The convener of one of the most influential councils of the Church of Scotland has thrown his support behind a new campaign to help young people from impoverished backgrounds get more out of their education.
With children in deprived areas four times more likely to leave school without an education, the campaign has been launched by Save the Children to call on ministers for education in the United Kingdom to commit to a fairer education for all.
The campaign seeks to reduce the educational gap between children in poverty and those from more affluent families by calling for Pupil Premium, which it believes could help to target investment at the poorest pupils.
Its call is being supported by the Rev. Ian Galloway, Convener of the Kirk's Church and Society Council who believes that the introduction of a "Pupil Premium" – in which schools will be given a cash incentive for every underprivileged child they teach – could have a significant impact on the chances of the poorest children succeeding at school.
Galloway said it was "unacceptable" that the poorest children were found to perform worse and make less progress than their more affluent classmates in every stage of schooling.
"I really do believe that the stark educational achievement gap does reinforce and perpetuate existing patterns of poverty," he said.
"It remains a deep injustice on our nation that so much human potential is lost because of poverty."
He said a bias towards the poor in the distribution of the nation's resources would "benefit the whole nation, not just spiritually" and make "everyone's quality of life a better experience."
"Children from the poorest homes must be given high quality and sustained additional support to ensure they can overcome the obstacles they are facing at school and realize their potential," he said.
"We do not pretend to have all the answers but we raise some questions and declare our willingness to work alongside everyone in government and in community who also wants to ensure that policies are hammered out which might dent and even eliminate the disparity of opportunity and aspiration which there is for children growing up in Scotland."