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Council drive to raise attainment and achievement highlighted in Committee reports

Three reports to the next Lifelong Learning Committee on Wednesday 18 March 2020 will set out Perth & Kinross Council's aims to further raise pupil attainment and achievement, improve support for children and young people needing social care services, and ensure a flexible approach to pupil admissions.

Councillors will consider the Raising Attainment Strategy for 2020-23 and its associated delivery plan which looks to help all children and young people achieve well, enjoy learning and develop the skills and attributes that will help them play a full part in society in whichever way they choose.

The report notes that attainment in Perth and Kinross has been increasing in many key areas year on year. However, the Strategy identifies that further work is required to address the reasons why some young people are doing less well than their peers. Areas of focus include:
- improving writing and numeracy for some;
- raising attainment among looked-after children and young people;
- reducing the gender gap on developmental milestones between boys and girls;
- additional support for wellbeing and mental health; and
- improving attendance.

Building on the work achieved between 2016 and 2019, the report sets out how the Council intends to achieve the necessary improvements.   

Alongside this, the Committee will also consider proposals to further develop a local strategy for Self-Directed Support (SDS) as it relates to children and young people.

SDS can be broadly described as the range of support a person is able to purchase or arrange in order to meet personal health and social care outcomes. SDS has been introduced gradually across all Perth & Kinross Council social care services, including those for children and young people, since the national strategy was launched in 2014.

Councillors will be asked to agree that the draft SDS strategy for children, young people and families is now the subject of full public consultation, with a finalised version being brought back before the Committee in November 2020.

The third report under consideration at the meeting will be the outcomes of statutory consultation on proposed revisions to the Council's admissions policy for primary and secondary schools, intended to improve flexibility in how catchment area pupil enrolments and placing requests are handled.

The report notes that the general tenor of responses to the consultation was supportive of the limited changes, and also that Education Scotland's assessment of the educational aspects of changing the policy was favourable. The Committee will be asked to agree that the variation of the policy comes into effect from the start of the 2020-2021 school session.

Lifelong Learning Convener, Councillor Caroline Shiers said: "We want all the children and young people in our schools to achieve to their fullest, both academically and personally, as this has a clear impact on their future lives. Good progress and good practice has already been achieved in Perth and Kinross, but we need to go further. The three reports before the Committee reflect our aim to tackle inequalities in pupil attainment and ensure that children and young people can get the support they need to thrive and achieve to their best."