Councillors were today (Tuesday 4 July) updated on the progress of two interconnected projects aimed at developing a support model for families with potentially vulnerable children and for improving educational attainment among young people on the Edge of Care.
The Council’s Education and Children’s Services committee heard about how over £1 million in Scottish Government funding was being used in Aberdeen to develop a Family Support Model to improve family wellbeing, particularly in disadvantaged communities, reduce the number of children and young people living away from home and increase the number of families making use of support networks.
The impact of the Aberdeen model will be assessed independently at the end of a two-year period and will focus on how effective the model has been in helping children and young people on the Edge of Care, with disabilities, in conflict with the law and who have been exposed to the risk of trauma.
Council officers having formed working sub-groups to take forward the various strands of the model which will dovetail with existing provisions within Children’s Services including the Fit Like Family Wellbeing service, staff development programmes, Saltire Awards and the provision of financial advice, family learning and youth work activity.
The other topic of the report, Edge of Care pilots, is also aligned with the Family Support Model with both supporting the Scottish Government’s focus in The Promise on prevention and early intervention and ensuring that young people fulfil their potential.
Two city academies, Northfield and Lochside, have been the locations for the pilots since summer 2022 and specialised staff have been relocated to both sites to support the initiative which supports not only children and young people but also their families, to have their voices heard in shaping educational plans for the individual pupil who may potentially become care experienced.
Feedback from families and pupils involved in the pilot projects has been positive over its initial two terms with attendance improving and a drop in exclusions among participating pupils.
The whole family approach has also seen positive parental engagement and greater awareness and take up of the support mechanisms available to them.
The pilots are still evolving and further consideration will be given over the summer period and the next school term as to how they are developed further.
Committee Convener, Councillor Martin Greig, said: “These are important projects which play a central role in fulfilling pupil potential though greater parental engagement and involving families in the educational development of their children. that refreshes our string commitment to parental Involvement.”
“Our aim now is to build on the initial encouraging results and further enhance the models to strengthen the relationship between home and school environments as a way of overcoming socio-economic obstacles to attainment.”
Vice Convener, Councillor Jessica Mennie, said: “I was great to hear about the positive impacts the Family Support Model and Edge of Care pilots are having on pupils and families alike.
“I am delighted that we have been able today to recognise the successes of the projects so far and I look forward to learning how things have progressed over the coming months.”