13 October 2022

Education and Children's Services Committee October round-up

During its meeting on Thursday, October 13, Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee chair Cllr Gillian Owen announced that some committee members had met at Inverurie Community Campus for the first of three planned school catering workshops.

The chair also highlighted a recent visit to schools including Lumphanan, Ballater, Crathie and Braemar to talk to head teachers about the issues they face post Covid.

Closure of Gartly School Statutory Consultation
The committee considered a report into the closure of Gartly School and plans to reassign its catchment area. Pupils have not attended the school, which is currently mothballed, since 2018 following an oil leak. The new catchment area would take in Kennethmont School and Rhynie School. The committee agreed to make the recommendation to Full Council, which will make the final decision.

Statutory consultation on the rezoning of Balmedie School catchment at Blackdog
The committee considered and agreed to authorise a consultation on the proposal to rezone the Balmedie School catchment at Blackdog. Members heard how Blackdog is split between Balmedie School within Aberdeenshire Council-control and other Aberdeen City Council schools. As the area has expanded, families have expressed uncertainty on catchment areas and school transport entitlement. The consultation will seek views on plans to rezone the Balmedie School catchment area to include the whole of Blackdog and align with the Aberdeenshire Council boundary. Committee members agreed to the consultation which starts tomorrow (October 14) and runs until January 6.
There will be a public meeting at 6.30pm on November 10 at Balmedie School. If the changes go ahead, they will come into effect from August 2023, though there would be no requirement for existing primary school pupils to move if their catchment area changes. A final report into the consultation findings will be presented at ECS next summer.

Carbon budget six-monthly update
The committee was asked to note the progress in achieving reduced C02 emissions within the service. There was a wide-ranging discussion around climate change and caron reduction alongside highlighting the implementation of food waste recycling, the reuse of uniform and sports kits, young people working on projects, and reducing the use of single use plastics.

National Improvement Network Plan
Committee members had a comprehensive conversation around Aberdeenshire Council’s national improvement plan which outlines proposals for improving education throughout the next 12 months, focusing on improving attainment, health and wellbeing, and literacy and numeracy. Members will also be attending a workshop on the plan.

Adoption service annual report 2021-22
Members were presented with a report highlighting the developments within the service and the ambition to progress further positive change to benefit children and young people who need adoptive families.

Annual Report of the Throughcare and Aftercare Service 2021-22Councillors on the committee were presented with a report highlighting the work undertaken by the team to support young people in Aberdeenshire who are leaving or who have left care and the outcomes achieved for these young people through the support received.

Live Life Aberdeenshire - ECS Holiday Recovery Programme - Summer of Play
Members of the committee discussed and acknowledged the achievements from the Summer of Play – a holiday programme aimed at improving wellbeing, mental and physical health amongst children and young people. The discussion took place ahead of October’s Tattie Holiday Fun which starts next week. The committee heard that more than 69,000 children took advantage free sporting and cultural activities during the Summer of Play.

Tackling Poverty & Inequalities - Child Poverty Action Report
Committee members acknowledged the progress made with the plan to reduce child poverty and heard about the different programs and interventions in place to support families. The final two items covered by the committee included an update on the Corporate Improvement Plan and the financial performance of the service to the end of August was outlined for the committee who were provided with an opportunity to consider and comment.

The full agenda and documents for the meeting can be found here:

The full recorded webcast will be available here