Scotland’s school pupils let down by lack of proper national eduation strategy
CHILDREN across Scotland are being let down by schools and local authorities which have failed to properly implement a national education strategy designed to help protect those at risk, according to inspectors.
A report by Education Scotland found the rate of progress in implementing the Scottish Government’s Getting it Right for Every Child strategy “varied considerably” in different parts of the country.
First introduced by the then Scottish Executive in 2006, the strategy seeks to draw closer links between schools and agencies working with young people to intervene in situations involving those at risk before they reach “crisis point”.
But inspectors found there was a “lack of clarity and understanding” in schools, with most parents not even aware of the strategy. The report also noted that many parents felt agencies often failed to work well together, leaving them to “fight to get help for their child”.
Inspectors visited 11 education authorities across Scotland between September 2011 and April 2012 to look at the extent to which the education system is using the approach.
In a report published today, it said: “The evidence from our visits to early years centres and schools shows that the Getting it Right for Every Child approach is not yet being used consistently within establishments and across authorities.
“There is not a shared understanding of wellbeing and staff do not always recognise their responsibilities in promoting and supporting the wellbeing of children and young people.”
The report said that while most parents had confidence in school staff, there was a “significant number” who were “frustrated at the number of meetings they had to attend where they had to provide the same information over and over again”.
The report added: “A few (parents) spoke of having to fight to get help for their child.”
Referring to their experience of the way different councils had decided to adopt the strategy, the inspectors said: “While across education authorities there is a strong commitment to the values and principles of the Getting it Right for Every Child approach, there is considerable variance in the extent to which those approaches are being implemented.”
Alan McKenzie, acting general secretary of the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association, said the government’s strategy was vague, and did not provide enough guidance in how to deal with problems such as truancy.
He said: “Schools have been trying to ‘get it right for every child’ since the beginning of public education in Scotland. What we don’t need is a nice little catchphrase. We need strategy and resources.
“Rather than an aspirational wishlist, schools need more information laid down about what to do when specific kids fall into specific categories.”
A government spokesman said: “Education Scotland’s report provides evidence of the progress made in implementing GIRFEC across education in Scotland. It also highlights that more can be done in helping services work together to ensure that happens and we are continuing to provide advice and support to services for ongoing implementation.”
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