Focus on improving attendance is way forward for Bradford’s schools

Bradford's Children, Young People and Families plan sets out goals for the next three years.
Bradford's Children, Young People and Families plan sets out goals for the next three years.
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Improving school attendance is a key focus of an ambitious new plan that sets out goals for working with children, young people and families in Bradford over the next three years.

The document includes two key imperatives for the district that will help to achieve rapid improvements for youngsters, which will be open to regular scrutiny.

The first is to improve school attendance, which will be monitored by measuring unauthorised absences at primary and secondary schools.

And the second is to reduce the numbers of missing children, which will be assessed by looking at the number of children who are missing from education in Bradford.

Michael Jameson, Bradford Council’s strategic director of children’s services, said: “This plan is about all the agencies in Bradford working together and putting in place the plans we need to help all our young people to realise their full potential and to put the needs of families at the heart of what we do.

“In particular our two imperatives will help us scrutinise how well we are doing to improve school attendance and reduce the numbers of children who are missing education or care.

“We believe that this will make an immediate difference to children’s lives.”

The main education priorities set out in the plan include ensuring that the district’s children start school ready to learn, as well as accelerating attainment and achievement.

A series of targets sets the goal of every child attending a school that is good or better, for children’s attainment and progress at the age of 11 to be as good or better than the national average and for GCSE attainment and progress of 16-year-olds to be as good or better than the national average.

The Children, Young People and Families Plan also sets out proposals to provide 600 new secondary school places and for vulnerable children in education to be supported through the development of an effective education hub.

Coun Imran Khan, Bradford Council’s portfolio holder for education, employment and skills, said: “The future success of Bradford depends on our children and young people and we have high aspirations for them which is why young people were closely involved in developing this plan.

“Now we want everyone involved with children and young people in Bradford to work with us in delivering this plan. If we all work together towards this shared ambition, we believe that we can make the difference that is needed.

“Our plan is full of detailed targets of what we want to achieve and how we want to help make this happen. But we know that all of the important goals set out here from now until 2020 cannot be achieved simply by a local council calling for it to happen. It has to be a partnership with everyone playing their part.

“The ambition of our Children Young People and Families Plan is supported by Bradford’s Education Covenant. This sets out a shared vision for a partnership between schools, the council, parents, young people, business and employers, communities, and the Government working together for the benefit of the young people in Bradford.”