Children, Young People and Families' Plan 2023 to 2033

Last updated 26 January 2024

Meet the Strategic Alliance Board

We are the Dorset Strategic Alliance for Children and Young People and are proud to come together as a partnership to make a difference to lives of children, young people and families in Dorset.

As board members we share responsibility for improving outcomes for children, young people and their families and commit to participating in the delivery of this long-term plan and to work together to coordinate our work.

Table - alliance members
Board Member Organisation
Chair of the Strategic Alliance – Portfolio Holder for Children, Education, Skills and Early Help Dorset Council
Executive Director People – Children Dorset Council
Chief Commissioning Officer NHS Dorset
Representatives of the 0-25 voluntary sector forum 0-25 VCS Forum Help and Kindness
Parent/carer representative Dorset Parent Carer Council
Representative of Local Alliance Groups Nominated Chair of Local Alliance Group
Chief Superintendent Dorset Police
Partnership and Engagement Manager Department for Work and Pensions
Partnership Service Manager Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service
Service Director Children, Young People and Families Dorset Healthcare
Chair of Schools Forum Schools Forum
Early Years Provider Schools Forum
Primary School Head Nominated Primary School Representative
Secondary School Head Teacher Nominated Secondary School Representative
Corporate Director of Housing Dorset Council


Foreword – Executive Director People – Children

I am privileged to hold the role of Executive Director for Children’s Services in Dorset and am delighted to share with you our next Children, Young People and Families’ Plan. It is an ambitious ten-year plan that will have a lasting impact on outcomes for children and young people that will continue into the next generation.

“We want Dorset to be the best place to be a child, where communities thrive, and families are supported to be the best they can be.”

Our Strategic Alliance has been working together since 2020.

We have made real progress in many areas, despite facing a truly challenging few years. We are all too aware that the pandemic has disproportionately affected our children and young people who missed out on a lot to protect the health of the nation.

As a partnership, we are committed to building on what we have already achieved to create a bright and ambitious future for our children and young people.

We have committed to working together and with our children, families and communities to ensure that Dorset is a place where all children thrive. I passionately believe that strengthening families and communities - ‘working with’ not ‘doing to’ is the key to unlocking potential and aspiration and this plan sets out how we will do that together.

Thank you to all the children and young people who have generously given their feedback, shared their ideas and told us what it important to them. Your voices have shaped this plan and we will work hard over the next 10 years to deliver your vision for Dorset – your Dorset, for your future.

Theresa Leavy Executive Director People - Children

Foreword – Chair of the Strategic Alliance

I have the great honour and privilege of being the Portfolio Holder for Children, Education, Skills, and Early Help and as part of my role am the Chair of the Dorset Strategic Alliance for Children and Young People, a group of very dedicated colleagues from agencies across Dorset, working together to realise our collective vision for children and young people.

We will work together to ensure that our children have the best start in life; enable our young people to thrive as they grow into adulthood; where children need our care, ensure that they have the right support in place and for that to be in Dorset.

We will make sure that we provide the best education for all our children and do all we can to make sure that Dorset is the best place to live and work together to keep children safe from harm at home and in their communities.

We will deliver our services locally where we can, making them easy to access and relevant to the needs of local communities. We will work together to ensure that all children and young people are supported to have equity of outcomes.

I look forward to working with board members to ensure that we implement this plan together to deliver our shared vision.

Councillor Byron Quayle Portfolio Holder for Children, Education, Skills and Early Help.



Dorset Strategic Alliance for Children and Young People

The Dorset Strategic Alliance for Children and Young People is a multi-agency partnership which brings together senior people from the council, police, health, fire and rescue services, schools, early years settings and the voluntary and community sector to shape and transform services for children and young people that achieve improved outcomes.

“We want Dorset to be the best place to be a child, where communities thrive, and families are supported to be the best they can be.”

We want all our children and young people to:

  • have the best start in life
  • be safe from harm and have the help they need when they need it
  • have healthy and active lives
  • be prepared for adult life
  • feel they can have their say, are listened to and are able to make a difference
  • enjoy growing up in Dorset
  • have a settled and happy education that enables them to achieve their full potential

In 2020 Dorset’s Strategic Alliance agreed a 3-year Children and Young People’s Plan following an extensive period of engagement with children and young people, parents, and carers and those who support them.

Appendix 1 provides a summary of what we have achieved so far. Over the course of this ten-year plan, we will continue to publish an Annual Report describing the impact our partnership has made on improving outcomes for children, young people and families in our communities.

Through the delivery of our first plan, we have continued to listen to our communities and we have found that while many things have changed, the things that are important for good outcomes for children and young people remain the same.

