Strong leadership, customised support for schools, and staff committed to improvement are all recognised in a progress report on Argyll and Bute Council’s Education Service.
HM Inspectors of Education (HM Inspectors) published their findings today (Tuesday 31 July) of a follow-up inspection of the steps the council is taking to improve its education functions.
HM Inspectors spoke to council staff across different areas of the education service from its leadership to central support teams and head teachers, teaching staff and young people, as well as the Leader of the Council and the Policy Lead for Education.
Their summary findings recognise that:
The council’s vision and strategy, Our Children, Their Future, is now driving clearly the Education Service’s improvement planning. This vision sets out the goal that together education staff will realise ambition, excellence and equality for all.
Under the strong leadership of the Chief Education Officer, staff have sustained and strengthened their efforts to embed improvements at all levels of the education community.
A structured approach to school improvement visits, and a sound evaluative process for identifying risk, mean the council can provide customised support to individual schools and groups of schools.
Staff at all levels have continued to increase their skills and confidence in the use of data analysis to achieve and sustain improved outcomes for children and young people.
The findings also touch on steps taken to support on-going improvement:
A programme of performance data meetings and information sessions will increase scrutiny by elected members of schools and the overall education service.
The two recently appointed Heads of Service have a strong capacity to enhance educational leadership across the authority. These posts bring increased support for schools and education staff.
Councillor Yvonne McNeilly, Policy Lead for Education, said:
“We are totally committed to driving forward the improvements needed. We want the young people of Argyll and Bute to aim high, for themselves and for the area. We are focused on delivering an education service that gives them the support they need to achieve their ambitions.
This is a key priority for the council, and one which I have always been committed to taking forward in my role as policy lead. The drive of our education staff is key to making this happen and we have always had complete confidence in their ability to deliver change.
A huge amount of hard work is being done at all levels across our education community. I am delighted that employees’ success, in progressing improvement, is reflected in these findings – they have certainly risen to the challenge, working hard to ensure the very best for our young people.
Working together, our teachers, support teams and pupils are already achieving often-award winning success. We want to build on this. Crucially the findings show that we are in a good place to ensure on-going improvement, to build on our strengths.
We look forward to working again with Education Scotland for the benefit of our students. Argyll and Bute has young people to be proud of. We are determined to support them, through an effective education service, in developing their aspirations and achieving their ambitions.”
As planned, HM Inspectors will visit the council again in 2018, this time to focus on how well the council is improving the quality of young people’s attainment.
Notes to Editor
This visit of HM Inspectors took place in May 2018, as part of work with the council since an inspection of 2017. Link to the report is here: https://education.gov.scot/assets/contactorganisationinspectionreports/argyllbutecouncilfurtherinspectionfinal.pdf