Happy New Year

Happy New Year

2017 was been one of the busiest and most demanding years I have known in Education. Over the past 36 years in Argyll and Bute I have seen many changes but the changes this year have been significant.  As we move into 2018 there are further changes ahead. The consultation currently taking place in regard to the provisions of the Education (Scotland) Bill seeks to look at the structure and governance of schools. There is much to consider within this consultation and I would urge everyone contribute to this consultation.


Our Children Their Future has now been in place for a year in our authority.  I am keen to celebrate the work undertaken this session and am looking for examples of how the vision and strategy are being realised in our schools and impacting on our children’s futures.

I am delighted that the follow through inspection report which was published on the 7th of December has recognised the improvements within our service and the potential for greater achievement. A huge thanks to all involved.

Regional Improvement Collaboratives

Regional Collaboration has been a big focus for Scottish Education during the Autumn and Argyll and Bute Council is now part of the Northern Collaborative. The Local Authorities involved in the Northern Alliance are:

Aberdeen City Council

Aberdeenshire Council

Argyll and Bute Council

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar

Highland Council

Moray Council

Orkney Islands Council

Shetland Islands Council

In September 2017, COSLA Leaders agreed to an approach of Regional Collaboration which left democratic accountability clearly with Scottish Local Authorities and their officers.  Currently, in their role as Education Authorities, Scottish Councils hold the statutory responsibility for the provision and delivery of Education, for performance and improvement of individual schools as well as the cumulative authority, as the employer of all staff within a school setting, and more.

During the autumn term in October, November and December we have been involved in various working groups with the Northern Alliance.  We look forward to taking this work forward in 2018.

A main message coming from Scottish Government is of the importance of collaboration and working in improvement collaboratives both at National and Local level. This will be a key focus for us in 2018 in Argyll and Bute.

Conference Season

During November it was the conference season. The Argyll and Bute Early Year’s conference focused on ensuring our children have the best start in life. The day was very informative and thought provoking in looking at the health and wellbeing of our young people.

The Children and Young People’s Improvement Collaboration conference took place in Glasgow and once again the emotional wellbeing of our children and young people were the focus. It was interesting to have 4 Scottish Ministers on the stage together acknowledging that it is everyone responsibility to ensure our children are all in the best place to learn.

The ADES conference had a focus on changing how we deliver education services and how we take forward a joint approach with partners.

The final conference of the year was the Argyll and Bute two day Head Teacher Conference where the focus of the day was on health and wellbeing and the core importance of this in closing the gap.

There is a strong message for us all for 2018 that the health and wellbeing of all our young people will be at the heart of all our improvements.