News from Dunfermline Committee

Two news items from todays City of Dunfermline Area Committee on 25 January 2022aerial view of the Public Park

  • Dunfermline's Local Economic Profile
  • Implementing the Pupil Equity Funding in Dunfermline

Dunfermline's Local Economic Profile news

At 78.1% Dunfermline has the highest employment rate in Fife. This is significantly above the figure for Scotland (72.2%). And the Dunfermline parliamentary constituency area currently has the second highest percentage in Fife of 16-19 year olds participating in education, training or employment (92.6%).

This was the news presented to the City of Dunfermline Area Committee members at their meeting today.

They also heard:

  • That the Dunfermline & West Fife UK Parliamentary Constituency has the highest workplace median weekly earnings in Fife at £632.30. This is above the figures for both Fife and Scotland as a whole.
  • Dunfermline Scottish Parliamentary Constituency Area has the joint highest proportion of micro businesses in Fife (90.3%).
  • Female employment (82.2%) is higher than male employment (73.9%).
  • Dunfermline area accounts for 75% of all employment in Financial & Insurance activities in Fife, and 50% of Fife jobs in the Information & Communication sector.
  • In 2020, Dunfermline saw a 65.6% fall in visitor numbers on the previous year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Tourism visitor days to Dunfermline area for January to June 2021 are however up 39.1% on 2020; the best rate of recovery across Fife in the first half of 2021.

This is all part of the Local Economic Profiles for Fife 2020-2021. On the down side:

  • The number of jobs in Dunfermline fell from 29,000 in Sept 2019 to 27,000 in Sept 2020, a decrease of 2,000 jobs (-6.9%) While this is the largest decrease in jobs across Fife, Dunfermline also has the largest number of jobs.
  • The percentage of vacant units in Dunfermline town centre has increased from 19.2% in 2019 to 20.8% in 2021. This is a pattern that is affecting all town centres. There are also figures for vacant floor space. It was emphasised that floor space in large town centres tends to be larger per store hence that figure is also greater. This could lead to a splitting up of large shop spaces to provide more versatile uses.
  • Over the last months hospitality businesses have been particularly hard hit with many last minute cancellations. This has been especially noticed by small independent businesses.

Now that we seem to be moving back to more normal circumstances there is an appetite for people to get out. Events are opening up and footfall numbers are being gathered, especially at these events. This will help gauge the impact they have on the town centre and on local businesses.

To read the full Local Economic Profiles 2020-21 click here

Implementing the Pupil Equity Fund in Dunfermline

Teachers from four schools across Dunfermline updated Councillors at todays City of Dunfermline Area Committee, on how their schools spent their allocation of the Pupil Equity Funding.

During 2020/21, Fife received Pupil Equity Funding (PEF) amounting to £9,880,538.00, the second highest allocation in Scotland (Glasgow City received £22,201,370). It is the role of each Head Teacher and school community to decide how best to use their allocation of the money to ensure equity for their pupils.

While all of the schools took a similar approach, in aiming to improve literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing, the way they tackled the issue varied. Each school worked with their community, pupils and families to determine how they would use the funding.

Here are some examples of how PEF was used in Dunfermline:

  • Funding a Welfare or Support Councillor who could help outwith the school environment. They do home visits to get to know the families. Support families who need help to access the benefits. These councillors also work with teachers to upskill them so that they are better prepared to give support to the pupils when they need it.
  • Developing nurturing techniques gives children access to the support they need within the classroom setting.
  • Use of Play Based Therapy and Kitbags gives children the vocabulary to better express their feelings, and the confidence to trust and engage with the adults trying to help them.
  • Reduce class size. This was done by adding another class. This increased teacher time with pupils.
  • Formation of after schools clubs. After discussion with the community it became clear that not all pupils had access to activities outside of school. These activities encourage engagement and improve confidence.
  • Additional support for pupils for whom English is a second language. During lockdown many of these children may not have had the opportunity to speak English.
  • Creation of nurture clubs for younger children. Inclusion of a breakfast club allows children to come into school early for a soft start to the day.
  • Additional Pupil Support Assistants to help non verbal and less able pupils with the use of ‘sing along’ and Sign Boards’.

The global pandemic and consequent lockdowns highlighted the need for greater digital literacy skills. While most children had access to phones and tablets, many families lacked the skills to access online learning, school work and online teacher contact.

Inactivity throughout the lockdowns became apparent when pupils returned to school. Many were less physically fit. As a consequence, the 2 hours of quality PE became essential. Funding allowed the purchase of additional and adapted play equipment eg adapted bikes as many children had not had the opportunity to learn to ride.

Progress and the difference PEF is making as a whole in relation to raising school attainment in Fife may not always be apparent. However the individual interventions on a pupil or family, where the need is identified, can create an immediate gain in that pupils engagement and attainment within the Curriculum for Excellence levels.

Moving forward PEF has now been agreed for the next four years. Schools can now plan further ahead and offer longer contracts to staff. This will improve both the curriculum teaching but will maintain targeted interventions and pastoral care.