CHILDREN in East Renfrewshire are to receive attainment challenge funding for the first time, following a change to the way the cash is distributed.

A total of £43million of ‘Challenge Authority’ funding was previously directed at nine council areas with high levels of child poverty, including neighbouring Renfrewshire.

However, it will now be distributed amongst all 32 councils across Scotland, based on child poverty rates in their area.

The fund aims to provide additional support which can close the attainment gap between pupils from the most and least advantaged backgrounds.

The Scottish Greens have welcomed the change, pointing to the number of children living in poverty across every council area, including East Renfrewshire, rather than just the nine that were previously eligible.

West Scotland MSP Ross Greer, whose remit includes East Renfrewshire, said: “There are children living in poverty across every council area in Scotland, including more than 15 per cent of children in East Renfrewshire.

“This new way of distributing Attainment Challenge funding is a welcome recognition of that reality and means children in East Renfrewshire can benefit for the first time.

“The majority of children experiencing poverty don’t actually live in what we would recognise as deprived postcodes, so whilst geographically targeted approaches are sometimes useful, in this case the previous challenge fund was missing a majority of the children it was set up to help.

“That will no longer be the case.

“This comes on top of £20million in additional funding this year to help the most disadvantaged pupils recover from the effects of the Covid pandemic.”