Argyll and Bute Council is committed to ensuring that vulnerable young people are getting the most out of their education.
This was the clear message at a meeting of the council’s Community Services Committee today, when members were updated on the progress that has been made since a principal teacher was appointed specifically for young people in care, and those in need of extra support or protection.
The post, funded through the Scottish Government’s Attainment Fund, was created to support the educational opportunities and achievements of young people who are under the care of the local authority. The post was filled in January, with a number of areas being targeted, including:
Supporting vulnerable children and young people, for whom the council has a responsibility, to gain accredited qualifications and awards;
Working with partner organisations to support the Corporate Parenting Board plan – a plan established by a group of 24 organisations who work together as ‘corporate parents’ to improve the outcomes of young people in care;
Tracking and monitoring the attainment of young people in care, including those attending specialist placements out with Argyll and Bute;
Ensuring that vulnerable young people have a robust, personalised and achievable learning plan that meets their needs, and;
Working with schools to ensure additional teaching input is provided, when required, to reduce the impact of interrupted learning.
Despite the post only being filled five months ago, significant progress is already being made.
A new approach was developed to allow schools to fully prepare when enrolling a young person who is under the care of the local authority. Feedback from school and agency staff shows that this has significantly improved the transition experience.
Increased support has also been made available for schools around the formal and informal exclusion of these young people. This has had a positive impact, with a huge reduction in exclusions since January. There has also been an increase in the use of flexible learning plans by schools to address the need for alternative curriculum approaches for reluctant and vulnerable learners.
Councillor Yvonne McNeilly, the council’s Policy Lead for Education, said: “Every child deserves to have the very best start in life and Argyll and Bute Council is committed to raising educational attainment and achievement for each and every one of them.
“It is clear from the statistics and the feedback we have received that the appointment of a principle teacher to support young people in care is having a positive impact in helping to improve outcomes for children in Argyll and Bute.
“These are our children and it is their future, and we will continue to work with our partners to deliver outcomes that will help to close the attainment gap between the most and least disadvantaged young people in our communities.”