It’s a real pleasure to announce that I have been appointed as Coordinator – Excellence for All. Focussing on attainment and supporting children and young people, I will be working with a range of professionals and organisations to realise the potential of Scotland’s youth. Over the coming months, I will be writing new material and posting it here, archiving presentations and other material within my new blog page.
In the meantime, here is a snapshot which outlines the role:
Excellence for All will support and challenge those children and young people who are deemed to be the most educationally vulnerable and who may be at risk of underachieving. Data analysis and benchmarking standards are achieved at the outset and regularly monitored and tracked throughout the session, in order that an informed evaluation can be presented with clear evidence of impact.
The Strategy, which is still being drawn, will include:
- Developing a sustainable mentoring scheme.
- Building capacity to engage children and young people in their learning and assessment.
- Embedding a culture of all children and young people taking responsibility for their own learning.
- Further developing effective means to monitor and track the progress of those pupils at risk of underachieving/missing out, in order to maximise attainment and promote achievement.
Through policy, I have given a clear commitment to young people about the routes on offer to education, employment and training – and the support that they can expect, when they reach the end of their statutory education. 16+ Learning Choices is Scotland’s post-16 transition planning model which ensures an appropriate offer of post-16 learning for every young person (broadly 15–18 years old) who wants it. The success of the model depends on local partners knowing and understanding individual young people; where they are in their learning and where they want to get to; and putting in place the opportunities and support that they need to make this a reality. This may mean tailored learning opportunities combined with intensive and often ongoing support for those who face particular barriers to engaging. To this end, it is essential that local partners have in place robust systems and processes around data-sharing – between schools, local authorities, colleges, Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and other learning providers and support agencies. Working with SDS, as our national skills body, I have built a national 16+ Learning Choices Data Hub to facilitate data sharing and to provide, to a range of partners, up-to-date information on individual young people and their learning choices. At a local level, this will ensure that services are planned and delivered on the basis of identified local need and that young people can access the right learning and support. The Data Hub will also provide aggregated data to inform national analysis. Although separate and discrete elements, data management within the context of 16+ Learning Choices and More Choices, More Chances (Scotland’s strategy to reduce the number of young people not in education, employment or training) are both integral components of the wider data infrastructure and are complimentary to each other. As such I call the harmonious elements Partnership Information. Indeed, this is a term that has now been adopted by Government and I recently established the Community of Practice for Partnership Information (CoPPI), intended for local authority staff, schools and careers advisors. The Data Hub will enable the progress of young people from about the age of 15 onwards to be tracked, allowing partners to quickly identify and engage with any young person dropping out or failing to complete their post-16 learning choice, with a view to re-engaging them in further learning. Data sharing provides an increased understanding of where people go, when they engage, and provides a more holistic view of the barriers that they face. In the longer term, this allows us to become more intelligent when mapping the outcomes of young people (or particular groups and characteristics of young people) so that intervention and national resources can be targeted where they are most effective; either geographically or by individual/group need. This is really important, post-recession and could impact upon the ability to enhance economic recovery; combining employment and international trade opportunities into anti-poverty and health policies. Not only will this lead to improved life chances for our young people, it also becomes a powerful commodity for policy makers and is a clear opportunity to do things better. My vision is that effective, straightforward data sharing between the key partners will achieve a more complete and reliable data set for all partners, which in turn will deliver the following benefits:
- more effective service synergy, leading to more young people in sustained positive destinations; more effective and easier working for front-line delivery staff;
- more comprehensive and robust management information, that supports well informed strategic decisions and curriculum planning; and
- and more accurate and complete reporting to Scottish Government.
Red tape and bureaucracy is a real danger to effective data sharing. Working closely with the Information Commissioner, a legal framework for two-way data sharing whilst protecting individual confidentiality, is well established.
The Data Hub will allow schools to access college data and vice versa. Being able to view college applications from a school perspective is appealing, as too the college being able to view information on a young person as they make that application. This will improve the process and accuracy around information, advice and guidance, both at the point of leaving school and through any subsequent offers of post-16 learning. Using technology and new online tools like My World of Work (see www.sds.co.uk) motivates young people; these are the mediums that they are familiar with and engaging with these types of platforms is now a requirement, whether producing a CV, discovering learning opportunities or learning about a particular career. Likewise, all these approaches need to be joined up, if they are to be deployed to their full potential.
At the start of the year, I established a National Reference Group to adopt a governance approach to organise and regulate data sharing in action. I chaired this group and used it to steer national developments, in collaboration with local authorities and other policy makers. The technical IT solution for securely storing data, together with secure methods of data exchange in both directions between SDS and partners has been built and is in the pilot phase. The Data Hub will be fully implemented this coming Autumn.
You can read more about the 16+ learning Choices Data Hub and monitor progress through the CoPPI.
