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."
Members have, at a special council meeting today, agreed a top priority for the Scottish Government New Schools Investment Programme bid. Members agreed that the proposed Tain 3-18 Campus project is nominated as The Highland Council's priority for consideration by the Scottish Government for inclusion in the initial phase of the New Schools Investment Programme with a delivery timescale by the end of 2021.
At this time of year many householders are thinking of their gardens, keeping them tidy or seeing to those jobs that need done before the weather turns. This is also the same time of year for criminals to take advantage of this and prey on the unsuspecting.
The Council has successfully distributed more than 20,000 Chromebook devices to all its schools to support learners to acquire key technology and life skills in facilitating a digitally enabled generation. Based on the ICT in Learning Strategic Action Plan 2015, The Highland Council started the Chromebook Project in November 2017 where every pupil in P6-S6 will be allocated a Chromebook for their use in school and at home for educational purposes and P1-P5 pupils will have access to Chromebooks at school on a 1:5 ratio.
Considerable effort has been focussed on returning young people to Highland. Since the Councils enhanced Placement Programme began in June 2018, 34 young people have returned to Highland or circumvented OOA (Out of Authority) avoiding costs of over £5M as compared with these young people remaining out of area for a year.
In excess of 22,000 customers were assisted by the Council's Welfare Support Team and Citizens Advice during 2018/19 for support with welfare, debt and housing issues. 3,372 customers were helped by the Welfare Support Team and 18,777 clients were assisted by Citizens Advice.
One hundred and seventeen (117) probationer teachers were recently welcomed to Highland at an Induction course held at Millburn Academy in Inverness. The probationer teachers' induction day is the first of a number of professional learning events throughout the year specifically arranged to support probationer teacher induction and their ongoing professional learning.
Measures to be put in place to cut down amount of construction and demolition waste collected at Household Waste Recycling Centres. The Highland Council will be putting measures in place to restrict the amount of construction and demolition waste bought to its network of 21 Household Waste Recycling Centres.
Highland Council today (15 August 2019) launched a consultation on a potential Highland Transient Visitor Levy. The Council has not yet made a decision on whether to implement a Transient Visitor Levy (TVL), also known as a Tourist Tax.
The Highland Council is warning the public of the presence of an algal bloom at Loch Watten, Caithness, following an examination of sample water on Monday (12/08/19). As a precautionary measure, environmental health have posted notices next to the water body, warning that contact with the algal scum or material should be avoided.
An officer in the Highland Council's Trading Standards team has won a UK award for her work on anti-counterfeiting and protecting consumers. Lynn Foster was presented with the Dave Hankinson Memorial Award for Individual Excellence by Phil Lewis, Director General of the Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG).
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