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Work on Highland Perthshire Learning Partnership progressing well

A report to the Lifelong Learning Committee meeting on Wednesday 22 January 2020 updated Councillors on the significant progress that has been made to develop a Highland Perthshire Learning Partnership (HPLP) as a key element of work considering both the senior phase of secondary education and maximising wider community use of the Council's facilities in this part of Perth and Kinross.

Following agreement at the Committee in September 2019, a steering group has been formed, and the discussions to date with senior school staff at Breadalbane Academy and Pitlochry High School, Council officers, pupil and parent representatives from both schools, and Perth College UHI, have demonstrated a clear willingness to make the HPLP a unique component of the learning offer across both schools.

Elected members will hear that linked action plans have been developed for both the educational and property aspects of developing the HPLP.  For the former, a range of short, medium and long term actions are outlined, with the focus on enhancing the educational offer in the senior phase for all pupils in Highland Perthshire. The next stages will be consultation with key stakeholders on potential options for delivering this approach, with a detailed action plan to be developed thereafter.

For the latter, it is intended that there would be development of:
- A Perth College UHI Learning Hub at Pitlochry High School by August 2020;
- A plan for further improvement of the Pitlochry High School building and its facilities; and
- A plan for increasing community use of the building.

The Committee was asked to agree to the HPLP action plans being further progressed, with an update to be brought back before Councillors in January 2021.

Lifelong Learning Convener, Councillor Caroline Shiers said: "In looking at how we can best deliver secondary education in Highland Perthshire, we have an opportunity to enhance provision in this part of Perth and Kinross and encourage greater community use of the facilities at Pitlochry High School, to the benefit of residents of all ages.

"This report reflects the very positive progress already made on the development of the Highland Perthshire Learning Partnership, and I look forward to the next stages of work on this important project."

Breadalbane Academy and Pitlochry High School Headteachers John Devine and Elaine Liney commented: "Both schools play a key role in Highland Perthshire. We are pleased that the review of secondary education delivery in the area has identified new opportunities for us to develop joint working and further enhance both the learning offer for young people and the potential for the wider community to gain from increased access to facilities."

The Parent Council Chairs at Breadalbane Academy and Pitlochry High School, Eleanor Laurie, Lyndsey Hurley and Andy Charlton said:

"Both school parent councils are pleased with the progress made so far in the development of the Highland Perthshire Learning Partnership. This report is the result of a truly collaborative approach, which brought together the Senior Leadership Teams of Breadalbane Academy and Pitlochry High School, Perth College UHI, Parent Council members from both schools, young people and Council Officers.

The positive approach taken by all those involved has demonstrated a clear desire to broaden the subject choice and accessibility for all pupils in the region. We now look to members of the Lifelong Learning Committee to wholly support the actions set out within the report."