to helping them achieve this and this is one of the outcomes at the heart of the council’s education strategy. Equity Week will provide a great opportunity for everyone involved to gain new insight into this and share positive examples of what works with our colleagues.”

Helen Budge from Shetland Council, lead officer for the Northern Alliance Regional Improvement Collaborative, said: “The necessity for delivering meetings and training online since lockdown has helped us to re-imagine the best ways of working with colleagues across such a large geographical area and the online delivery of continued professional learning opportunities has been hugely successful.