18 March 2021

Support ensures attainment and achievement remains high despite Covid-19

Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee learnt about measures put in place to ensure outcomes for young people in terms of attainment and achievement remained as positive as possible despite the challenges posed by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Covid-19 and the resultant restrictions led to pupils learning from home, the cancellation of Advanced Higher, Higher and National 5 exams and has made it difficult to compare attainment and achievement amongst young people this year with previous years due to the unique circumstances.

Councillors heard how a series of measures to raise attainment and reduce the poverty-related attainment gap in Aberdeenshire were put in place when the committee met on Thursday, March 18.

This work includes collaboration with Aberdeen Football Club Community Trust for both PeterDeen and FraserDeen initiatives, which has seen projects developed specifically for the local communities based on need that resulted in pupils’ attendance at school improving as well as having an important impact on learning.

Last year’s school Pupil Equity Funding evaluations showed the majority of schools implemented successful wellbeing activities. Parents and carers who shared their feedback said school interventions had a positive affect on pupils’ wellbeing whilst schools reported increased levels of attainment and attendance amongst pupils, improved behaviour and lower numbers of exclusions as a result of Pupil Equity Fund activities. Examples of interventions include extra-curricular clubs, counselling services, soft start and breakfast clubs.

Improved use of data has allowed schools and the service to provide support to pupils and parents and carers who need it most. 

The report, which contains data for school leavers in 2018-2019, said pupils in the senior phase (S4-S6) leaving school in Aberdeenshire are in line with the Virtual Comparator and higher than the Scottish average, albeit this data predates the Covid-19 pandemic.

Other findings showed that during 2018-2019, the number of Aberdeenshire school leavers securing a positive post-school destination (securing employment or being offered a higher or further education place) was consistently higher than the national figure and was also slightly above the Virtual Comparator figure of 96.4%, which was the highest recorded for the last three years.

Students leaving Aberdeenshire schools tend to have higher levels of literacy and numeracy compared to those across Scotland and Aberdeenshire also tends to exceed its Virtual Comparator at Level 5 for Literacy and Numeracy.

Aberdeenshire Council’s Director for Education and Children’s Services, Laurence Findlay, said: “Many congratulations to our young people as well as parents, carers, teachers, and support workers for persevering in the most incredibly challenging circumstances. It is truly fantastic to see the support given by teachers, schools and partner organisations to children and young people in our communities so that they can do their best in later life despite the current difficulties everyone involved in learning is facing at the moment. I for one hugely appreciate their efforts. I wish all young people the best of luck and congratulate them for their hard work.”

Vincent Docherty, Aberdeenshire Council’s Head of Education, added: “This year has been a real team effort where many of us have had to triumph against huge odds. It is so pleasing to see the work that the council and our schools have put in place to support young people has had such a positive impact.”

The report is available in full by visiting: Aberdeenshire Council's Committees and Meetings webpage.

You can also watch a webcast of Education and Children’s Services Committee by visiting https://aberdeenshire.public-i.tv/core/portal/home