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Policy and Intelligence Newsletter - 8 September 2021

Welcome to the new format Policy and Intelligence Newsletter, which will explore a different theme each month, giving you data insights, policy analysis and signposts for further reading. There will also be regular sections providing a news roundup and Parliamentary stories of interest. In the month after exam results were released, we take a deep dive into education in Cornwall. 

News roundup

  • Car use in Britain is now up to or higher than before the first lockdown, while the number of people using public transport has lagged behind, data from the Department for Transport shows.
  • The Environment Agency is encouraging anglers to report sightings of salmon exhibiting symptoms of Red Skin Disease, after fish were seen with signs of the condition in Devon and Cornwall, as well as other parts of the UK.
  • 12 August was GCSE results day. In the South West, 78.6% of GCSEs were graded at 4 or C and above, slightly below the England average of 79.1%.
  • Cornwall is one of a record number of areas applying to be the UK City of Culture 2025. Previous locations of the UK City of Culture saw £220m of investment and 800 new jobs.
  • The 2021 Tour of Britain will take place between 5 and 12 September. Cornwall will host the modern Tour of Britain for the first time ever. Stage One of the race will see riders travel 180 kilometres through the Cornish countryside, starting in Penzance and ending in Bodmin.
  • College and secondary school students in Cornwall and other South West regions will be requested to wear face coverings in on-site communal areas, but not in classrooms, for 5 weeks of enhanced local support measures from 27 August.


View from Westminster

consultation has been launched on plans for new Local Nature Recovery Strategies across England as part of the landmark Environment Bill. The consultation launch follows successful Local Nature Recovery Strategy pilots in Cornwall and four other areas across England. The scheme is managed by local partner organisations in conjunction with Natural England. You can read more about Cornwall’s Nature Recovery Plan here.


The Government's Family Hub programme - bringing together multi-agency support for vulnerable families in single locations - will receive a £10 million funding boost. Local authorities can use the money to provide services such as early education support and counselling for survivors of domestic abuse. 


yearly record number of households have benefitted from the Help to Buy scheme as loans pass £20 billion. The scheme helps first-time buyers on to the housing ladder by providing a loan to put towards the cost of buying a newly built home. In Cornwall, there were 283 Help to Buy: Equity Loans for first time buyers during the financial year 2020-2021, a decrease of 28.3% from the previous financial year. Figures show that in total, there were 3,447 available sales listings in Cornwall on Rightmove during May 2021, a reduction of 55% compared to May 2019. 

 

As children return to schools, HMRC is reminding families they may be eligible for Tax-Free Childcare to help pay for breakfast and after school clubs. The scheme is accessible for parents or carers with children 11 and under (17 and under for parents or carers of a child with a disability). You can check your eligibility and register for Tax-Free Childcare here.  

 

Deep dive: Education

Cornwall’s Education Strategy states that all children, young people and families in Cornwall are entitled to a world class education that helps them to achieve the best possible outcomes at every stage of their lives.  Both our schools and Cornwall Council’s Education Service have strived to keep this a reality throughout an extremely challenging past 18 months.

Education is a critical element of the infrastructure of Cornwall.  The aim is to ensure that education will be high quality, sustainable and flexible to meet the changing needs of the residents of Cornwall - from birth to adulthood.  The provision of world class educational opportunities underpins and drives the development of the economic prosperity for Cornwall.  This in turn aligns with wider Council priorities, as well as providing a keystone for helping make Cornwall a brilliant place to live for a child.

Our priorities include:

  1. Promote the educational outcomes of disadvantaged children and young people ensuring schools can support children at risk of exclusion
  2. Promote a sense of belonging and wellbeing
  3. Early Intervention for communication needs
  4. All children achieve their potential

There is a total of 280 state-maintained schools and nurseries in Cornwall (two new Primary schools opened from 1 September 2021, one in Newquay, the other in Launceston). These 280 are broken down as follows:

  1. 2 Nursery schools (both LA maintained)
  2. 7 Infant schools
  3. 7 Junior schools
  4. 222 Primary schools
  5. 31 Secondary schools (12 offer 6th form provision)
  6. 4 Special schools
  7. 7 Alternative Provision Academies
  • Of the 236 Infant/Junior/Primary schools,
    1. 184 are Academy schools (3 are Free Schools, while the other 181 are either Sponsor led or Converter Academies)
    2. 52 are LA maintained schools
      • 27 are LA Community schools
      • 18 are Foundation schools
      • 5 are Voluntary Aided schools
      • 2 are Voluntary Controlled schools
  • Of the 31 Secondary schools,
    1. 26 are Academy schools (6 are Sponsor led Academies, with the remaining being Converter Academies)
    2. 5 are LA maintained schools:
      • 4 are Foundation schools
      • 1 is an LA Community school 
  • The 11 Special/Alternative Provision Academies are all Converter Academies

Recent key achievements include the continued delivery of education throughout the Covid challenges, due to the dedication of the education workforce in our schools.  In addition to this, a high percentage of pupils will be attending their first choice Primary and Secondary schools from September.

With regard to secondary education 5,648 pupils have been allocated a place in one of their three preferred schools (99.31% of pupils). 5,436 pupils have been allocated a place in their first preference school which represents 95.5% of pupils. This has been supported by the development of over 1700 additional school places across Cornwall over the past 4 years.

For primary schools 99% of pupils were allocated a place in one of their three preferred schools with 95.8% being allocated a place in their first preference school. 

The impact of Covid-19 notwithstanding, there has been a notable reduction in the number of fixed and permanent exclusion over the last 12 months, which, again, is testament to the commitment of schools and the Local Authority.  Every effort will be made to sustain this over the upcoming school year, which will of course be challenging once more but which will also hopefully see more of a return to normality for our young people across Cornwall.

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