07 December 2023

Education and Children's Services Committee December round-up

Chair of the committee Cllr David Keating welcomed members and briefly discussed his meeting with Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills Jenny Gilruth around the problems with secondary school teacher recruitment. 

Joined by council leader Cllr Gillian Owen and Director of Education & Children’s Services Laurence Findlay, Cllr Keating said the meeting was productive and that officers would be working with the Cabinet Secretary, with more discussion and a potential visit to a school, in the new year.

Cllr Keating went on to mention a visit to a digital technology in-service day, organised by the LoveLearning team at Aberdeenshire Council at Inverurie Academy. The Chair said he was “blown away” by the digital techniques being used to educate young people.

You can read all the reports by clicking here.

Financial performance as at 31 October 2023 

Director of Education & Children’s Services Laurence Findlay provided an update on the service’s financial performance to the committee. 

Annual report of the throughcare and aftercare service 2022-23

Committee members heard an outline of the work undertaken by the team to support young people in Aberdeenshire who are leaving or have left care, and the outcomes achieved for these young people through the support received.

There is a statutory obligation for local authorities in Scotland to provide support to young people who were looked after at the point of their 16th birthday, up to the age of 26.

The report revealed that during 2022/23, 176 young people were supported by the team. A number of successes are noted within the report, including 67% of young people accessing education, training and employment, and 88% of young people having their health needs met.

Social Work Manager (Corporate Parenting) Andrew Dick told the committee that strong partnership working with other key services and organisations ensured that Aberdeenshire Council continues to provide support when young people are ready to move on to independence.

Analysis of attainment and achievement of young people from Aberdeenshire secondary schools in accredited awards (2022-23)

Committee members considered and commented on the report which provided an analysis of attainment based on data from the most recent set of Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) results taken by young people during the 2022-23 school session and school leavers who left during session 2021-22.

Aberdeenshire Council’s Head of Education Susan Smith told the committee: “We have to acknowledge that the cohort of young people whose results we’re looking at here have had their secondary experience significantly impacted by the pandemic.

“I also think it's important to highlight the work of our young people in terms of Foundation Apprenticeships and we're seeing and good levels of success there - and Aberdeenshire has a history of positive destinations compared to comparator local authorities.”

Committee acknowledged and congratulated young people, their parents and carers, teachers and support staff and the wider children’s services across Aberdeenshire on the level of success and achievement outlined in the report.

To read all of the details, click here.

Additional Support Needs review – enhanced provision/community resource hub model

The committee agreed to change how children with Additional Support Needs (ASN) will have their needs met in Primary 1 and Primary 2.

The committee was told the change would be more inclusive, allowing the majority of Primary 1 and Primary 2 children to have their needs met within their local school.

P1 and P2 children with the most significant and complex long-term learning needs will continue to be supported through Community Resource Hubs and freestanding Special Schools, both of which will now be called Complex Needs Provisions.

You can read more about this item here.

Education and Children’s Services mid-year performance monitoring report – April to September 2023 (Council Priorities 2022-2027)

The committee considered and commented on progress made during April to September 2023 toward achieving the Council Plan Priorities 2022- 2027 as represented through the directorate Head of Service business plans 2023/24 updates.

The priorities are broken down by education, children's services, resource and performance, and communities wellbeing and partnership, 

You can read all the updates by clicking here.

Corporate Improvement Plan
The committee considered and commented on the Corporate Improvement Plan which you can read here