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1. Improve educational attainment and raise aspirations through promotion of health and wellbeing in schools and colleges.

Why is this important?

Educational attainment is the most influential factor that increases the risk of a poor child becoming a poor adult. Although South Gloucestershire children do well in their early years, performance drops significantly as they get older.  At GCSE level, educational attainment in South Gloucestershire is poor compared to similar Local Authorities and the England average. The gap in educational attainment between children with special education needs and those receiving free school meals (an indicator of poverty) and other pupils is wider within South Gloucestershire than other areas, and this gap widens as children get older.

Research evidence shows that education and health are closely linked. Therefore promoting the health and wellbeing of students within schools and colleges, and ensuring early intervention and support services are easily accessible has the potential to improve education outcomes as well as health and wellbeing outcomes.

What are the challenges?

  • The proportion of children achieving a Good Level of Development at Early Years Foundation Stage (school readiness) in South Gloucestershire in 2016 was 76% – well above the national average (69%). However, there was a large gap between children entitled to Free School Meals (FSM) (54%) and children who are not (78%).
  • The percentage of pupils reaching the expected Key Stage 1 standards in reading, writing and maths was above both our statistical neighbours and above pupils in England. At Key Stage 2 results outcomes were equal to national and our statistical neighbours. Again there were significant gaps between children entitled to Free School Meals (FSM) and those who were not.
  • Performance deteriorates significantly at Key Stage 4. In 2016, 54% of South Gloucestershire children achieved 5 or more GCSE grades A*-C (including English and Maths) compared to 57% for England average and 56% for statistical neighbours. This places South Gloucestershire in the bottom quartile nationally. Students who are eligible for Free School Meals (FSM) and those accessing special education needs support performed least well. At key stage 4 only 22% of South Gloucestershire pupils on free school meals achieved 5 or more GCSEs grades A*-C (including English and Maths) in 2014 compared to 57% of other pupils, a gap of 35 percentage points.
  • Attainment of both level 2 and 3 qualifications by age 19 for all students and for students with special education needs and those eligible for free school meals is in the bottom quartile nationally.
  • There are more than 6,000 children living in poverty in South Gloucestershire, two thirds of whom live outside the priority neighbourhoods. 

What do we want to achieve?

We want to improve educational attainment for all children and young people in South Gloucestershire and to reduce inequalities in attainment. We want all children and young people to have high aspirations for their education and future careers, and support to achieve them.

There is good evidence that promoting the health and wellbeing and resilience of children and young people, while also ensuring early intervention and support services are easily accessible, has the potential to improve education outcomes as well as health and wellbeing outcomes. Collective action by the Health and Wellbeing Board will therefore focus on this area to support education strategy and school improvement. 

How will the Health and Wellbeing Board take action?

Delivery of this area for collective action will be through:

  • The Health and Wellbeing Board acting as a systems leader and advocating for improved educational attainment and raised aspirations.
  • Holding the Children, Young People and Families Partnership to account to deliver South Gloucestershire’s Children and Young People’s Plan (2016-2020).
  • Collaborative working with the South Gloucestershire Local School Standards Board.

The Health and Wellbeing Board will:

  1. Recognise the impact of poverty on educational attainment and commit to plans and strategies that support families to move out of poverty and sustain wealth
  2. Commit to continued investment in evidence-based programmes and support services that build family skills in relation to improving health and wellbeing, strengthen resilience of children and young people and promote aspiration, school attendance and attainment.
  3. Promote and advocate for a consistent and comprehensive approach to championing health and wellbeing in schools and colleges across South Gloucestershire, informed by local intelligence about the health and wellbeing of our children and young people, and evidence-based recommendations on how best to improve educational attainment and close the attainment gap.

Commit to continued investment in evidence-based programmes that promote the physical and mental health and wellbeing of children and young people, and minimise the use of drugs, alcohol and tobacco.

Action taken on the other areas of focus will also support improved health and wellbeing of children and young people and consequently their educational attainment. This includes taking action to improve mental health and wellbeing and build resilience in children and young people, and encouraging them to be more active and eat well.

How will we measure our success?

  • Children in low income families (under 16s)
  • School readiness
  • Educational outcomes for students at Key Stage 1-5
  • Educational outcomes for students at Key Stage 1-5 eligible for free school meals and gap in attainment
  • Aspiration
  • Number of good and outstanding schools and colleges
  • Attendance in primary and secondary schools and colleges
  • Free school meal uptake