Council attainment efforts having an impact
Posted on 4 Jul 2018
North Ayrshire Council’s progress in closing the attainment gap has been hailed by education chiefs following an inspection by Education Scotland.
A report, issued on Tuesday, highlights the ‘very good’ progress the local authority is making in improving learning, raising attainment and closing the poverty-related attainment gap.
The team from HMI praised North Ayrshire Council’s clear vision for education which puts priority on raising levels of attainment and improving outcomes for children and young people living in the highest areas of deprivation.
Inspectors highlighted a number of key strengths linking to the progress being made, including:
- strong and sector leading practice
- leadership of Director and his senior team
- staff development via the Professional Learning Academy
- partnership working with other agencies
- effective self-evaluation of education performance
With the second highest proportion of child poverty in Scotland, at 28.3%, North Ayrshire was selected as one of nine local authorities to benefit from the £100million Scottish Attainment Challenge Fund.
Since being confirmed as a ‘Challenge Authority’ in 2015, North Ayrshire Council has introduced a number of initiatives to try and bridge the attainment gap.
Their biggest focus was to ensure children have the right skills for learning, life and work through the development of high-quality leadership and a professional learning programme.
Projects include the introduction of their Professional Learning Academy which aims to inspire greater teaching and learning in literacy and numeracy, creating ‘nurturing classes’ in primary schools to support children with a range of additional support needs to prepare for the demands of school, and enhanced family learning opportunities to support parental engagement in their child’s learning experience.
And while their efforts so far have received great praise – not least their award-winning Professional Learning Academy and Family Learning Team – this report is further evidence of the strides the Council is making to ensure children and young people are given the best possible chance to succeed, regardless of their personal circumstances.
Councillor John Bell, Cabinet Member for Education and Youth Employment, said: “We are an ambitious Council which is keen to invest in the future of our children and young people. We are serious about closing our attainment gap and making sure there is no poverty of aspiration, opportunity or ambition for any young person here in North Ayrshire.
“This report is great recognition of the hard work that has been going on over the past three years, at every level – from our Executive Director and his leadership team, to our schools’ teaching staff and parents who are becoming increasingly involved in their child’s learning.
“That’s why we are delighted with this report, as it shows that what we are doing is working and having an impact. It also shows that if properly funded, North Ayrshire Council could continue to make a lasting impact on the future of our young people.
“We are firmly committed to ensuring we continue to drive improvements, raise attainment and promote equality among all children in North Ayrshire.
“Our children are our future and we are building teams around them to ensure they can achieve the best possible outcome regardless of their domestic circumstances.”