Published 14 December 2023

West Dunbartonshire schools are offering a wide range of additional support to ensure the area’s young people reach their full potential.

The supports are in place as part of work to give every pupil opportunities for success. The details of projects were shared at a meeting of West Dunbartonshire Council’s Educational Services committee this week.

In a report members were updated on progress and support for children young people and families.

Plans to increase the Additional Support Needs (ASN) estate is ongoing with an additional three classrooms within Kilpatrick School Campus and work to convert the former Riverside Early Learning and Childcare Centre (ELCC) to create a school for severe and complex learners progressing well.

Work is ongoing to deliver areas of development for the third year of the (ASN) Strategy which meets the needs of children, young people and their families. Parents and carers are being supported in partnership with West Dunbartonshire Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) in Family Hubs which have supported more than 350 local families.  

Family Hubs have helped families with enhanced support in health and wellbeing and a safe space for families to raise concerns, set targets and get advice on any barriers to learning and parenting. The Council is further supporting families on the Neurodevelopmental Pathways with support from a specialist who offers help with ASD, ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorder with sessions very well attended by parents, carers and staff and very positive feedback

Work is ongoing in schools to progress the Child Inclusion Research in Curriculum, Learning and Education (CIRCLE) Framework for developing Inclusive Practices. All schools participated in training led by a dedicated CIRCLE Champion within their school and Champions Forums held to ensure high quality professional development and leadership is taking place in every establishment.

 The Council also has in place a Transition Policy which supports children through the stages of education from early years to secondary school with enhanced support for young people with ASN as they leave school. 

Education officers have been working with representatives from the West Partnership to develop standards of good practice to support pupils with ASN.  The partnership has implemented a BSquared Tracking Toolkit with staff rating the quality of the professional learning activity as good or very good with increased confidence and knowledge while working with children with an ASN. The toolkit will be rolled out across all specialist settings to ensuring a consistent and robust approach to tracking progress, achievement and attainment.

Secondary schools are leading the way in The Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) Programme which supports young people to explore and challenge attitudes, beliefs and gender-based violence, bullying and abuse. Young people will be trained as peer mentors and deliver MVP sessions to their peers.

Councillor Clare Steel, Convener of Educational Services said: “It is really pleasing to hear such a varied and comprehensive package of support to ensure that our pupils not only reach their full potential academically, but also have the confidence and resilience to thrive once they have left school.

“It is also very pleasing to see the supports for our more vulnerable children and their families.  It is important for families to know help and support is available and I am delighted to see more than 350 families have attended our dedicated Family Hubs for support.  These Hubs offer a safe and non-judgmental place where families can receive support and raise any concerns they may have.”

Councillor John Millar, Vice Convener for Educational Services, added: “The extensive work being undertaken by Education to support children and their families is to be commended.  The Council is committed to ensuring all pupils, regardless of their circumstance, are given equal opportunities and supported throughout their education and that support available even when they leave school. It is great to know that our young people are being properly supported and encouraged within our educational establishments.”