News from North East Fife Area Committee

Archived news: published on Thursday 28 Mar 2019 by Fife Council

NEF Anti-Poverty Funding

 

Members approved spending of £85,000 from North East Fife Anti-Poverty funding 2019/20.  They agreed to targeting spending on discretionary payments for bus travel and emergency fuel and food payments to address the needs that current welfare reforms are creating, namely to tackle the increase in the number of people having a waiting period before they receive their benefits.  In 2018/19, these discretionary payments amounted to £7000 and benefited around 250 people.  Money paid in partnership with Fife Voluntary Action to help set up homes for individuals was of great support to around 40 local people.

 

Individual families reported feeling better connected in their community through attendance at Family Support Groups, having a listening ear through provision of supportive phone calls/home visits etc. Families have also been assisted to access foodbanks, additional funds for school clothing/footwear and in some cases larger household items i.e. mattresses and beds. 

 

Members noted from the report that poverty in rural North East Fife impacts on those working as well as those in receipt of benefits.  A Rural Poverty Conference in NE Fife held in June 2018 spotlighted on rural poverty issues including fuel poverty, the cost of transport and lack of access to services.  Low wages in the area is often compounded by higher living costs, rents and costs of food shopping due to the lack of access to cheaper budget supermarkets.  This conference gave a good insight on how staff and groups can base their spending over the coming year.

 

The Recommended Areas of Work for 2019/20 include:

 

Fuel Poverty – Back on Track project which targets private rented and owner-occupied households who are in fuel poverty.  This work is provided by Cosy Kingdom Energy Advisors.

 

Holiday Activities Fund – Healthy food and holiday activities for young people and families targeted to those potentially in crisis over the school holidays.

 

Christmas provision – working with the third sector to support homeless, vulnerable and elderly people and includes support for the Social Work annual toy drive.

 

Discretionary Fund – necessary for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged individuals and families to help them out of crisis.  £25,000 has been ring-fenced for this fund.

 

Project Staff –Ongoing staffing costs are not provided from this fund but staff costs can be funded in order to kick start new work in the area or help to be able to pilot work that can then seek other funding.  For instance, continued funding for a further 12 months is sought by Homestart to continue work with helping those impacted by the Benefit Cap, Fife Young Carers and Meal Makers.

 

Cllr. Donald Lothian, Committee Convener said, “Funding towards relieving poverty in North East Fife is invaluable and these anti-poverty projects shed a light on the real issues in the corners of our community. 

 

“Fife Council will continue to work with existing agencies who are at the forefront of providing services and support to individuals and families, monitoring the progress of the anti-poverty fund and evaluating how it is making a difference to people’s lives.  Discretionary funding payments average £25-£30 but these small amounts are making such a big impact on an individual basis.

 

“As a council, we are keen to find new initiatives and other opportunities for partnership.  Key to this is identifying gaps, avoiding duplication and making sure people who find themselves in need of discretionary payments are aware of the means to access them.”

 

Lammas Market

 

The Committee agreed to operational changes in the management of the Lammas Market, devolving more responsibility for the running of the event to the Scottish Showmen’s Guild.  This would simplify processes surrounding the administration of the event resulting in considerable savings in terms of staff time and costs.  A fixed contribution of £12,000 from The Showmen’s Guild was agreed to be paid to the St Andrews Common Good Fund to ensure a guaranteed income from the event.  This would be reviewed annually with the Showmen’s Guild in line with overall profits each year.  

 

Community Plan Update – Local Community Planning Budget Requests

 

Funds were agreed towards replacing vital community vehicles in St Andrews.  StAandEn received funding towards a Clean and Green Replacement Truck which assists with town centre and beach clean-ups.  Money was also agreed towards the cost of replacing the Cosmos Community Centre’s disabled adapted community mini bus.  Finally, funding for a 14m path and associated works including installing drainage and movement of plants was agreed to provide accessible access to St Andrews Botanic Garden.

