Support extended for care experienced children and young people

Argyll and Bute Council has reaffirmed its commitment to improving the educational attainment and life chances of care experienced children and young people.

At a meeting of the Council’s Community Services Committee members were given an update on the progress of work to support vulnerable young people across Argyll and Bute.

In 2018, as part of the National Improvement Framework for Scottish Education and Attainment Scotland Fund (an initiative focused on supporting young people affected by poverty and deprivation across Scotland), specific funding was directed towards supporting care experienced children and young people.

Argyll and Bute Council was awarded £88,000 for session 2018/19 to take forward a range of initiatives. These have included tracking and monitoring of pupils’ attainment, support around exclusions, regular monitoring of attendance and the introduction of Welfare Call.

Other activity has included staff training at Hermitage Academy on understanding trauma, partnership working with Education Scotland/E-Sgoil around alternative curriculum provision for pupils not engaging with education, and participation in the Virtual School and Care Experience network, facilitated by CELCIS (The Centre or Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland).

At the meeting it was confirmed that Argyll and Bute has been awarded a grant of up to  £118,800 for the current academic year 2019/20 to provide ongoing support for these and other initiatives. As of the end of October 2019, there were 140 care experienced children on the rolls of Argyll and Bute schools.

The Council’s Policy Lead for Education, Councillor Yvonne McNeilly, said: “One of the top priorities for Education Services is to ensure that every child in Argyll and Bute has the best start in life and can achieve the best possible educational outcomes.

“As part of the Corporate Parenting Group, we are committed to improving the educational attainment and life chances of care experienced children and young people and to delivering the support our schools and teachers need to make that possible.

“Over the past year, significant improvements have been achieved in relation to scrutiny, audit and outcomes for our care experienced children and young people. The ongoing funding from the Scottish Attainment Challenge – Care Experienced Children and Young People Fund will ensure that we can sustain and further enhance these improvements in the year ahead."