Highland Council shares ambitious Education Transformation strategy
29th May 2019
The Highland Council's new Education Transformation programme is taking shape with various initiatives put in place to deliver better educational outcomes for young people, as detailed in a presentation to the Care, Learning and Housing Committee today (29 May 2019).
The Education Transformation programme has the dual purpose of improving outcomes for all children and young people whilst ensuring that resources are used wisely and efficiently.
As a first step, a change team of 5 head teachers has been seconded to the Education Transformation programme for a year to help embed identified improvements in the education system. Improvements will be driven by leading families of schools towards equity and excellence which will see schools with similarities effectively working together offering a much-needed level of support and challenge that Highland has not had before.
There will also be the roll-out of a new comprehensive training strategy for all school based staff and Highland-wide collaboration in responding to the priorities recently identified by head teachers to improve education outcomes. The Council also regularly engages and reflects on the Local Government Benchmarking Framework (LGBF) in monitoring and identifying improvement priorities.
Says Dr James Vance, Interim Head of Education: "The planned changes in our education system are based on national and international research, and on the advice and guidance of Education Scotland, Association of Directors of Education Scotland, Scottish College of Educational Leadership and the Scottish Government.
"Teachers are our ambassadors for delivering quality teaching, the most important determinant in children's outcomes, and this is why we are focussing on leadership development and on adopting a co-ordinated approach to training; to support the ongoing development of our staff."
Councillor John Finlayson, Chair of Highland Council’s Care, Learning and Housing committee, said: “Given the importance we are attaching to educational improvement from 3-18 in all our settings, establishing collaborative practices between teachers within and across schools will inform ongoing improvement priorities based on a culture of trust and reciprocation. Across Highland we will be able to offer expertise, support and challenge in key functions to schools and across identified families of schools.
“Through developing excellence in our schools and working collaboratively with key partners across sectors our aim is that all pupils, regardless of background or circumstances, will become successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors with the knowledge and skills needed to participate as they choose in the life of their communities and cultures."
Storm Brendan has taken its toll on roads and infrastructure across the Highlands. Localised flooding, wind and ice has caused damage to roads, paths, car parks and walls in numerous areas including Applecross, Lochaber and Caithness and Sutherland.
The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) has launched a campaign to persuade the Finance Secretary Derek Mackay MSP to invest in Scotland's councils before it is too late. COSLA has produced a briefing document Invest in Essential Services which clearly shows the reduction to Local Government funding since 2013/14 and how the flexibility councils have to spend their budget has been eroded by the Scottish Government.
Local authorities are to be given new powers to regulate short-term lets where they decide this is in the interests of local communities. Housing Minister Kevin Stewart announced measures in the Scottish Parliament to provide local authorities with the ability to implement a licensing scheme for short-term lets from spring 2021.
Big-hearted Highland Council staff and members have dug deep into their pockets at an already expensive time of year to help two important charities in the region. Staff at Highland Council headquarters have been fundraising for the Highland Hospice through a charity raffle, coffee morning and staff pantomime.
The Highland Council is reminding householders and businesses to reduce, reuse and recycle as much as possible over the festive period to prevent unnecessary waste. Christmas is often a time of excess waste, particularly when it comes to food.
The Highland Council notifies its service users and customers of its opening hours and service arrangements over the festive period. The Highland Council Service Centre will close at 4pm on 24 December 2019.
Highland Council will be testing the market by contacting prospective contractors (scheduled to be sent out 6th January 2020) to give notice that a procurement for the Corran ferry service may be coming forward. A questionnaire will seek the views of suppliers and potential suppliers of ferry services to the Council.
A FUNDING package worth in excess of £650,000 is in place to help in the regeneration of Wick town centre. Wick and East Caithness councillors Raymond Bremner and Nicola Sinclair revealed the details at meeting of key stakeholders on Monday night.
The largest employer in the Highlands, has achieved Living Wage accreditation. Highland Council which employs just over 10,270 staff across the Highland area also applies the living wage rate to apprentices.
Public Sector Employment Statistics for Scotland, released by Scotland's Chief Statistician, show there were 561,500 people employed in the public sector in Scotland in September 2019. As of September 2019, public sector employment accounted for 21.5% of total employment in Scotland and private sector employment accounted for 78.5%.
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