Six authorities in North Wales have formed a consortium to improve efficiency and transform education provision across the region.
The consortium – which includes Conwy and Wrexham County Borough Councils, the Isle of Anglesey, Denbighshire and Flintshire County Councils and Gwynedd Council – will ensure consistency in the delivery of education services for children and families in the area. It will also help the authorities respond to the Welsh Government's demand for greater collaboration in the public sector.
All authorities within the consortium will use Capita's One information management solution, which is used by 120 UK councils including 22 in Wales, to manage data about children. The system will provide a secure, single view of a child, including key information such as pupils’ attendance, behaviour and achievement in school. This wealth of data will be accessible to all staff who are authorised to see it, regardless of where in the area they are based.
Geraint James, Statutory Head of Education Services at Conwy County Borough Council and Chair of the North Wales Consortium, said: "In the current economic climate, the Welsh Government is calling on Local Authorities to work more efficiently and adopt a more strategic approach to improving outcomes for children. Having a single IT system in place across all six authorities in North Wales is absolutely essential to ensuring councils and schools can work more closely together and intervene earlier in children’s schooling to raise their achievement."
The One system will give council staff a regional picture of how children are progressing in school. This will make it easier for the consortium to provide targeted services to raise pupils’ attainment and drive school improvement in the area. By analysing the broad range of data available, the authorities can identify specific cohorts of pupils, for example boys in Key Stage 2 with low attendance and poor progress in maths. The authorities can then introduce effective measures to address problems on a regional scale.
Using a single system, the consortium will be able to standardise business processes within the six authorities. This will cut costs and support greater efficiency across the group as a whole. Training and resources can also be managed regionally, allowing additional savings to be realised.
Geraint James says: "An educational psychologist working with a pupil can enter up-to-date details of the support they are receiving and this record will be easily accessible to their teacher on the system. This means that if the child changes schools or moves to a neighbouring area within the consortium, their new school will have instant access to information on the progress the child is making in their learning. This is key to ensuring they get the support they need."
Schools will be able to use the system to identify strategies that have been effective in addressing problems, such as poor attendance or behaviour in other schools in the area. They can then replicate these interventions to tackle issues in their own schools and use the resulting data to measure the impact on pupils’ learning progress. The system will ensure that examples of best practice can be shared easily to drive whole-school development and boost pupils’ achievement throughout the consortium.
Phil Neal, managing director of Capita SIMS and One, says: "The North Wales Consortium has taken a major step in its commitment to improving standards of education and the One system will sit at the heart of this. Having a single view of a child will help to ensure that all those working to improve educational outcomes for children can access the information they need to provide the best services and support to children and families."
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