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Highland Life / News / Highland Council News / Joint Highland Council / HMIE report on aspects of The Highland Council's Education, Culture and Sport Service.

Joint Highland Council / HMIE report on aspects of The Highland Council's Education, Culture and Sport Service.

Issued: 29 Jun 2010

A joint report by HM Inspectorate of Education and The Highland Council on the validated self-evaluation of The Highland Council is published today 29 June 2010.

The Highland Council worked in partnership with HMIE to evaluate aspects of the Education, Culture and Sports (ECS) Service in the Highland area. This was undertaken as a result of an expression of interest from the Council in participating in this developing national process of self-evaluation. The report provides an evaluation of the effectiveness of the Education, Culture and Sport Service in improving the impact and outcomes for children, young people and families.

Previous self-evaluation by ECS indicated that a central challenge for Highland lies in improving outcomes for those young people who are vulnerable and who underachieve. In consultation with HMIE, The Highland Council identified four key themes which they wanted to evaluate more closely to determine the impact for children and young people.

The four themed areas were:

*health and wellbeing;

*'Getting It Right for Every Child';

*'More Choices More Chances'; and

*literacy and numeracy.

ECS service managers set up four groups to look at each of the themed areas and one group to focus on how performance is improving and the impact for learners. Each group had broad membership including representatives from partner agencies, Highland Youth and elected members. Members of these groups, including HMIE, undertook fieldwork including interviews and observations. They gathered, analysed and evaluated a wide range of evidence. Their findings are reflected in the published report.

HMIE concurred with the range of strengths identified by ECS staff and their partners and from these, jointly selected a number of key
strengths. These were:

* school attainment at key stages in secondary schools;

* the wide range of partnerships which enhance outcomes for
children, young people and their families;

* the effective steps taken to promote health and wellbeing of
children and young people; and

* the commitment of elected members, the Chief Executive, the
Director of ECS and senior staff across the service to improving
outcomes for learners.

As a result of the work undertaken within the process, The Highland Council and HMIE have agreed broad priorities for action. These are to continue to:

*extend approaches to improvement through self-evaluation across
the ECS Service to ensure consistently high quality learning experiences
across schools and services;

*improve the relevance, range and use of data to ensure all
learners achieve their full potential;

*develop further early intervention strategies to improve
attainment in literacy and numeracy;

*develop a shared understanding across the service and its
partners of the definition of learners' wider achievement and how this
will be reflected in practice; and

*evaluate and improve the operation of Associated School Groups
and Integrated Learning Communities in order to achieve the most
effective mechanism for promoting wider achievement across communities.

Councillor Bill Fernie, Chairman of The Highland Council's Education, Culture and Sport Service said: "I am pleased to see that this voluntary process of self evaluation between the Council and HMIE has provided valuable feedback on the quality of education in the Highlands.

Hugh Fraser, Highland Council's, Director of Education, Culture and Sport added: "I am very pleased at the outcomes of the voluntary self evaluation process."

The report concludes that: "HMIE are confident that The Highland Council has identified appropriate areas for improvement and how these improvements will be achieved. The Highland Council has a sound capacity for improvement."

The report concludes that: "HMIE are confident that The Highland Council has identified appropriate areas for improvement and how these improvements will be achieved. The Highland Council has a sound capacity for improvement."

A copy of the report is on the council's website at www.highland.gov.uk/learninghere

© 2010 Highland Public Services Partnership.
Project part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) within the INTERREG IIIB Northern Periphery Programme