Raising attainment and delivering positive outcomes for Care Experienced Children and Young People (CECYP) across Argyll and Bute will continue to be a key priority for the council in the year ahead.
At a meeting of the Community Services Committee, councillors welcomed positive news on the latest figures on the educational attainment and life chances of care experienced youngsters.
Data on key areas such as positive destinations, attainment and school attendance for the area’s care experienced children and young people shows that support from the Scottish Government’s Scottish Attainment Challenge (CECYP) Fund is reaching those most in need.
The latest report shows that 94% of Argyll and Bute’s CECYP have achieved a positive destination. Sixty per cent continued in school education, 11.5% went on to further education and higher education while 13.5% are in employment (paid and voluntary), with 9% undertaking formal training.
The figures in Argyll and Bute for those achieving a positive follow up destination exceeds the national percentage for both care experienced and non-care experienced learners. On attainment, National 4 results for all learners in Argyll and Bute are above the national average by 12%.
For school attendance, the total average attendance figure across primary and secondary schools for the area’s CECYP was 87.4% with primary school attendance at 91.4% and secondary at 82.8%. The area’s corporate parenting target is to have less than three exclusions of CECYP target, and to date that have been none.
The council’s Care Experienced Education Team has also become the first in Scotland to achieve Education Scotland’s ‘We Promise’ award, which validates a commitment to supporting Care Experienced learners.
During session 2022/23, a key development was the appointment in April of a Virtual Head Teacher for CECYP to lead the council’s dedicated Care Experienced Education team, building further on the support provided for children and young people throughout the area.
The team assists pupils across Argyll and Bute, maintaining links between home and school, supporting attendance, wellbeing and learning support.
Councillor Yvonne McNeilly, the council’s Policy Lead for Education, said: “We are committed to ‘Keeping the Promise, and improving outcomes for children and young people in our Care Experienced Community. A key priority in our Education Strategic Plan is our dedication to improving outcomes for Care Experienced Children and Young People and care leavers.
“There is extensive research to suggest that having an additional layer of support with a specific focus on care experienced children and young people has a very significant, positive impact. The latest figures demonstrate the value of the initiatives we already have in place and, via ongoing funding from the Scottish Government’s Scottish Attainment Challenge Fund, and we will continue to focus on further raising attainment and closing the gap for CECYP in the coming year.”