Council bosses in South Tyneside have received a share of £15m - to help drive up children’s services standards at other councils across the country.
South Tyneside, along with North Tyneside have been selected by the Department of Education as the region’s first Partners in Practice which will see both councils working with other local authorities whose children’s services are under-performing or at risk of failing.
The two councils will be known as the Tyneside Alliance and have made a commitment to work with around ten other councils both in the North East and further afield during the two-years of the progamme.
South Tyneside Council’s children’s services have been rated ‘good’ by Ofsted with ‘outstanding’ areas of service.
Coun Joan Atkinson, lead member for children, young people and families at South Tyneside Council, said: “This is fantastic news and is further endorsement of the remarkable work which is taking place in the borough to give every young person the best start in life.
“Despite being an area with high levels of deprivation Ofsted recognised that the services we provide to families and young people are among the best in the UK.
“This gives us a unique perspective to share our learning and innovative practice with other authorities to help them drive up standards in their own areas.”
She added: “I am particularly pleased that our own innovation project will focus on people leaving the care system. We want all our young people to feel confident and ambitious and have the right skills and training to help them achieve their goals.
“This announcement will enable us to contribute to helping children and families in other council areas alongside the real difference we are already making to the life chances of some of our most vulnerable young people right here in South Tyneside.”
Around 70% of council children’s services nationally have been rated as ‘requiring improvement’ or ‘inadequate’ and the alliance will be supporting some of these councils.
In addition, South Tyneside Council has developed its own innovation project called the WorkPlace.
This aims to significantly improve the success of South Tyneside’s young people leaving care to access education, employment and training. This will involve working with schools and carers to raise the aspirations of looked-after children, the development of a bespoke careers advice service and by working more closely with the business community to create opportunities for work.