Back to school for education secretary

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Education Secretary Mike Russell went back to school on Tuesday for a fact finding mission, and he was impressed with what he learned.

The library at Strathmore Primary School in Forfar was the apt setting for a one to one with education, social and health professionals from throughout Angus who were able to pass on their knowledge and experiences.

Mike Russell, secretary for education and lifelong learning, during his visit to Strathmore Primary School.

Mike Russell, secretary for education and lifelong learning, during his visit to Strathmore Primary School.

Parent representatives and school pupils also provided valuable feedback.

In an extremely frank and open session, the cabinet secretary for education and lifelong learning was given first hand experience of Angus Council’s implementation of Getting It Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) - and he liked what he heard.

The Angus GIRFEC Delivery Group is multi-agency and has representatives from social work, education, health, police, the Vvluntary sector, Children’s Hearing System and the Scottish Government.

All children’s services and partner agencies agree to pursue a shared approach to:

building solutions around children, young people and their families; enabling children and young people to get the help they need when they need it; supporting positive shifts in the culture, the systems and the practices within and across individual services and agencies and improving the effectiveness of interagency working in delivering improved outcomes for children and young people and families.

After the session Mr Russell told the “Dispatch and Herald”: “The implementation of GIRFEC in Angus is well advanced. They are doing some very exciting things.”

He stressed the importance of finding out various views, including those from pupils, as the Government works towards the

the Children’s Young People Bill in the coming session.

He continued: “We need to know what people think and what their views are

“I am very impressed by what I have seen today. I have learned a lot and it will be applied to what we are trying to do.”

He praised the link up with the East and Old Parish Church and the Heavenly Bites Cafe for primary six and seven pupils.

He continued: “I now know Forfar is the place to be on a Thursday. It sounds a fantastic project. Schools are part of the community. I hope to come back at some stage and try the lunch out.”

Commenting on the visit, Angus Council education convener councillor Sheena Welsh said: “I thought it was an excellent meeting. I thought the minister was very receptive to what he was being told. I also thought the representatives of the education department who spoke made an excellent contribution.

“What was especially telling to me was when one of the children was able to give a personal experience of how we are getting it right.”

Councillor Welsh spoke of the uptake across Angus of the GIRFEC project, stating: “It’s been taken to heart throughout the whole of Angus. Every school - primary, secondary and nursery - have all adopted the ‘Getting It Right’ approach. When you visit you see all the material that makes up the programme.”

The education secretary spent over an hour at Strathmore Primary questioning the professioanls and gtaking on board their views.

To view video footage of his visit and the full interview with the education secretary, log on to www.forfardispatch.co.uk