A literacy project which helps secondary school children in one of the most deprived communities in Britain is to be axed.

Since 2000, the £80,000-a-year initiative in Glasgow has given intensive support to pupils with a reading age of four or more years under their chronological age.

But now that funding, which pays for two dedicated literacy teachers to help some 30 children a year at Drumchapel High School improve their reading skills, is to be cut off.

Some children come to Drumchapel from primary school with a reading age of below six and the scheme helps them reach a level where where they can at least understand the secondary school curriculum.

The staff also work closely with parents of children involved to help them to read and show them how they can advance their children's reading at home.

However, from April this year, the project will be closed after a decision by the local Community Planning Partnership Board, which allocates its funding from a lump sum provided by the Scottish Government through the Fairer Scotland Fund. The board accept the project has been a success, but argues it should be funded from Glasgow City Council's education budget because it is in one of its schools.

It warned the school last year it would no longer fund the initiative and urged it to seek alternative backing from the council, but the school was told no additional funds were available.

The partnership also insist the project - known as Home Link Tutors - was only supposed to be a pilot and that funding was never intended to go on indefinitely.

However, former headteacher of the school Wilson Blakey, who retired in October last year, said: "It was never my understanding that this was to be a pilot project. This was a fantastic scheme which transformed the life chances of so many pupils by given the reading skills to be able to get qualifications and a job.

"The impact will be that young people in Drumchapel High will encounter greater difficulty with their schooling and is therefore absolutely the sort of project the partnership board should be funding."

Maurice Fieldman, a former member of the committee who also has a granddaughter on the scheme, said it made no sense to stop the funding. "These are the children that actually need help. The scheme gets them reading and gives them real one-to-one time and I have noticed a big difference in my granddaughter since she started.

She is reading books much more now," he said.

"Everything positive that seems to work in Drumchapel seems to get its funding cut."

However, a spokesman for Glasgow Community Planning, which has given a total of £600,000 to the scheme since 1999, said: "When funding for this project started it was always understood it would be a pilot project which, if successful, could possibly be incorporated into the mainstream education curriculum.

"The board indicated to those managing the programme a year ago that the project could not be funded indefinitely and suggested that the education authorities should consider mainstreaming the project funding."