 

School Attainment and Achievement – Bell Baxter HS, Madras College and Waid Academy

 

Members of North East Fife Area Committee heard school attainment and achievement reports from the three North East Fife secondary schools and their cluster primaries for 2017/18.  Representatives from leadership teams within each of the schools reiterated the invitation for Area Committee members to visit individual schools to discuss outcomes for children and young people in the context of each school.

 

In North East Fife, work is taking place across all three clusters to raise attainment focusing on numeracy, literacy and health and wellbeing.  All schools are continuing their focus on nurturing approaches, how these affect children’s readiness to learn and how this has an impact on future outcomes and attainment.

 

Whilst exam results remain important, emphasis is now placed on outcomes based on the attainment and achievement of school leavers.  In primary schools, the National Improvement Framework forms the basis of reporting in relation to attainment information within literacy and numeracy, health and wellbeing, equity, wider achievement and employability.  Closing the attainment gap remains a high priority with many schools establishing individual groups with a very specific remit to define and address the attainment gap by tracking a range of interventions to improve outcomes for targeted groups of learners.

 

Bell Baxter High School

 

In 16/17 (March 2018), 94% of leavers were recorded as entering a positive destination:

  • Positive destination: 93.9%
  • Higher Ed: 37.5%
  • FE: 27.7%
  • Training: 1.4%
  • Employment: 24.9%
  • Activity Agreement: 1.4%

 

A selection of wider school highlights and achievements at Bell Baxter include:

 

  • All learners in S1-S3 have taken part in Respect workshops to develop their understanding of restorative approaches in the classroom as a means to maintain the school’s expectations for behaviour in the classroom.
  • Through an activities week, learners have also taken part in a series of workshops in numeracy, literacy and health and wellbeing with those in S1 undertaking an extensive programme of outdoor learning which had a focus on Eco workshops.

 

Madras College

 

In 16/17, % of leavers went on to a positive destination:

  • Positive destination: 95.1%
  • Higher Ed: 48.2%
  • FE: 26.5%
  • Training: 0.8%
  • Employment: 18.4%
  • Activity Agreement: 0.8%

 

A selection of wider school highlights and achievements include:

 

  • Top of the Bench Chemistry team triumphed in the Scottish regional final, coming out on top over 30 schools.
  • 10 pupils from S4, S5 and S6 attended regional heats for First Lego League and came first in the robotics and programming section
  • Over 50 entrants in the Scottish mathematical challenge, achieving four bronze, five silver and four gold awards.
  • S1 basketball squad won the first ever S1 Fife Cup
  • 62 junior golfers took part in Alfred Dunhill Links Schools Challenge

 

Waid Academy

 

In 16/17, 97.5 % of leavers went on to a positive destination.

  • Positive destination: 97.5%
  • Higher Ed: 48.8%
  • FE: 23.1%
  • Training: 0.8%
  • Employment: 23.1%
  • Activity Agreement: 0.8%

 

A selection of wider school highlights and achievements include:

  • A team of three girls and one boy took top place in NASA UK Space Design competition
  • First secondary school to achieve the Digital Schools Award
  • S1 took part in Crest STEM awards
  • Fife Literacy Quiz winners
  • Pupil involvement in local community Charrettes for Crail and Eli

 

Committee Convener, Cllr. Donald Lothian thanked each of those presenting reports commenting, “It has rightly been pointed out by one of our education colleagues today how league tables of the top state schools which focus on those gaining five or more Highers can be very detrimental to our schools in North East Fife and to the local authority.

 

“Whilst our three secondary schools in North East Fife do indeed have many pupils achieving five or more Highers, purely focusing on this one metric as a measurement of how effective a school is can be extremely short-sighted. 

 

“The reports from all of our schools today highlight the importance of looking at many other factors when reporting on attainment and achievement. 

 

“North East Fife schools can be very proud of their young people and how well they are learning and achieving in school.  This is a result of the positive relationships they have in the classroom and how well they respond to the hard work and commitment of their teachers.”

 

Full document is available on Fife Direct.

 

Ends

 

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