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Education Strategy 2024 to 2027

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Our vision

Quote “There are three essentials to leadership: humility, clarity, and courage” Chan Master Fuchan Yuan.

We will strengthen distributed leadership throughout our education community and within all settings so that children, young people, families and wider members of the setting feel emboldened and empowered to influence positive change.

For example, we want Designated Safeguarding Leads and Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators to contribute to decision making, both within their setting and to inform local and county-wide strategy and planning, in recognition of the skills and knowledge these members of the workforce bring, alongside a deep commitment to children’s welfare and outcomes.

We want to ensure that our children and young people have access to a rich and stimulating curriculum that appreciates the uniqueness of every child/young person. This should provide them with the skills and knowledge they require to reach their chosen destinations and engender a lifelong appetite for learning.

There should be opportunities to embed skills, such as financial literacy and IT literacy, STEM, and a diverse range of culturally and artistically rich experiences to enhance opportunities for social mobility. Such as every school in Dorset being a Rights Respecting School – Rights Respecting Schools Award (unicef.org.uk).

The Chesil Challenge

The Chesil Challenge has been set up as a collaboration between Marc Rowland, Education Challenge Leads, and the Chesil Schools.

The aim is to address educational disadvantage, through planning, implementing, and evaluating an effective disadvantage strategy within the Chesil community.

We will be taking the learning from the Chesil challenge to expand further practice across Dorset.

The challenge sets out to raise attainment for all pupils, whilst narrowing the gap between those who are most under-resourced.

This important work involves, talking about ‘Chesil children’ and seeing outcomes as a shared responsibility, between all phases of education.

The aim is to ensure that Chesil children have the educational outcomes, resources, and opportunities that they need to flourish and thrive, supporting Chesil children to have the belief that they can achieve great things.

Quote ‘A good education, with the qualifications to show for it, can transform lives for the better. Conversely, young people who finish their studies without attaining the expected standards will struggle both in further study and the world of work” Education Endowment Foundation Attainment Gap Report.

Best Start in Life

The first 1001 days from conception to age 2 is widely recognised as a crucial period in the life course of a developing child and these first days play a significant factor in shaping both their childhood and their future life. 4% (15, 183) of the Dorset Council area population are aged 4 years and under. (Census map Nov. 2022) and are the future of Dorset.

The number of children aged two to two-and-a-half years old meeting or exceeding the expected level of development in 2022-23 was lower than in the previous year, new statistics published by the Department for Education (DfE) have revealed:

  • 87.9% of Dorset children tested in their Ages & Stages Questionnaire at 2.5yrs are at, or above, the expected level in all five areas of development (Communication, Social, Fine Motor, Gross Motor, problem solving skills)
  • 65.6% of Dorset children are achieving a good level of development in their Foundation Stage Profile (lower than Southwest, Statistical Neighbours and national average)
  • 68% of children in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) achieve a ‘Good Level of Development’ compared to 67% nationally however, for children who are eligible for Free School Meals, this reduces to 46% in Dorset

(Gov.UK 2022/23) 

Our commitment

Quote “Children’s education should help them fully develop their personalities, talents and abilities. It should teach them to understand their own rights, and to respect other people’s rights, cultures and differences. It should help them to live peacefully and protect the environment” Article 29 – Convention on the Rights of the Child -Child’s version.

As a strong education team of school leaders, subject specialists, teachers, teaching assistants, education challenge leads and specialist teachers we will continue to strengthen our work in supporting every child to reach their potential.

We recognise the important role that parents and carers play in influencing and encouraging children and young people to be aspirational.

We know that some groups of children and young people, such as those eligible for free-school meals, tend to under achieve when compared to their peers and we are committed to an enhanced focus to closing the gap for these pupils.

In 2017 the Social Mobility Commission reported that Weymouth and Portland were the 3rd worst local authority in the country for social mobility, we strongly believe that a strong education is a key factor in improving social mobility.

We will monitor outcomes for children and young people from early years through primary years and into Key Stage 4 (GCSEs) and Post 16 (Key Stage 5) to ensure that all parties are clear on shared priorities for improvement.

Dorset has a long tradition of sharing information on our strengths and weaknesses, and we will continue to encourage and foster an open and honest environment where these are shared to encourage improvement in outcomes for all.

From recent outcomes we have identified underachievement in writing for boys at primary age, and mathematics achievement for girls at the end of year 6 – that continues to GCSE attainment.

We want our young people to have access to good quality careers information advice and guidance, in line with the Gatsby Standards.

We will continue to support careers leaders in schools through our partnership with the Dorset Careers Hub and support from our Enterprise Co-ordinators, ensuring our schools are focused on those that are likely to struggle with the transition to post-16 provision.

Through our locality teams, and a whole family approach we will identify early those young people at risk of not being in education or training – NEET- and intervene to provide them with the skills and resilience to make the successful transition into adulthood.

We will work with post-16 providers and young people to further develop a broad range of post-16 options, which recognise young people’s aspirations and link to the future skills need of the Dorset economy.

This will include provision which supports our young people with EHCP’s into meaningful employment, including Supported Internships, as well as a range of pathways for those young people who are more suited to vocational and practical options.

Our Ofsted outcomes improved in 2022/23. Dorset remains 4% below national for the percentage of good or outstanding schools and we continue to work to achieve better outcomes.

For Quality of Education, we are 1% below national average at 75% and we will work towards exceeding national standards.

We will also focus efforts on leadership, behaviour and attitudes and personal development as we see these as essential elements of great schools.

Ofsted outcomes 2022/23 – Dorset and National figures

Overall effectiveness:

Quality of education:

Behaviour and attitudes:

Personal development:

Effectiveness of leadership and management:

Elective Home Education

We will be supportive of our children and young people who are educated at home.

Working as a partnership we will encourage and maintain strong links between home and the facilities and provision available in the child’s/young person’s local community, so they are safe and have a strong sense of belonging.

Quote “Every child has a right to an education” Article 28 – UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Our impact

Best Start in Life:

  • 100% of early years providers are good or above
  • children in the EYFS will continue to achieve above the national percentage for a Good Level of Development (GLD). We will close the gap of 6% to meet and aim to surpass the national percentage of 52% for a GLD for those children eligible for free school meals

Best Education for All:

  • positive relationships with home educators rooted in a desire to have a genuine mutual understanding based on trust, and respect. Ensuring that elective home education EHE is chosen by families for positive reasons
  • our girls will feel and be more successful with their maths learning. Facilitated by confident and appropriately trained teachers and Tas.
  • boys writing outcomes will meet and aim to exceed the national standard
  • greater opportunities for children and young people to have experiences of a foreign language and culture
  • to close the 5% Dorset/national gap of young people achieving grade 5+ in core subjects at GCSE
  • all our schools in Dorset will be Ofsted rated good or outstanding



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