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Public performance reports

Education of children

Public Performance Reporting

The Council Plan Connect outlines the council’s objectives for 2017-22. Connect Priorities should not be seen in isolation, they interact with each other and as we achieve success in one, we move closer to success in others. In delivering our vision to ‘improve the quality of life of everyone in South Lanarkshire’ our priorities show how our work links with our partners including our Community Planning Partners.

For daily updates, stories and what’s going on in your area, visit our information and news website South Lanarkshire View

Each year we publish Annual Performance Spotlights which summarise how we have performed in achieving our Connect Priorities. To complement these we have created a suite of individual Public Performance Reports which focus on key areas of council business. This report outlines the performance of our Education services and how this links to the priorities.

Note: Some 2020-21 performance and results were impacted by the Covid 19 pandemic.

Education remains both a national and a council priority. The Education Resource Plan sets the context for improvement planning in schools, establishments and services within Education Resources. Each school publishes its own Improvement Plan and these can be accessed by following the links to individual school webpages from the council website. In taking forward the Council’s vision to ‘improve the quality of life for everyone’, we support a wide range of learning opportunities for children, young people, adults and families where the focus is on their health and wellbeing and developing their skills. Our purpose is to raise achievement and attainment, inspire learners, transform learning and to work in partnership with our communities so that children and young people have the best start in life and are supported to develop their skills for learning, life and work. To help achieve this our focus will be on taking forward the drivers in the National Improvement Framework and on ensuring inclusion and equality are at the heart of what we do.

There are over 49,000 young people attending nursery, primary, secondary and additional support needs schools in South Lanarkshire. There are 124 primary schools one of which provides Gaelic medium education, 17 secondary schools one of which provides Gaelic medium education, seven additional support needs schools and 23 supported provision bases in the South Lanarkshire area.  Pre-school education is provided in 85 Early Years establishments, along with our partnership agreements with external providers: facilities include 65 nursery classes in schools, 20 community nurseries and partnerships with 106 external providers.

You may find this ‘Glossary of Terms’ from the Education Scotland Parentzone website useful.

The attainment of examination results by our young people is one way in which we can assess how well we are fulfilling our duties to educate our children. The results reported are particularly notable as the highest levels ever recorded: 44.0% of pupils leaving school gained 5 or more Level 6 awards (Highers). 

The celebration of the success of young people also features prominently in schools and services as this helps to raise aspirations, self-esteem and wellbeing. Young people achieved nationally recognised awards through the Youth Learning Service, these included: Duke of Edinburgh Awards (Bronze, Silver and Gold), John Muir Awards, SQA Employability Awards, Dynamic Youth and Youth Achievement Awards. The Youth, Family, and Community Learning Awards Team undertook a virtual Award Ceremony which was broadcast in March 2021 via YouTube and Facebook with almost 500 views on YouTube.

The wider achievements of young people and their involvement in shaping their learning journey is having a positive impact with many achieving vocational qualifications, entering into modern apprenticeships as well as attending college to develop their skills through courses and learning programmes.

Achievement and Attainment

What this means These are measures of the percentage of pupils gaining Scottish Credit and Qualification Framework awards. The Scottish Government provides a tool (Insight) which allows our results to be benchmarked with similar pupils from across Scotland.  These are known as our "virtual comparator".
Why this matters Raising attainment and achievement of all children and young people helps to ensure that they are best prepared for life beyond school and helps to tackle the effects of poverty, disadvantage and close the poverty-related attainment gap.
    School Session  
Our performance and how we compare  Comparator 2018-19 2019-20 2020-21   Are we improving?
Percentage of pupils gaining 5 or more awards at level 4 or better SLC 87.1% 88.0% 89.9%  Yes
Virtual Comparator 85.0% 86.4% 87.6%
Scotland 85.4% 85.8% 87.1%
Percentage of pupils gaining 5 or more awards at level 5 or better SLC 64.9% 68.8% 72.6% Yes
Virtual Comparator 65.3% 69.8% 71.7%
Scotland 64.3% 67.5% 70.4%

Percentage of pupils gaining 5 or more awards at level 6 or better

SLC 37.2% 40.6% 44.0% Yes
Virtual Comparator 36.7% 42.8% 43.6%
Scotland 36.0% 40.2% 42.1%
How we have performed in improving this public service

The impact of different approaches to certification upon school leaver attainment due to Covid-19 means that care should be taken when making comparisons over time. In addition to this, levels of attainment by 2020/21 school leavers are also likely to have been affected by any changes to pupils’ decisions on staying on at school related to the pandemic. Care must therefore be taken when comparing the attainment of 2020/21 school leavers with that of 2019/20 school leavers and when comparing these years to the attainment of earlier school leaver cohorts.

Performance of all school leavers in South Lanarkshire is in line with trends also shown in our Virtual Comparator and in the Scottish average results over the 3 year period. In session 2020-21 performance in South Lanarkshire is above both the National and Virtual Comparator level in all measures.

