Bridging the attainment gap

04 April 2018

McLaughlin & Harvey employees are committed to tackling the Scottish Attainment Challenge by participating in the Caledonian Club Literacy Mentoring Programme. The programme works with selected Primary 2 pupils and is designed to improve the children’s literacy levels through one-to-one reading and group phonics-based activities.

The Caledonian Club is Glasgow Caledonian University’s widening participation and community engagement initiative. McLaughlin & Harvey’s Communications Coordinator, Catriona Watson, joined the project last year after the Caledonian Club were recruiting for new volunteers. Once a week, for eight weeks, Catriona visited a school in the East End of Glasgow, based just nine miles from McLaughlin & Harvey’s office in Bellshill. Working with six Primary 2 pupils, Catriona encouraged the children through one-to-one paired reading followed by a group phonics-activity.

Shona Ayris, Development Officer at Caledonian Club commented on McLaughlin & Harvey’s involvement in the programme: “The success of our literacy programme is dependent on the hard work and commitment of our literacy mentors, and we are delighted to have established this partnership with McLaughlin & Harvey through our GCU Foundation. The pupils have had a chance to develop a great rapport with Catriona over a sustained period, giving them the opportunity to grow in confidence, develop their literacy skills and foster a love of reading that we hope will last them a lifetime.”

Since starting the programme there has been a noticeable change in the pupil’s confidence, enthusiasm for reading and an improvement in reading vocabulary. Catriona, McLaughlin & Harvey’s Communications Coordinator said: “It’s been a really fulfilling programme to have been involved in. Over the past eight weeks the improvement in some of the pupil’s ability was staggering. I found it so beneficial that I have signed up to another block with the programme, I am now three weeks into this block. It’s encouraging to see the majority of the pupils from Block 1 had improved so much that they no longer need to attend the sessions, meaning a new group have joined this block and further children are benefitting from the support we are providing. The Scottish Attainment Challenge is something McLaughlin & Harvey is dedicated to, and doing what we can to bridge the gap. By tackling the issue at primary school age, we hope this will help to set them up for greater achievements in secondary school.”

The Scottish Attainment Challenge sets out to achieve equality in educational outcomes, focussing on closing the poverty-related attainment gap. By developing programmes, like the Literacy Mentoring Scheme, Scotland’s children will be given the same opportunities to succeed and reach their full potential.

McLaughlin & Harvey is keen to engage with the younger generation and encourage children to consider careers in the industry. Therefore, the company is developing a book to roll out in schools near all their sites but also to donate to the Literacy Programme. The book focusses on construction site safety and aims to get children to think about the industry while improving their literacy skills.