However, we also heard clearly from our children and young people that they want an increased focus on keeping them safe and in communities where they feel they truly belong.

As a result, we have retained the 6 priorities from our previous plan and added a new one focused on safety and community.

Our priorities for this plan are grouped under seven themes:

  1. Best start in life
  2. Young and thriving
  3. Good care provision
  4. Best education for all
  5. Best place to live
  6. Local Family Help
  7. Safe at home and in the community

Our focus on children and young people is crucial to the future wellbeing and prosperity of the county. The pandemic has disproportionately affected children and young people, widening the gap between those from poorer backgrounds and their peers. So, it has never been more important to focus on ensuring equity of outcomes for all children and young people.

As a partnership we are committed to laying the foundations for improving life outcomes now that will last into future generations, so this plan will focus on the next 10-years.

It provides a strategic framework that re-affirms partners’ commitment to work together.

Through continued engagement with children, young people, families, and those who work with them, as well as a focus on data, we will make sure that we continue to be focused on the right issues and review the impact we are having every year, making changes to the plan where we need to.

As we look ahead, we recognise that there are some significant proposals and national changes being implemented by central government in the delivery of children’s social care and in support for children with special educational needs and disabilities.

We will work together to make sure we implement these reforms in a way that works for the people of Dorset.


Our shared values and principles

Our partnership shares a set of values and is committed to working together and with children, young people, and their families in the following ways:

  • always putting children and families at the heart of everything we do – including in how we develop and shape services
  • no child or family left behind – we strive for equity of outcomes for all
  • focus on early intervention and prevention – offering the right help, in the right place at the right time
  • working restoratively – doing things with families, not to or for them
  • thinking family – providing a joined-up approach
  • focusing on and building on the strengths within individual, families, and communities
  • being inclusive – challenging discrimination where we see it and promoting a sense of belonging for all our children in our communities
  • taking a rights-based approach to our work
  • delivering best value for money – spending the Dorset £ in Dorset on the things that get the best outcomes for children and families
  • remaining hopeful and determined to achieve good outcomes for all


Working together – Our Partnership

Since 2020, there has been progress across our children’s system and we have strengthened our partnership. National policy changes have resulted in significant transformation of the local health system, with the creation of a new Integrated Care Board and Partnership.

We have an active and large voluntary and community sector which harnesses and develops the capacity of volunteers to provide early intervention and safe and supportive environments and activities which enable families, children, and young people to grow and flourish.

In early 2023 the government released a new strategy, ‘Stable Homes Built on Love’ on how local authorities and partners should work together to put families at the heart of the services we deliver.

We will explore different ways to promote family support through family decision making and new approaches to kinship care and working with the wider community family to provide safe support for our children and young people. This model will be overseen by our Strategic Alliance Partnership.

Appendix 2 provides links to partners’ strategic plans.

These plans link into and contribute to the delivery of this Children, Young People and Families’ Plan. Our partnership comprises of representatives from organisations across Dorset. All these organisations have improving outcomes for children and young people at the heart of their operations.

Our Strategic Alliance Board has representatives from:

  • Dorset Council Elected Members
  • Dorset Council Executive Officers
  • Dorset Police
  • NHS Dorset
  • Dorset Healthcare
  • Dorset Fire and Rescue Service
  • Youth Justice Service
  • Probation
  • voluntary and community sector representatives (Over 3,500 organisations and charities working through the co-ordinated 0-25 Forum)
  • Schools
  • Early Years settings
  • Dorset Parent Carer Council
  • Local Alliance Groups

The wider partners have also contributed towards individual priorities and actions with representatives also being part of the Local Alliance Groups, delivering the activities of this plan at a local level, with local communities with local children, young people and families.

Partners will share the impact we’re having progressing the action in localities and in this plan through the Strategic Alliance Board.

Public and local finances remain under continued pressure. We recognise that to maximise the impact of the public spend, we will further develop our training and workforce development offering across the partnership, building on ‘Our Dorset’ approach. We will work across the partnership to develop a joint workforce strategy and plan that recognises the changing nature of our work.


Who the Strategic Alliance works closely with

The Strategic Alliance works closely with:

Pan-Dorset Safeguarding Children Partnership

The Pan-Dorset Safeguarding Children Partnership includes the Dorset Council and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) local authority areas. It makes sure that all practitioners and services that work to safeguard children follow the same policies and procedures, ensure these are implemented effectively and that staff have the training they need to deliver them.

Strengthening Services Board for Children and Families

This multi-agency partnership board is Dorset Council’s local delivery arm of the Pan – Dorset Safeguarding Children Partnership. It brings together senior people who work with children and young people, their focus is to make sure services for vulnerable children are the best they can be.


Working together – How will we know we have made a difference?

