'I am interested in raising attainment for children in less

November 9, 2007

The dean of education at Strathclyde wants to see agencies collaborating to improve results in schools. Interdisciplinary work to help tackle under-achievement in Scotland's schools is one goal of Strathclyde University's new dean of education.

Jill Bourne takes over as the department begins plans to move to new £50 million buildings in central Glasgow. When complete, it will mark the physical integration of the former Jordanhill College of Education, which merged with the university in 1993.

Professor Bourne, 60, served as a board member of the Teacher Training Agency and chaired the British Association for Applied Linguistics.

The South African-born academic was attracted to Strathclyde by, among other things, the possibilities offered by inter-disciplinary work.

"I have been very interested in raising attainment for children living in less advantaged areas, and it was quite clear to me that one of the ways to make this work was to bring together a range of agencies.

"It couldn't be done through education alone. It's about trying to bring the services together so that teachers understand what social workers are doing and what health professionals are doing, so that all three areas can work together to raise children's attainment in schools and enhance their wellbeing.

"The fact that this faculty existed seemed to be a real chance, both in research and teaching development, to bring that forward."

Professor Bourne, who moved to Britain with her family, was a journalist before she began to teach English as a foreign and second language while she travelled.

One of her aims is addressing problems of poverty on the university's doorstep.

"I am keen that we should focus on that. The then Scottish Executive last year identified as a priority what it called the 20 per cent of children who were underachieving, and I hope we can address that sort of issue.

"I'm also interested in the whole issue of rural lack of attainment ... it's something we would like to research and tackle."

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