07 February 2023

Education and Children's Services Committee round-up Thursday, February 2

During its meeting on Thursday, February 2, Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee chair Cllr Gillian Owen welcomed Lisa Lyall, Associate Pastor at Central Church, Fraserburgh, who joined the committee as a religious representative.

In her update to members of the committee, the chair went on to note the publication of the joint inspection of services for children and young people at risk of harm in Aberdeenshire - which rated the partnership as ‘very good’ - thanking staff across education and children’s services and the wider partnership for their hard work and efforts.

Cllr Owen wished pupils who recently sat their prelims well and hoped that it provided good preparation for their actual SQL exams in May and June.

Kintore School’s Early Years Centre has been showcased in a new best practice document ‘My Active World’ by the Care Inspectorate. Cllr Owen said the aim of the resource is to inspire and motivate those who work with children to increase opportunities for them to be physically active across their day.

The chair continued by discussing her recent visit to Tarves Primary School to catch up with the new head teacher, Adrian Anderson as well as a visit to Turriff Academy to view the technical department. 

The chair and vice-chair Cllr Anne Simpson were invited to the Gordon School in Huntly to meet with pupil councils across S1-S6 to discuss issues that were of importance to pupils.

Aberdeenshire Child Protection Committee Annual Report

The Aberdeenshire Child Protection Committee is a multi-agency group with members from the police, health, local authority and third sector organisations. 

The role of each agency is to give individual and collective leadership and direction for the management of child protection services by promoting child protection policy and practice

Chair of the committee Susan Maclaren said: “Our staff across Aberdeenshire work tirelessly in their determination to keep our children safe and I think that this report evidences that hard work.

“Over the year we improved how we collected and interpreted data and self-evaluation and embedded a strong natural curiosity resulting in many informed and challenging discussions.

“We're not complacent and we recognise the need to continue in the to improve and over this year we are concentrating on areas of work including neglect, pre-birth practice, child exploitation, participation and engagement, national guidance implementation and domestic abuse.”

Members of the ECS Committee considered and commented on the report and agreed its continued support for the work of the Child Protection Committee.

South Formartine Primary School Provision

You can find out more about this item here.

2022 Based School Roll Forecasts

Members of the committee were asked to note the school roll forecasts which are taken from the annual pupil census and the latest information from NHS and local house builders on the delivery rates for developments.

The report highlights schools expected to exceed capacity or operating significantly under capacity across each of the six council areas.

The 2022 pupil census shows that there are 20,864 primary pupils and 15,718 secondary pupils in Aberdeenshire - an increase of 45 primary pupils and 64 secondary pupils since September 2021.

Read the full report here.

Education Charging Policy

Members of the committee were asked to consider and agree the review of fees and charges prior to the budget being agreed at Full Council in February.

The report set out the work underway to review all education and children's services pricing arrangements across education and Live Life Aberdeenshire.

An inflationary increase will be applied to all education charges from April 1 based on the Retail Price Index at 5.9%. 

Read the full report here.

Aberdeenshire Youth Music Sessions 2022-23 delivered by the Instrumental Music Service

Aberdeenshire Council’s Instrumental Music Service updated the committee on plans for youth music sessions in the south and central of the shire.

Aberdeenshire Youth Music Sessions (AYMS) replaced Music Centres in providing extra-curricular ensemble music-making opportunities. 

Plans are now in place to deliver sessions in the south (Stonehaven-based) and central (Inverurie-based) areas. 

Due to start in March, instructors will deliver sessions for concert bands and string ensembles for less experienced young musicians in Aberdeenshire schools. 

Some instructors in the north have formed their own collective, the North-East Community Music, providing ensemble opportunities on Saturday mornings. Currently the group has set up a Youth Orchestra. 

In addition, two recent projects, the concert band and junior string orchestra, will be delivered in Mackie Academy over three days in March. Two similar projects will be delivered over two days at Inverurie Academy, also in March, with the projects culminating in a concert for parents.

Live Life Aberdeenshire - Holiday Recovery Programme – Tattie Holidays 2022

Members of the committee heard from Head of Service for Communities, Wellbeing and Partnerships Avril Nicol on the success of the Tattie Holidays programme for children and young people.

She said: “We've used data and feedback to continue improving the offer and strong partnership working enabled a broad range of activities both targeted and universal and across cultural and sporting sectors.

“Inclusive swimming, sports leader training for young people and para-Nordic activities were some of the new interventions put in place. Activities were spread across all 17 networks with circa 30,000 opportunities made available.”

The committee considered and commented on the scheme and noted that work is now underway for activities for the Easter holidays.

Active Schools and Community Sports Hubs – Continuing Partnership

The committee considered and commented on the progress made by the Active Schools and Community Sports Hub team in 2021/22.

They also approved the extension of the Active Schools and Community Sport Hub for a further four years.

You can read more about this item here.

The final two items saw the financial performance of the service to the end of December outlined for members of the committee and modifications to the Gaelic Language Plan 2022-2027 were agreed.