Next steps agreed for Argyll and Bute’s education service

The council has paid tribute to the passion that exists in Argyll and Bute for an education service that delivers the best for all children and young people.

Councillors and officers also stated the importance of working with communities in delivering change where needed, when the Community Services Committee met today.

The Committee considered reports on local challenges for education, national reform and feedback to the recent education change engagement exercise.

Addressing recruitment issues, developing collaborative working across the Education Service as required by national reform, and closing the attainment gap among pupils were among the points for action as reported to Committee.

The Committee listened to public feedback and decided against progressing change proposals consulted on. Members agreed that work should continue across all areas to deliver improvement, to address the implications of national reform, to address the key issues raised in the consultation and other local and national challenges the service is encountering, and will continue to encounter.

Policy Lead for Education, Councillor Yvonne McNeilly said:

“We received a huge amount of feedback to our engagement exercise and we value it all. Thank you to everyone who took time to give us their views.

The level of interest underlines the passion that exists for our education service in Argyll and Bute. We have fantastic education staff, totally committed to doing the best for our pupils; and we have communities who care passionately about their schools. We all want the same – a first class education that sets our children and young people on course for living happy successful and full lives.

We want to work together to achieve this shared goal. So while the need for change remains, we will take lessons from this engagement exercise for progressing the future of our education service.”

As reported to the Committee, national reform of Scottish education is based on collaborative working across all education establishments, and with partners regionally and nationally. The aim is to deliver sustainable schools of sustainable quality which close the attainment gap and make success possible for all children and young people.

Argyll and Bute’s diverse geography adds challenge to delivering this reform, with school rolls ranging from 2 pupils to more than 1,200.

In addition the recruitment and retention of qualified head teachers is recognised as being difficult both within Argyll and Bute and nationally. 

Steps agreed by the Committee include drawing where appropriate on the tried and tested use of shared headships to address recruitment issues, and continuing to work, particularly with head teachers, on preparing the education service for national reform.

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