Improving Literacy in Scotland

This event will look at priorities and good practice in improving literacy levels amongst Scotland’s children and young people as well as the unique challenges of closing the attainment gap.

Literacy and the attainment challenge

Earlier this year, Scottish Government scrapped the long-standing Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy (SSLN) and replaced it with national standardised testing.

These tests are intended to increase the data available to teachers and act as an aid to better target support and raise attainment. However, concerns have been raised about the pressures that testing places on learners and questions remain as to their effectiveness in monitoring progress under Curriculum for Excellence.

Literacy remains at the core of Scotland’s Attainment Challenge. With only 49% of 13-14-year olds performing well in writing according to the last SSLN (2017), it is timely to scrutinise priorities, challenges and good practice in raising attainment within literacy.

Join us as we examine what more we can do to close the socio-economic attainment gap and ensure our young people have the literacy skills they need to reach their full potential.

Key issues we’ll examine with you

  • Standardised testing and the Curriculum for Excellence
  • Declining literacy rates in context
  • The role of teachers in raising literacy levels
  • A holistic approach to boosting literacy levels
  • Good practice and sharing learning around what works


9:15 Registration and Refreshments

9:55 Welcome and Introduction from the Chair

Tom Freeman, Journalist, Holyrood 

10:00 Session 1: The Literacy Challenge

10:00 Literacy in Scotland: Connecting research and practice 

  • Literacy attainment in Scotland and the poverty related attainment gap
  • Developing language and literacy from infancy to adolescence
  • Connecting literacy research and practice in Scotland

Dr Sarah McGeown, Senior Lecturer in Developmental Psychology, Moray House School of Education, University of Edinburgh

10:30 Q&A

10:40 Interactive roundtable discussion

Delegates will lead the discussion to identify key challenges for improving literacy in Scotland. You will have the opportunity to share good practice and obtain solutions to the challenges you face. 

11:10 Refreshments and networking 

11:30 Session 2: The Role of the School

  • The role of teachers in raising literacy levels
  • Modern learning – Incorporating digital reading into the classroom to boost literacy
  • Making reading a pleasure

11:30 Literacy for All

  • Outline of the City of Edinburgh’s Integrated Literacy Strategy and how we work across services to raise attainment and improve literacy for all our learners

 Michelle Moore, Quality Improvement Education Officer, City of Edinburgh Council

12:00 Preventing IIliteracy with Reading Recovery

  • Short intervention with excellent qualitative and quantitative data demonstrating impact
  • Sustained gains in reading and writing, as evidenced by recent research
  • High quality training leading to wider impact on raising attainment across school

Kerry Clegg, Accredited Reading Recovery Teacher Leader, North Tyneside Council
Susan Thompson, Deputy Head Teacher, Hillhead Primary School 

12:30 Q&A

12:40 Lunch and Networking

13:30 Session 3: Beyond the School

  • A holistic approach to boosting literacy levels
  • The role of parents in building a relationship with words
  • Reading beyond books – alternative approaches to literacy
  • Good practice and sharing learning around what works

13:30 Addressing Dyslexia

Three co-presenters will outline a wide range of support, resources, and good practice around supporting learners with dyslexia to improve outcomes and attainment within literacy and beyond school. The presenters will highlight resources for young people, for parents, and for teachers. 

Cathy Magee, Chief Executive, Dyslexia Scotland
Fran Ranaldi, Education Officer – ASN, Inclusion and Equalities, Education Scotland
Margaret Glasgow, former Director, Glasgow Dyslexia Support Service

14:15 Clare Mouat, South Lanarkshire Representative, National Parent Forum of Scotland

14:45 Q&A

14:55 Chair’s Closing Remarks

Tom Freeman, Journalist, Holyrood 

15:00 Close of Event

*Agenda subject to change

Our events are CPD certified. This event is equivalent to 3 CPD points.
A certificate is available on request post-event to all attendees. 



COSLA, Verity House, 19 Haymarket Yards, Edinburgh EH12 5BH | Map


Delegate rates (excluding VAT):
  • Reduced rate: 1 place £145 + VAT (Voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income of less than £1m)
  • Standard rate: 1 place £245 + VAT | 2+ places £195 + VAT per place (Central government departments and agencies, local authorities, universities, colleges, NHS, police, professional associations and voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income over £1m)
  • Private Sector rate: 1 place £295 + VAT | 2+ places £245 + VAT per place (Commercial organisations e.g. plc, Ltd, LLP)

For all event enquiries please email or call 0131 285 1635

26 March 2019
United Kingdom



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