We are launching our new 3As strategy which builds on previous education plans in Leeds and aims to improve outcomes and experiences for all children and young people in the city. Some children and young people face particular challenges in getting the most out of education. Research and national data highlights that children from deprived families and communities, children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, Children In Need and those with Asian, Black and Mixed heritage are all more likely to do less well than their peers. In Leeds whilst we have improved outcomes for our most vulnerable learners our performance is still below that of other areas of the country. In improving educational outcomes for all we want to narrow the gap between vulnerable learners and other children and young people in the city.
These challenges must be overcome if Leeds is to achieve its aim of being the Best City for Children in the UK. It is vital that every children has the opportunity to reach their potential or the city will miss out on the skills and potential of its young people. While the Council has a different role in education than in the past, it retains a duty to champion the needs of all children, to promote equality and cohesion and to build an inclusive and successful economy for all. As such, it is clear that change is needed.
Our 3As strategy sets out our direction and approach to change. The 3As are: ‘Attendance’ because we know being in schools means children are not just more likely to learn but be safe and build friendships; ‘Attainment’ to focus on exam results and academic progress; and ‘Achievement’, here defined in its widest sense to include not just exams but personal and social development and wider growth and success. The 3As Strategy tries to learn from what works is to keep things simple. Strategies for children’s services can often be long and complicated but in Leeds our Children and Young People’s Plan is a plan on a page. What has made a difference is using our plans to build shared understanding, shared priorities and collective action. What has worked particularly well are the ‘three obsessions’ in the plan – a shared focus on the biggest issues that could make the most difference. Therefore, the 3As has adopted this and has three obsessions of its own:
- All children make the best start to school:
- All Children In Need are safe, supported and successful in school:
- All children in Leeds read for learning and fun
This strategy is a great opportunity for Leeds, but making this strategy work will need the efforts of the entire city. We look forward to working with you in the years ahead and together we can make sure all children and young attend, attain and achieve. More details around our Year of Reading which is the first big initiative from the 3As are available by following @LeedsYOR on twitter.