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Successful first year for Children's Services Plan

Posted on 17 Jan 2018

An ambitious plan to ensure children across North Ayrshire get the best possible start in life has enjoyed major successes in its first year.

Called “Getting it Right For You”, the far-reaching strategy was implemented in 2016 to improve children’s services and meet local needs and aspirations.

Just over 12 months on from its inception, the Children’s Services Plan has claimed a number of successes, including: 

  • A higher proportion of P1, P4 and P7 pupils are reaching expected literacy and numeracy levels than in the previous years All North Ayrshire children under five have been allocated a named Health Visitor who will be their lead professional should concerns be raised.
  • The Council is one of four local authorities to lead on the national Stop to Listen project about improving how we respond to child sexual abuse.

Councillor John Bell, Cabinet Member for Education and Youth Employment, said: “The Children’s Services Plan is ambitious and unlike anything done before in North Ayrshire. It is based on the life course of a child, covering the early years, primary and secondary school and contains a range of promises to improve children’s outcomes.

“It was created after extensive research and consultation with thousands of young people and their families throughout North Ayrshire and has been written in a format which they can easily understand.

“Over the past year, we have already seen how the plan is making a positive impact on the lives of our children and that’s a trend we hope to see continue over the coming years.

“At the heart of this plan is our determination to make North Ayrshire the best place for children to grow up so it is up to us to ‘get it right for them’.”

The plan was developed following engagement with almost 8,000 young people and 630 families with young children. A further 1,295 young people  were then consulted on the plan’s priorities and 94 per cent agreed with them while 98 per cent agreed with the plan’s vision.

The plan’s key priorities include helping children and young people to keep fit and maintain a healthy weight; preventing smoking, drinking and taking substances at an early age, and supporting children and young people’s social and emotional development

In a report produced for North Ayrshire Council’s Cabinet, some of the successes of the first year of the plan were highlighted.

These include the introduction of Communications Champions in early years centres to help identify speech and language issues at the earliest opportunity; 15 Nurture Groups have been created in primary schools with 218 children receiving additional teaching support each week, and Secondary School Counsellors who work closely with the Educational Psychology team are now in place across the authority.