Attainment and achievement

What this means Children and young people, throughout their Broad General Education (P1-S3) are assessed regularly to ensure they are making progress. Each year, teachers at P1, P4, P7 and S3 stages report on the Curriculum for Excellence levels that have been achieved by their pupils. These teacher judgements are based on a range of evidence and are moderated within and between schools.
Why this matters Curriculum for Excellence is designed to provide a coherent, more flexible and enriched curriculum for children and young people from 3 to 18. The curriculum includes all of the experiences, which are planned for children and young people through their education.
Our performance and how we compare School Session Are we improving?
Percentage of P1, P4 and P7 combined achieving appropriate CfE Level for their stage or better


Comparator   2020-21  
SLC Literacy 70.2% No, however performance should be viewed in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic
National Literacy 66.9%
SLC Numeracy 77.9%  
National Numeracy 74.7%
How we have performed in improving this public service Please note there was no collection of data in 2019/20 due to Covid-19. In South Lanarkshire Council in 2020/21 performance was above the national level in both literacy and numeracy. Direct comparison to previous years should take into consideration the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Further detail is available at: Scottish Exchange of Data: Achievement of Curriculum for Excellence Levels

South Lanarkshire is a large authority with comparatively higher levels of deprivation. The ongoing work of the council and its partners to address the still significant issue of youth unemployment remains a priority. We continue to secure and offer many youth employability options catering for all levels of employability skills and experiences, including the Youth Employment Initiative, What’s With Work, H20 plus and Work it Out serving the earliest stages and young people with multiple barriers to employability. 

Proportion of pupils entering positive destinations (initial destinations)

What this means This measure assists schools in assessing how well they are preparing their young people for life beyond school.
Why this matters

By ensuring high levels of positive destinations for school leavers we are able to deliver the Developing the Young Workforce programme; enable young people to meet their potential; support a high skill economy and minimise the longer term effects of long periods of unemployment.

Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2018-19 2019-20 2020-21 Are we improving?
SLC 95.7% 94.8% 96.2% Yes 
Scotland 95.0% 93.3% 95.5%
How we have performed in improving this public service

The proportion of pupils entering positive destinations has increased in South Lanarkshire and at the national level. Performance in South Lanarkshire remains high and is above the national level. To see how we compare against other councils, the data is available on the public performance reporting tool mylocalcouncil.

Our customer satisfaction scores shown below come from the Scottish Household Survey which is undertaken by the Scottish Government in which a small sample of residents are asked questions about our Services. This survey is not routinely conducted with parents/carers of pupils attending schools and so we also show the scores from South Lanarkshire Council’s own Household Survey which is issued to all residents in South Lanarkshire.

Percentage of adults satisfied with local schools

What this means This indicator tells us how satisfied residents are with the quality of public services delivered by our local schools. This data is taken from the Scottish Household Survey and is presented in 3 year rolled averages.
Why this matters It is important to capture some element of the quality of children’s services in terms of the service user’s opinions. Currently the only data for this, which is comparable across all 32 Scottish councils, is measured from data gathered by the Scottish Household Survey.
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2016-19 2017-20 2018-21 Are we improving?

SLC (National survey)

76.1% 76.5% %


Data not yet available

Scotland 71.8% 71.8% %
How we have performed in improving this public service

In the Scottish household survey average for 2017-20, 76.5% of adults expressed satisfaction with local schools; this is better than the national average. To see how we compare against other councils, the data is available on the public performance reporting tool mylocalcouncil.

In 2015 South Lanarkshire Council had a vision to transform our old school buildings into high quality, vibrant, modern, inspirational places of learning and teaching fit for 21st century education and Curriculum for Excellence. This was a programme of consultation and communication involving stakeholder representatives from a mix of teaching and other staff, parents, children and the local community. Our children and staff deserve the best and, with a dedicated specialist team in place, we embarked on the largest school building programme in the UK. By autumn 2019 the council’s ambitious modernisation programme of all Nursery Establishments, Additional Support Needs (ASN), Primary and Secondary schools was complete. With a capital cost of approximately £1.2 billion the programme has consisted of the new build, or major refurbishment, of: 12 Nursery Centres; 124 Mainstream Primary Schools (including 63 nursery classes); 4 ASN Primary Schools; 3 ASN Secondary Schools and 17 Mainstream Secondary Schools – making a total of 160 modernised educational establishments.

Every school pupil in South Lanarkshire is now taught in a modern education establishment which supports and contributes to high quality learning and teaching.

National data is only collected one every two years. The table below gives a comparison of the last 3 available data collections.

