Shaping the future of education services in Helensburgh and Lomond

24 August 2023

By Aileen Maclennan

Councillors have approved plans to update the future shape of education services for children and young people in Argyll and Bute.

At a meeting of the Community Services Committee, councillors agreed to refresh the existing ‘Our Children, Their Future’ strategy to ensure it continues to meet the needs of the area’s youngsters.

Originally launched in 2016, the Education Vision and Strategy is aimed at putting in place a range of measures to deliver equality of educational opportunity and improve attainment, with the overall ambition of making Argyll and Bute the best place to grow up.

The strategy is reviewed on an ongoing basis but, in light of the challenging times that pupils, teachers and the education sector have faced in recent years, councillors felt it was particularly important to refresh its plans for the future of education and to gather views and opinions from the local community.

There are six key objectives in the current strategy:

  • Raise educational attainment and achievement for all
  • Use performance information to secure improvement for children and young people
  • Ensure children have the best start in life and are ready to succeed
  • Equip young people to sustain positive destinations and achieve success in life
  • Strengthen partnership working and community engagement
  • Strengthen leadership at all levels

The service will launch a consultation in November to give all the relevant stakeholders the opportunity to contribute their views. Once the consultation is completed and stakeholders’ input gathered, the service will provide a further report to the committee.

The council’s Policy Lead for Education, Councillor Yvonne McNeilly, pictured right,  said: “Since the launch of the Education Vision and Strategy, we’ve seen many changes in the education landscape, both locally and nationally, including a global pandemic and a number of consultations and reviews of the sector.

“The overall aim of our strategy is to create the very best environment in our schools for our young people to thrive and realise their personal and career ambitions.

“By putting the right building blocks in place to take children into early learning, through primary, secondary and further education, we will ensure that Argyll and Bute continues to be a great place to live and grow up, and one which offers opportunities for all.

“A key element in updating our strategy will be gathering feedback from across our communities and I would urge as many people as possible to offer their views when the consultation is launched.”

Meanwhile, marking the success of Argyll and Bute’s young people was top of the agenda at today’s Community Services Committee as councillors approved an update to the council’s Education Strategic Plan for 2022-24.

The Strategic Plan highlights a range of information about the work of the education service for parents, pupils, staff and other key stakeholders.

The document sets out the council’s top priorities, which are centred around raising attainment, improving outcomes and ensuring every child and young person has the same opportunity to succeed.

It includes the Progress and Impact Report 2022-2023 that outlines the success of the work done by the education service, highlights the achievements of Argyll and Bute’s young people and recognises the contribution that the area’s teachers and support staff have made.

The impact report examines progress made across key areas such as improvements in children’s health and wellbeing, closing the attainment gap, enhancing skills and positive leaver destinations for young people, and improving attainment, particularly in literacy and numeracy.

The education service has successfully progressed a wide range of initiatives and projects over the past year. These have included a project aimed at using technology to enhance literacy skills for young people with additional support needs, and a partnership with Highland Council to deliver online Gaelic language lessons with professional learning for practitioners.

A peer mentoring programme, Mentors in Violence Prevention, which gives young people the chance to explore the attitudes that underpin gender-based violence was launched and a project for measuring health and well-being in schools was successfully piloted.

Councillor McNeilly said: “Our communities across Argyll and Bute can be extremely proud of the many successes our schools and young people have had in session 2022-2023, a number of which have resulted in awards and accolades locally, nationally and internationally.

“As always, I’m so impressed by the efforts of our schools in preparing our children and young people to progress toward their future careers and supporting the development of knowledge, skills and abilities.

“At a time when Scottish education is going through a period of significant reform, our updated plan for 2022-24 outlines the committed approach our Education Service is taking to delivering improved outcomes for all our children, young people, their families and communities.”

Top of page picture: Pupils in class at Hermitage Academy in Helensburgh, which is part of Argyll and Bute.

Leave a Reply