It can be said that education is the key to progress and success in life and I would agree.

As a newly elected Councillor I am delighted to be the Convenor for Education.

Already, I have sat on interview panels for Head Teacher appointments, attended awards ceremonies and School shows. I have chaired our first Educational Services Committee and attended the LNCT, our forum for teachers, unions and officers to agree policy and other business.

The breadth of work which is relevant to Education is vast and the responsibility for this is one that I take very seriously.

We are fortunate in West Dunbartonshire to have excellent schools, and with the new OLSP campus due to open in October, all our Secondary school pupils will be benefitting from modern state of the art buildings which can only enhance their learning experiences. In terms of achievement our schools do well, and indeed “punch above their weight” in terms of exam success and positive destinations for our pupils.

The further investment by the Scottish Government through the Attainment Fund and in excess of £3.38 million again through the Pupil Equity Fund can only help improve outcomes for all pupils not just those who are fortunate enough to have the benefit of a higher family income. But it’s not all about money.

The range of experiences being delivered by our teachers is inspiring and giving control over Pupil Equity Fund spending to individual schools can only enhance this innovation and help eliminate education inequalities.

Poverty related inequality can be reduced through investment in measures to improve health and education. That’s why I welcome the opportunity presented by the Scottish Government’s call to share good practice between Councils.

The broadening of the scope of health improvement, through the creation of the Health and Social Care Partnership was designed to take a wider reaching, more holistic view of health, to improve the Health and Wellbeing of all residents in our area.

The creation of new Regional collaborative bodies in Education will be designed to work in the same way; to provide better scope for support and sharing good practice.

We have excellent and dedicated teachers and education staff who go above and beyond to help our children and young people achieve and to be happy.

I’m optimistic that with everyone working together we can get it right for every pupil in West Dunbartonshire.