31 May 2023

Education and Children's Services Committee round-up May 2023

During its meeting on Thursday, May 25, Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee chair Cllr Gillian Owen wished pupils, staff, parents and carers a happy summer holiday and good luck to all those sitting their SQA exams. 

You can read all of the reports before committee by clicking here.

Final Consultation Report on the Rezoning of Balmedie School Catchment at Blackdog

A decision to rezone the Balmedie School catchment at Blackdog was agreed.

Blackdog is currently split with houses in the north zoned to Balmedie School, under Aberdeenshire Council control, whilst houses to the south are zoned to Scotstown School, within Aberdeen City Council jurisdiction.

As the area has expanded, families have been uncertain on catchment areas and school transport entitlement. 

Following a public consultation on the changes, the majority of parents agreed with the changes which will come into effect from August 2023.

These changes will result in the whole of Blackdog being zoned to Balmedie School.

There will be no requirement for existing primary school pupils to move and any new pupils entering education living within the Blackdog settlement will be entitled to free school transport to Balmedie School from August 2023. 

The existing transport arrangements for pupils attending Scotstown School will continue.

Education and Children Heads of Service Business Plans

Councillors considered the Heads of Service Business Plans which set out a range of high-level strategic operational activity which will be progressed by the various heads of service within ECS.

Members heard how the plans will guide the work of the directorate during the year ahead and will capture the key activities services will be leading forward along with how it will measure its success.

Find out more about this item here.

Draft Aberdeenshire Autism Strategy for Children, Young People and Adults 2023-2028

A new action plan for autistic children, young people and adults was approved by members of the committee.

The Aberdeenshire Autism Strategy and Action Plan aims to improve lives through support services, community access and wider public knowledge and understanding.

It has been developed by Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services and Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership (AHSCP) in partnership with other professionals and members of the public with lived experiences who were part of the Planning Group.

It was subject to public consultation earlier this year. 

Across Scotland it is estimated that one in 100 people are autistic, whilst in Aberdeenshire one in 10 school pupil receives support as a result of Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

You can read more about this item here.

Annual Scrutiny and Improvement Report – 2022/23

The committee considered the report which highlighted the key scrutiny activity undertaken by ECS over the past year and outlines areas for inclusion in the scrutiny programme for the coming year.

Draft Annual Governance Statement 2022/23

Members considered and noted the draft statement, an accountability statement from the council to stakeholders on how well Aberdeenshire has delivered on governance over the course of the previous year.

Education Premises Booking Arrangements: Terms and Conditions of Hire

Councillors noted and agreed the proposed revised terms and conditions for the booking of premises in educational establishments.

The proposed changes will apply from August onwards.

Education & Children’s Services Year-End Performance Monitoring Report – October 2022 to March 2023


Members of the committee considered the report which looks at performance measures of the previous and newly revised council plan.

Aberdeenshire Out of School Care Provision

The committee approved plans to begin work on developing a framework that could provide a range of support for those looking to start up out of school clubs.

The council intends to work with the private, independent, and voluntary sectors to reshape and refocus the service's role in the expansion of out of school care.

The committee heard that the council’s current provision – eight clubs across the shire - is unsustainable in both operational and financial terms.

Over the next 12 months, Aberdeenshire Council will be engaging with the private, independent and voluntary sectors on the council-run settings with a view to them operating under an alternative delivery model.

An update report will be presented to the committee later this year.

Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children (UASC)

Members of the Education and Children’s Services Committee have heard of the work in the shire with Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children (UASC).

UASC are children and young people seeking asylum in the UK but who have been separated from their parents or carers.

Whilst their claim is being assessed by the Home Office, the children are cared for by local authorities across the UK via the National Transfer Scheme.

Read more about this item here.

Members of the committee then considered and approved the latest update of the Corporate Improvement Plan and the Budget 2023-24