Follow this link for Information on how to support your child through school 

Percentage attendance at school

What this means We collect information on the number of times pupils attend school and show this as a percentage of the total number of possible attendances.   National data is only published every second year.  
Why this matters A high level of pupil attendance will ensure that there is more opportunity for all pupils to engage and increases the continuity of their learning. Through Integrated Children’s Services each locality has an attendance tracking process that ensures there is early identification of any issues and provides children and their families with additional support if required. 
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2016-17 2018-19 2020-21 Are we improving?
  SLC 93.4% 92.9% 91.6% No
  Scotland 93.3% 92.9% 92.0%
How we have performed in improving this public service There was a slight decrease in the attendance rate compared with the previous results in SLC and at the national level. However, during 2020/21 there was disruption to school attendance caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. To see how we compare against other councils, the data is available on the public performance reporting tool mylocalcouncil
Exclusion incidents per 1,000 pupils
What this means This indicator measures the number of exclusion incidents per 1,000 pupils,  National data is only published every second year.
Why this matters Schools minimise exclusion by meeting the needs of all pupils who are part of their school community, whatever their ability, background or social circumstances and by promoting positive relationships and behaviours.  Exclusion is a last resort when all other reasonable courses of action have been exhausted, or are inappropriate.
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2016-17 2018-19 2020-21 Are we improving?
  SLC 27.9% 21.2% 12.6% Yes
  Scotland 26.8% 21.7% 11.9%
How we have performed in improving this public service Exclusions in primary schools are not common and the exclusion rate per 1,000 pupils remains very low (approximately 0.02% of attendance).  The results show exclusions per 1,000 pupils reducing in 2020-21. However, during 2020/21 there was disruption to school attendance caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The exclusion rate can fluctuate but tends to be in line with the national average.  To see how we compare against other councils, the data is available on the public performance reporting tool mylocalcouncil.

Council Priority: Get it right for children and young people

  • Trinity High school achieved an Marjorie Boxall Quality Mark Award for their work in Nurture. They are the first Secondary in Scotland and the UK to be re-accredited for this work and for the difference this is making to the lives of many young people.
  • 579 participants engaged with the Youth, Family and Community Learning (YFCL) Awards Team and 197 have now completed either a Duke of Edinburgh (including sectional certificates) or John Muir Award, despite the restrictions of the pandemic.
  • The South Lanarkshire Schools' Percussion Ensemble achieved a 'Gold Plus Award' at the virtual Scottish Concert Band Festival which live-streamed in December 2020. A tremendous accomplishment given the Covid restrictions.

Council Priority: Ensure communities are safe, strong and sustainable

  • Parent Councils are being supported to meet on-line via teams and zoom meetings and parents continue to be involved in the appointment process for Head Teacher/Depute Head Teacher posts.
  • A Summer Programme (2020) was provided to assist in reducing food poverty amongst families in South Lanarkshire. As part of the Emergency Childcare for key workers, approximately 450 participants accessed the Summer Sessions which ran within 10 locations across South Lanarkshire. Participants had access to free nutritious meals – breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack. More than 6,200 free meals were provided.

Council Priority: Improve health, care and wellbeing

  • The Educational Psychology Service has developed guidance to support the promotion of positive health and wellbeing across educational establishments during the period of post COVID recovery- Supporting Mental Health and Wellbeing through transition, reconnection and recovery: an attachment informed approach. A short film can be accessed link here.

Council Priority: Promote sustainable and inclusive economic growth and tackle disadvantage

  • 85 learners have been engaged in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) activity since April 2020, primarily through online classes, and 80 learners have improved their language skills, with tutors confirming significant improvement.
  • Schools have signposted to Cost of the School Day guidance and supports through the @SLCEquity Twitter Feed. There is evidence that schools are signposting financial supports and looking at Cost of the School day, Digital inclusion has continued to be addressed through the Scottish Government IT device scheme with over 5,700 Chromebooks and 800 MI-fi devices distributed to our most disadvantaged

Council Priority: Delivering the Plan and achieving Best Value

  • Woodhill Early Learning and Childcare in Kirkmuirhill opened its doors to in September 2020.
  • The nursery offers 63 places and is an important milestone in the expansion of early years capacity (Target SLC wide: 1658 places).

Resource Plans are prepared each year by all council Resources to outline the key developments they intend to take forward in the year. Performance and actions relating to Education of children can be found in the following Resource Plans:

Twice a year, performance reports are presented to council committees on progress against the Resource Plans.  In addition, reports detailing progress against the Council Plan Connect Priorities are prepared. See Quarter 2 and Quarter4 performance reports for further information.

More information on our objectives can be found in the Coucil Plan Connect and also the Annual Performance Spotlights.

Local Government Benchmarking Framework  (LGBF) allows councils to work together, to use performance information in a way which will help understand variations, share knowledge, expertise and good practice, with a view to making improvements. At the core of the framework is an agreed suite of performance indicators. We report the results for these indicators, over time, on the website. Additionally, you can compare our LGBF results with other councils' using the mylocalcouncil tool. Not all local authorities are alike and so family groups of eight ‘similar’ councils have been set up for comparison purposes. Workshops take place throughout the year to discuss the indicators and results – South Lanarkshire Council is actively involved in these discussions.

The information contained within this report reflects the position based on the data available at the time of publication (February 2022).