Argyll and Bute Council is one of eight local authorities across the North and West of Scotland which are working together to ensure children and young people are given the best educational opportunities. Known as the Northern Alliance, the partnership is a Regional Improvement Collaborative (RIC) set up to secure excellence and equity in education.
The Council’s Community Services Committee has now endorsed the contribution of Argyll and Bute Education Service to the next phase of the project and outlined the success of work in phase two, which has seen the successful implementation of a number of activities in key areas.
Argyll and Bute has taken a lead role in Early Learning and Childcare activity, with an officer seconded to lead by providing support across the eight Northern Alliance authorities.
The Heads of Education in Argyll and Bute also have lead roles within the Alliance Director’s Forum, providing strategic direction on the implementation of the Regional Improvement Plans.
A number of e-learning initiatives introduced as part of the plan have attracted attention from educationalists in Scotland and overseas including Japan, Australia, America, Wales, Ireland and the Channel Isles. Successful pilot projects which encourage school involvement in pupil-led learning have also had very positive feedback from both primary and secondary schools.
The Council’s Policy Lead for Education, Councillor Yvonne McNeilly, said: “The council’s education services have made a significant contribution to the implementation of the Northern Alliance’s Phase 2 plan across a range of areas including literacy, curriculum, numeracy and modern languages.
“This second phase has delivered some significant successes in areas such as Emerging Literacy and Learning Estates where we’ve seen the benefit of working in collaboration with colleagues in other local authorities with real value being added to our work in creating the best educational opportunities for our young people.
“As we embark on the implementation of the next phase, we look forward to building further on what has already been achieved and ensuring that Argyll and Bute continues to make a strong contribution to the partnership.”
Phase three will focus on four key areas which would make a clear difference to individual teachers and schools – curriculum, raising attainment and closing the gap, sustaining education and leadership.
In preparation for this latest phase, a questionnaire was sent to all teachers across the Northern Alliance to ask in what areas they need most support to add value.
Key priorities for the Alliance are:
- Improving attainment, particularly literacy and numeracy
- Closing the poverty related attainment gap between most and least disadvantaged children
- Enhancing the structure which helps children and young people’s health and wellbeing
- Increasing employability skills and sustained, positive school leaver destinations for all young people