School attendance and exclusion rates among Care Experienced Children and Young People have fallen over the last 12 months, as a result of a number measures put into place by Argyll and Bute Council.
The council was awarded a grant of £122,400 from the Scottish Attainment Challenge Care Experienced Children and Young People Fund 2020/21, to help increase flexible approaches to learning in schools and create a better understanding of the impact of trauma amongst staff.
As a result, training was rolled out to staff on providing nurturing and trauma-responsive family support and a new Principal Teacher (PT) for Care Experienced Children and Young People was recruited. Twelve casual Health and Wellbeing Officers were also employed.
School transport was adjusted to allow extended curriculum provision for pupils on flexible learning plans, and a ‘test of change trial’ was introduced for the development of Inspiring Internships Programme to allow pupils under 16 to access nurturing work experience placements.
All of these measures have contributed to significant improvements in relation to education provision for Care Experienced Children and Young People in the area.
The Council’s Policy Lead for Education, Councillor Yvonne McNeilly, said: “We have a responsibility as corporate parents to ensure that our care experienced children and young people are given every opportunity to succeed and to improve their life chances through educational attainment.
“Over the last year we have worked exceptionally hard to put procedures in place to enable them to experience a positive learning environment; to benefit from strong nurturing relationships; and to receive the encouragement they need to help them achieve positive outcomes in adulthood.
“While the statistics show that the measures we have introduced are working well, the story doesn’t end there. We will continue to do everything we can to ensure that all of our care experienced children and young people have a robust, personalised and achievable individualised learning plan.
“We will continue to work with our partner agencies to support the Corporate Parenting Board and we will fully support the timeous implementation of appropriate interventions, where needed, to ensure the best possible attainment outcomes for each and every one.”