I created this diagram back in 2010, which I used during a presentation on 16+ Learning Choices and the Senior Phase of Curriculum for Excellence. The conference was held at Celtic Park Football Club in Glasgow, and more than 350 Head Teachers and senior leaders were in attendance, to hear about embedding practice into wider school improvement plans for the year ahead. The event was also used to launch the 16+ Learning Choices Policy and Practice Framework, which I wrote whilst on secondment to the Scottish Government. Within the policy document, you’ll see on page 9 a similar diagram.
This version illustrates the relationship that different partners and organisations have with each other to support the young person as they make the transition into and through the senior phase curriculum. Note, the pyramid shows the articulation between the Broad General Education and The Senior Phase, and the young person is always at the centre of any activity.
16+ Learning Choices ensures an offer of post-16 learning for every young person who wants it and appropriate support for as long as it’s needed. This might be staying at school, going to FE or HE, taking part in a national training programme, volunteering, getting a job or engaging in community-based learning, including personalised approaches. There are three key elements – ensuring that the right learning provision is in place, that the right financial support is available to young people and that the right personal support and careers information, advice and guidance is there to help young people make decisions. Data; monitoring and tracking is essential to planning and delivering the Senior Phase curriculum.
Some young people are not ready or able to access formal learning as they reach their school leaving date. They may face multiple barriers and need support to build their confidence and social skills, or benefit from opportunities to develop team-working skills and self-esteem. For those young people, an offer of learning which meets their needs must be as mainstream an offer as participation in school or college or the national training programmes. It is also critical that the right support is available to young people as they take part in this type of learning and development – for the most vulnerable young people, intensive advice and guidance will have to be a central element of their activity – particularly when their learning activity must fit in with other issues such as healthcare. This intensive advice and guidance forms the basis of an activity agreement.
If you’ve produced any material on 16+ Learning Choices or post-school transitions for those of you who do not work in Scotland, I’d be interested in hearing from you.
Here is a link to my section on the Scottish Government’s website – you’ll find out more about my work there: Young People 16 – 24 – and another to my Community of Practice for Partnership Information. Here is a direct link to the Policy and Practice Framework for your convenience:
Some of you will be familiar with my work around the National Indicator on the Positive and Sustained Destinations of School Leavers in Scotland. I’ve recently produced some material for the Employability In Scotland website which includes some detail on Young People and Transitions to Employment.
I have established a national Community of Practice for Partnership Information, which you can read about below. Please keep checking this website for updates over the coming weeks.
The Scottish Government continues to accord high priority to the development of data-driven and intelligence-led approaches to supporting all young people into a positive destination. Although separate and discrete elements, data management within the context of 16+ Learning Choices and More Choices, More Chances are both integral components of the wider infrastructure and are complimentary to each other. As such the harmonious elements are now referred to as Partnership Information.
There are three levels of data; that which informs individual support and intervention for young people, information analysis for local planning of provision and service delivery and national, aggregated data which informs statistical analysis.
Skills Development Scotland (SDS) as our national skills body, is building a 16+ Learning Choices Data Hub on behalf of The Scottish Government, which will articulate a range of data on young people, their career aspirations and their current learning pathway. This will be used to support them into an initial, positive, post-16 destination and into subsequent destinations during the Senior Phase of Curriculum for Excellence (broadly 15 -18). The 16+LC Data Hub will allow us to monitor and track the journey that all eligible learners will make.
It is an ambitious project, one of the largest in the world, which will see information sharing between SDS, local authorities, schools, colleges and various other organisations which work with young people.
The CoPPI facilitates opportunities to share approaches, experience, and data analysis, as well as, concrete possibilities for jointly undertaking programs and projects for capacity building and continuous improvement.. This includes practitioners from schools, Skills Development Scotland and local authorities, though anyone is welcome to join. The CoPPI is a platform where data on 16+ Learning Choices and More Choices More Chances can be jointly discussed within the framework of a national approach and builds upon exisitng networks which are already in place.
The aim of the CoPPI is to develop joined up approaches to Partnership Information which supports all young people into a positive destination upon leaving school and to sustain employment and lifelong learning. It includes access to resource materials and presentations from a series of local events which will be held across Scotland in March, April and May 2011.
Read more about Young People and Transitions to Employment or alternatively, wait for the new revised Young People 16-24 section which will shortly appear on the Scottish Government website. I’ll post a link on Twitter once it has officially been published.
‘Those creating a senior phase curriculum should devise a model geared towards supporting a sustained positive destination for every pupil in their care, irrespective of ability or any other socio-economic factor… Some of the best work in education over the past three years has been at the hands of those leading the initiatives in programmes such as More Choices, More Chances and, now, 16+ Learning Choices.’
The quote above is taken from an article recently published in The TESS on 15th October (link below) written by Andrew Sutherland, Head of School in East Ayrshire. Interesting reading and a topic close to my heart (as this is my policy area!).
Full article can be found at… http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6060899