Launch of New Education Strategy for Reading’s Children

READING BOROUGH COUNCIL & BRIGHTER FUTURES FOR CHILDREN PRESS RELEASE

A NEW outline strategy for the future educational success of all children in Reading will be presented to the Council’s Adult, Children’s and Education committee this week. (Feb 14)

The education strategy for the future growth and quality of provision in the borough, called Now is the Time, focuses on proposals to improve the quality and diversity of education provision for the town’s young people.

The document has been produced by Brighter Futures for Children, the wholly-owned independent children’s company for Reading, in partnership with Reading Borough Council, and will act as an outline plan on which to build upon.

It is a living document which will evolve and grow as further discussions and consultations take place with Head Teachers and other interested parties.

The Strategy involves a significant project to increase the range and appropriateness of provision for the increasing numbers of pupils with identified additional needs in Reading. This includes expanding provision for pupils with autism by increasing the number of places in specialist provisions attached to mainstream schools, and a bid to the Department of Education to open a new special school for autistic children with complex needs.

Pupils with challenging behaviours will be supported through a therapeutic approach to meeting their needs to avoid them being excluded from schools. The therapeutic approach to behaviour management aims to reduce the risk of exclusions by ensuring we have the right support for children in the right place, at the right time. The approach seeks to ensure that all children have a positive experience in school that is well matched to their needs. This follows guidance from the DfE published in November ‘Mental Health and Behaviour in Schools’.

Antony Kildare, Managing Director of Brighter Futures for Children, said: 

“We are strengthening the working partnership between all our services and schools to provide a joined up approach to reducing the risk of exclusion, and to improve the safety and well-being of all our young people.

“We have been delighted by the interest shown by schools in working together with us to make this possible.”

Integral to the strategy for the future is to continue to strengthen school to school support, and joint working between schools and academies. Sharing some of this vast array of experience and expertise is key to building the longer term capacity in our schools to improve achievement and quality.

The new education strategy is being discussed by members of Council’s Adult, Children’s and Education (ACE) committee on 14th February. https://democracy.reading.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=141&MId=1883

Cllr Ashley Pearce, Lead Councillor for Education at Reading Borough Council, said:

“This strategy sets out the challenges we face in Reading and the action required to drive forward education provision for children and young people.

“Plans are already under way to increase SEND provision to meet increasing demand and to create extra primary and secondary school places where they are needed. It is vital that all children are given an equal opportunity to achieve, whatever their background or additional learning needs.

“Schools also need to have support from the local authority and from each other in important areas such as safeguarding, quality provision, financial planning and the recruitment and retention of teaching staff.  This Education Strategy focuses on all of these vital elements and I look forward to it evolving with further input from schools and Head Teachers and for it to come back to a future ACE committee meeting.”

 NOTES TO EDITOR

Brighter Futures for Children (BFfC) is a new independent, not-for-profit company wholly-owned by Reading Borough Council and launched on December 1, 2018. It has responsibility for delivering Children’s Services, Education and Special Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Early Help for Reading. Visit: http://brighterfuturesforchildren.org for more details.

Oscar Mortali

For media enquiries about this release email oscar.mortali@reading.gov.uk or call 0118 937 2301