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Children's services performance

Children's Services are provided by the Education and Youth Employment Directorate and the Health and Social Care Partnership.

Education and Youth Employment

North Ayrshire Council is the 5th most deprived local authority area in Scotland. Although there is a link between deprivation and educational performance, the Education and Youth Employment Directorate is determined that deprivation should not be seen as a barrier to our young people achieving a positive post school destination.

The Education and Youth Employment Directorate supports and enables children, and young people, in North Ayrshire to:

  • develop their capacities as successful learners
  • promote equality of educational opportunity and inclusion
  • reduce inequalities and improve outcomes for vulnerable children and young people
  • support our young people to enter positive and sustained post school destinations.

Over 2015/2016, we maintained our drive for continuous improvement across the Directorate. A number of key areas demonstrated strong performance, with 94.8% of school leavers achieving a positive destination 2015/16.

Health and Social Care Partnership

Children, Families and Justice Services are part of North Ayrshire’s Health and Social Care Partnership. The Service has responsibility for providing support to local families and young people who have reached, or at a risk of, crisis. The key areas of support delivered by the service are: Child Care and Protection and Prevention and Early Intervention.

Support is delivered across the services, Fieldwork, Intervention Services, Looked After Children and Universal Early Years. Children, Families and Justice Services provide:

  • focused supports for those suffering disadvantage
  • targeted support and protection for those at greatest risk.

We place children and families at the centre of everything we do.

Our performance

The benchmarking ranks for the 'Children' group of LGBF indicators are mixed, ranging from 31st for the percentage of Pupils Gaining 5+ Awards at Level 6, to 7th for the Average Total Tariff of pupils in SIMD Quintile 4.

In terms of our cost based indicators per Primary School Pupil, Secondary School Pupil and Pre-School Education Registration, our costs are all higher than the Scottish average.

In terms of attainment indicators, for pupils gaining 5 or more awards at level 6, we are placed 31st in the rankings for the percentage of all pupils but are in a better position, 18th, with regards to those pupils from deprived areas.

The percentage of adults satisfied with local schools has increased in 2015/16. We are 9th highest in Scotland for the percentage of pupils entering positive destinations.

North Ayrshire Children, Families and Justice Services have responsibility for 3 LGBF performance indicators:

  • the gross cost of children 'looked after' in residential based services per child per week
  • the gross cost of children 'looked after' in a community setting per child per week
  • balance of care for looked after children, percentage of children being looked after in a community setting

In 2015/16 the North Ayrshire cost for children looked after in residential based services was £3037.48, a reduction on the 2014/15 figure.  This is the third year in a row we have decreased our costs. Despite this achievement, we ranked 19th out of the 32 local authorities, a drop in our ranking on the previous year.

Costs for Looked after children in the community came in at £281.57 in 2015/16, an increase on the 2014/15 figure. We performed better than the Scottish average of £291.57 for this indicator and achieved the rank of 14th across Scotland.

The percentage of children being looked after in the community in 2015/16 was 90.2%. This was a decrease compared to the previous year and was just below the Scottish average figure of 90.4%. North Ayrshire ranked 14th out of all local authorities.

Compare our performance against other councils on the My Local Council website.

Steps to improvement

We have continued to invest in services for vulnerable children and families to ensure that parents/carers are receiving a high level of targeted and appropriate support in our Early Years Centres. All Early Years managers have been encouraged to involve parents more fully in children's learning.

The Education and Youth Employment Directorate has secured funding from the Scottish Governments 'National Attainment Challenge' to help deliver change that will address the issues around socio-economic disadvantage and low educational attainment. The 4 year 'Attainment Scotland Fund' is focused on improving literacy, numeracy, health and wellbeing in primary schools in less affluent areas.

The Directorate will focus on 4 key workstreams as part of the 'Challenge':

  1. Development of a professional learning academy
  2. Establishing North Ayrshire Council as a nurturing authority
  3. Supporting the attainment and achievement of young people with complex mental health issues
  4. Supporting communities to take ownership of the attainment and achievement of their young people

We are participating in the Raising Attainment for All (RAFA) collaborative pilot, launched by the Scottish Government. The pilot will support consistent improvement in attainment and achievement through the development of a collaborative learning system. Schools work in partnership with teachers, pupils, parents, communities, employers, college and other partners to share ideas and best practice.

A common approach to target setting and tracking using the SEEMIS CfE 'Tracking and Monitoring' package has been agreed and is being introduced across all secondary schools. SEEMIS has delivered training to school senior managers on the tracking module to ensure more robust target setting, tracking and monitoring takes place in session 2014/15.

We have implemented our Quality Improvement Framework. This sets out our approach to self assessment and evaluation in order to support establishments on their journey to excellence. 

Our schools and our Extended Outreach Service are continuing to focus on supporting leavers as a key priority. Curricular developments, designed to improve employability skills in pupils and work with external partners to promote a range of options are being enhanced.

We have developed Career Long Professional Development opportunities to support professional growth, which combines a balance of academic and research based learning alongside practical experience. Examples of this include access to Masters level qualification, Scottish Qualification for Headship as well as newly qualified practitioners leading Teachers Learning Communities.

The Health and Social Care Partnership place a high priority on Prevention and Early Intervention. By identifying and supporting potentially vulnerable young people and families at risk of crisis at the earliest opportunity, we aim to prevent the long term involvement and reliance on statutory support services. Examples of this work in practice include:

  • Children and Families Early Years Workers
  • Stop Now And Plan (SNAP) Team 
  • Multi Agency Domestic Abuse Response Team (MADART)
  • Multi Agency Assessment Screening Hub (MAASH)

These services aim to support families and young people before they require statutory involvement.

The 'Positive Pathways' contact centre has been developed to facilitate contact between 'looked after' and accommodated children and their parents. This allows for greater:

  • observation of contact between parent and child
  • evidence to support the rehabilitation or permanency planning process.

Getting it right for you, the North Ayrshire Children’s Services Plan 2016–20 has been published to support local children and young people.

In response to the plan we are in the process of developing ‘Teams Around Children’ which will see professionals working together to ensure our young people and their families receive the right support at the right time by the right person.

How to get involved

Parents, pupils and other agencies are encouraged to contribute to regular planning and reviews. Over the last 12 months we have consulted with local communities in relation to the provision of free nursery education for 3 and 4 year olds and on two proposals for the modernisation of the school estate in both Ardrossan and Largs.  

The Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) held open consultation on our Strategic Plan. Respondents replied from all areas of our communities. We have developed specific facilities that help service users, carers and stakeholders engage with North Ayrshire HSCP.

Care and Support in North Ayrshire (Carena) was launched as an independent model to help people find the best health and social care services to meet their needs.

Provider Forums build relationships and facilitate development with the independent and third sectors. Communication is delivered in various formats. Evidence suggests this has resulted in improved relationships between the local authority, providers and third sector.

Local people can apply to be Foster Carers to our looked after children. Full support is given to those wishing to foster. More information can be found on the Fostering and Adoption North Ayrshire Facebook page.

We have encouraged community engagement as part of the redesign of our services. Our 6 Locality Planning Forum are now functioning across North Ayrshire.