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Good start, great schools

Our ambition

We want Bradford to be a great place to be a child – a place where all our children and young people are given the best start in life and can develop their talents and abilities to the fullest extent. This is reflected in our ambition to become a Unicef Child Friendly District, where the voice of the child is at the heart of all we do and all our children and young people have the opportunity to develop, thrive and prosper.

We will provide the best start by providing high-quality early childhood education and welfare services for all. From this secure base, we will ensure our children can develop their talents by creating a long-term, sustainable improvement in school attainment for all our children and young people.

We want Bradford to be a safe and secure place for children and young people to grow up. We will continue to work with our partners in education, health, police and the community on safeguarding to keep children safe and respond to child protection concerns.

We will work tirelessly to reduce the educational attainment gap and ensure no child is left behind so that our most vulnerable children and young people are protected. Education and schooling should be an engine of opportunity that maximises our children and young people’s talents and abilities to their fullest extent and prepares them for successful transitions into adult life, whatever their background.

Our context

Bradford District is one of the youngest, most diverse places in the country. Bradford District has a rich cultural and arts scene with world-famous events such as the Bradford Literature Festival. There are great youth and leisure services, award-winning social cohesion programmes and innovative support programmes for some of our most vulnerable children and young people. In Born in Bradford, we have a unique and internationally renowned research institute, based at Bradford Royal Infirmary, which helps us understand the challenges and opportunities faced by children and young people in the district.

We have a number of challenges including:

  • Too many of our children grow up in poverty. COVID-19 has increased the number of children growing up in poverty and the pressure on their families.
  • There are great inequalities in health. Our poorest children can expect to live shorter and less healthy lives than our wealthiest children. Children growing up with health problems or whose care is affected by their parents or guardians’ ill health are significantly disadvantaged in education. COVID-19 has exacerbated health problems, particularly childhood mental health problems.
  • Educational attainment and progress across all stages of education from early years onwards is below the national average and COVID-19 has shown a growing digital educational divide.
  • Educational and social outcomes for our most vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people need to be improved. This is all the more important because the pandemic has widened the education gap between our poorest and most vulnerable children and the rest.
  • COVID-19 has disrupted our children’s education. Getting all our children and young people safely in education, ensuring schools are COVID-19 safe places and parents have confidence in sending their children to school is an immediate priority. The pandemic has meant that our children and young people have missed six months of education. The impact of this will be felt by all but falls heaviest on the poorest and most vulnerable who lack access to digital learning and support outside school.

Our priorities

Living with COVID-19

We will:

  • Support schools with clear infection control and response procedures to protect their staff, pupils and families.
  • Provide children and young people with the equipment and support to learn flexibly, including at home.
  • Work with partners to make sure that no child goes hungry through this pandemic. We will continue to provide healthy meals to the District’s schools, minimising the use of salt and sugar in food production and also reducing the use of plastics.
  • Work with early years settings to ensure that parents are able to access childcare to enable them to work.
  • Work as a whole system to promote, protect and improve children and young people’s mental wellbeing to be happy and healthy.

Building a Better Future

We will:

  • Ensure children are at the heart of everything we do, and ensure we continue on our journey to become a Unicef Child Friendly District.
  • Improve attainment of children and young people at all Key Stages so that they can secure employment and be active and positive citizens.
  • Improve levels of attendance so that children and young people can achieve their academic expectations.
  • Deliver our 0-5 Early Years Programme including a prevention and early help offer for families to support children and young people from conception to five years.
  • Improve social mobility for children, including through the continuation of the Opportunity Area programme, which focuses on children in the most deprived areas of the district.
  • As a good and responsible corporate parent, we will support our children and young people in care to achieve their full potential in education and learning.
  • Work with early years providers to ensure sufficient places for all children in the district.
  • As a good and responsible corporate parent, improve and increase apprenticeship and training opportunities in the Council and district for young people in care and care leavers.
  • Work with partners to ensure we have an evidence-based approach to all we do. This includes working with Born in Bradford to make sure that all our interventions are based on Bradford specific research data.

How we will measure success

  1. GCSE Level 4 English and Maths results to close the gap with the national average.
  2. Reduce persistent absence faster than national trend.
  3. Improve Key Stage 2 results in line with national trends in Reading, Writing and Maths.
  4. Improve Key Stage 1 Phonics in line with national trends.

The underpinning plans and strategies that will enable us to deliver on this priority include:

  • Bradford Children, Young People and Families Plan
  • Bradford District Education Covenant