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Nottingham’s focus on children’s education

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”I passionately believe that a good education is the best route to improving the lives of our citizens. That is why I want every child that lives in the City to be educated in a good or outstanding school. We will use our community leadership role to tackle and break down some of the barriers to learning.

We know that some of our communities and families face real challenges including high levels of deprivation, inter-generational wordlessness and are feeling the impact of welfare reform. In the face of these challenges we will do everything we can to help our children and young people achieve their full potential and learn the skills to progress and become valued members of our community”

Councilor Jon Collins, Leader and Portfolio Holder for Strategic Regeneration and Schools.

The Nottingham City Council has a number of mandatory duties for ensuring that outcomes for all children and students are positive in any type of educational facility they attend, inside or outside city boundaries. Even if schools have their own improvement plan, the City Council still plays a vital role by providing guidance and leadership. Their role is very important in a context where:

  • The proportion of children under the age of 16 years, living in poverty (i.e. living in households where no one is working), stands at over 35% and equates to over 19,500 children.
  • Over 27% of pupils (including those in academies) have English as an additional language.
  • Over 21% of pupils (including those in academies) have a certain level of Special Educational Needs.

The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) is a non-ministerial department of the UK government, which rated primary schools from Nottingham city as being ”good or better in general”. But the city council, alongside all the schools involved are determined to achieve the” outstanding” rating for all their education facilities in the following years.

Education is a top priority in the Nottinghamshire county, developing many plans which aim to improve a child’ overall school and community experience. The 2020 Nottingham Plan aims to increase young people’s life aspirations and job accessibility in the local economy. The Children and Young People’s Plan, agreed by upon by the Children’s Partnership Board, highlights the counties’ top priorities for education development, in which engagement, attendance and attainment are emerging as key improvement areas.

Education, learning and skills are important areas from Nottingham’s City Growth Plan, in which businesses, schools and colleges are cooperating to increase the chances of young people’s professional development, wishing to bring the best of both worlds, skills and attitude, in offering them a proper education.

The ”Statutory guidance for local authorities”, released by the United Kingdom’s Department for Education, recognizes the importance of local authorities in the process of supporting educational excellence in learning facilities. It stated that local authorities should consider some of the following aspects in order to improve local children’s education:

  • Evaluate the performance of schools, by using data to identify young individuals in need of educational assistance
  • Take swift and efficient actions when standard failures appear in schools
  • Build a strong bond with educational leaders in the area
  • Encourage schools to initiate their own improvement strategies
  • Enable schools to buy resources from a wide range of providers, in order to diversify their learning approach

In order to coordinate sustainable and effective partnerships between individual schools, businesses and academies, the city council developed the Nottingham City Education Improvement Board (EIB), which will ensure strong partnership actions on six priority actions:

  1. Leadership and Management;
  2. Governance;
  3. Recruitment;
  4. Attainment and Progress;
  5. Quality of Teaching & Learning;
  6. Behaviors and Attendance, including safety.

Educational partnerships are strong and can really increase education standards by strengthening communication, collaboration and expertise sharing among all the involved parties.

Nottingham City Council developed an action plan for every school year, in which they focus on several priority areas. In every developed priority area, they also agreed on taking some corrective actions if needed, in order to keep the development process flawless.

education-chart1

Following the United Kingdom’s Department for Education guidance, Nottingham City Council developed a standardized framework, in order to efficiently measure if their initiatives, plans and partnerships are going in the right direction and if education levels are improving.

Therefore, the framework analyses the results from the baseline year of 2014, balanced with the Statistical Neighbor Group Average and a local authorities benchmarking threshold. The framework also contains a target area, where each measure has its desired results for the scholar year of 2014/2015.

education-chart2

Local authorities from every part of the world should be actively involved in the educational development processes in their geographical areas. Education should not be underestimated, because it has a significant impact on young people’s start in life, by honing their skills and potential.

Ensuring that children will receive the best learning experience they can get must be a commitment that all local authorities share.  A modern and reliable education system offers children the foundational development on which they can and will build their future.

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