Monthly Meeting with Michael Wood Executive Director of Children and Familes Service

Yesterday morning I had my regular meeting with Michael Wood, Executive Director of Children and Families' Service, along with my colleague, Councillor Georgia Cruickshank. 

This is an opportunity to have a briefing on the Agenda Items for the Children and Families' Service Committee meeting next Monday 28 November 2016.

In our meeting in Michael's office, we discussed each item but we paid most attention to the items about the Attainment Challenge Update and the Teacher Numbers in Dundee Schools. 

The Attainment Challenge Update is essentially a progress report on Dundee school projects funded by £4 million from the Scottish Attainment Challenge. As this update is reporting on the first full year of this programme, the report maps out more about the additional staff appointed and the arrangements in place for future evaluation of 'closing the attainment gap' rather than detailing rising attainment.

Th item on Teacher Numbers in Dundee Schools reports to the Committee and the general public on the number of teachers in post in our primary and secondary schools in the designated census week in September 2016. These figures are meticulously reported to the Scottish Government. Additionally I think the figures should be reported more widely, thus my insistence at an earlier meeting of the former Education Committee that these details should be reported annually in the Autumn. This year the report records a creeping up of the pupil teacher ratio. While the report refers to some indicators of improvement in the recruitment and selection of teachers, it continues to be a shortage of teachers. While we should be vigilant in tracking the number of teachers in our schools, we should also be concerned about the learning outcomes achieved from this investment.