High Aspirations: how are services being improved for children and young people who are educated other than at school?

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Councillors met on the 29 November 2016 and will meet again on the 3 January to follow up on the progress made by the Council in relation the recommendations made to improve education other than at school services in Swansea.  The Cabinet Member was asked what the impact of this piece of work has been and she said in her follow up report that the inquiry has:

  • raised the profile of the issue in question
  • improved understanding  and awareness of the issues
  • proved useful research and evidence; and
  • there has been a positive impact from the implementation of the recommendations as a whole.

Improving education other than at schools services is  seen as a priority by Scrutiny Councillors in Swansea. Councillors in October 2015 published their report into education inclusion.  The report has a particular emphasis on the education other than at school services. The topic was originally chosen for review because Councillors wanted to ensure that every child is fulfilling its full potential by ensuring that they can access education even if they are not able to attend mainstream school. Councillors also wished to look at education other than at school services locally after reading a report by the Children’s Commissioner in Wales who concluded that pupil referral units across Wales had inconsistent practice and that they are to often seen as an afterthought both within local and national priorities.

Scrutiny Councillors spoke to a number of interested parties including for example Headteachers from Bishop Gore and Pentrehafod Comprehensive Schools and Clase Primary School, Careers Wales West, Youth Offending Service, Swansea Youth Service, social services.

The inquiry was completed in early October and made the following ten conclusions.  The report also contains 20 recommendations which were submitted to the Councils Cabinet on 19 November.

  1. The local authority, school and education other than at school service must be better at meeting the needs of this group of vulnerable children
  2. Communication between professionals needs to be improved
  3. There needs to be a greater emphasis on reintegration of young people back into school
  4. The Pupil Referral Unit Management Committee must drive improvement in the education other than at school service
  5. Pupil Referral Unit staff need to be part of mainstream training and development
  6. A holistic wrap around approach is needed for this group of children and young people
  7. Improve the quality of services for and outcomes of this group of children
  8. Improve services for young people 16+ transitioning to adulthood
  9. Ensure that the pupil voice is heard for this group of vulnerable children and young people
  10. Improve the fabric and suitability of the buildings used to house those children being education other than at school

Read more at http://www.swanseascrutiny.co.uk/2015/10/14/ten-ways-to-improve-education-other-than-at-school-services/#Rwjv3DYBqkYajVPW.99

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