Outcomes for children and young people and their families

It is crucial for our partnership to get feedback from children and young people and their families to inform learning and drive service improvement. It is also key to understanding the impact of the service and the difference children, young people and their families feel has been made to their lives.

All too often children and young people report that they have not been involved in the decisions affecting their lives, they have not been provided with adequate information and they have not understood what is happening to them.

We also know that partnership work is more effective when parents have clarity around expectations of how services work and the performance of agencies and services they work with. We will continue to work closely with external agencies to help us to understand and evaluate the impact of our work.

We are currently working with Oxford Brookes university to evaluate the impact of our Dorset Children Thrive model and will use the findings to inform our continued work programme. We will use a range of performance indicators from across the partner organisations to monitor, report and manage service delivery.

Alongside our Key Performance Indicators, we will publish an impact report each quarter for our plan.

The report will identify the impact of the activities undertaken in each period, across the partnership, using the key performance indicators, multi-agency audits and feedback, where appropriate, as evidence. We will also publish an Annual Report providing the evidencing of the impact of our plan, identifying any areas or emerging priorities we need to adapt or adopt.

Appendix 3 identifies our Key Performance Indicators (KPI's) 

About Dorset

Understanding Dorset 

Information on understanding Dorset can be found on the Council website, Understanding Dorset 


Our Plan - Best Start in Life

Our aim

We aim for Dorset children to have the best possible start in life, with a specific focus from pre-conception to being ready for the transition to school.

The partnership seeks to influence local strategies and strengthen operational delivery to support healthy pregnancy and parenthood, good physical and emotional child development outcomes and for children to achieve their potential.

This is important because

Research tells us the first 1,001 days of a child’s life is a unique period of opportunity where the foundations for health, growth, and neurodevelopment across the lifespan are established. Information taken from The Best Start for Life, A Vision for the 1,001 Critical Days, The Early Years Healthy Development Review Report

Children can form attachments with more than one caregiver, but the bond with the people who have provided close care from early infancy is the most important and enduring as highlighted by the NSPCC. It is these relationships that support early development of emotional health and physical wellbeing, social skills, cognitive and linguistic capacities so important for an individual’s success in childhood and in later life. (The Best Start in Life).

This time can also have potential for increased vulnerability for our youngest children. Smoking, excessive alcohol, poor nutrition, stress, or the absence of a warm loving relationship can have significant short and longer-term negative impacts on children.

When children and their families face challenges and need help, they should be able to easily access the support from their community and from professionals, with clear roles and responsibilities, who can respond confidently to deliver effective prevention and early intervention.

Babies, young children, and their families can have regular contact with several different services such as midwifery, health visiting, childcare, early education provision and a range of voluntary and community services.

Early identification of need is critical to provide right support, at the right time, in the right place. In Dorset, there are some stark differences between where children grow up and the chances they have of doing well in adult life, with Weymouth and Portland ranking one of the lowest areas for social mobility in the whole country. This means that some of our children are less likely to do well at school, find a good job and have a good standard of living than children from other areas.

Children who have been known to social work or who have experienced care can face a range of challenging social and health outcomes, including poorer educational results, higher rates of mental health problems and even higher rates of homelessness and unemployment later in life. In Dorset children aged 0-4 years continue to represent the highest number of new Child Protection cases.

We have a unique opportunity, within the Best Start in Life partnership, to realise the benefits of developing a pre-birth to 5 years strategy together which builds on strengths, responds to needs and delivers what works, for our local children working with their families and communities.




Our Plan - Best Start in Life, where we are now

A healthy pregnancy sets up the unborn baby for a healthy life. The mental and physical wellbeing of the mother is important for the baby’s healthy development, as the baby grows inside the womb, the foetus is susceptible to the environment around the mother.

Working with the Local Maternity and Neonatal System (LMNS), we have undertaken a Health Equity Audit to identify local priorities, tackle inequalities and reach out to new parents earlier, to ensure they can be happy, healthy, and prepared for parenthood.

The audit has been translated into a 5-year action plan of targeted interventions that can be made locally to improve outcomes for infants and their families. Dorset LMNS continues to focus on reducing smoking cessation, supporting families experiencing perinatal mental health issues and plans for greater focus on health prevention behaviours pre-conception and during pregnancy.

Promotion of strong attachments with primary carers is supported through a robust family offer in each locality. This is also strengthened through good relationships between early years providers and families.

We have successfully commissioned the Pause Programme locally to deliver in three communities, with sixty women, over the next five years. This is a nationally evaluated programme which provides intensive support for vulnerable women. Often there are mental health, drug and alcohol or experience of domestic violence.

The reflective approach aims to tackle destructive patterns of behaviour, and to develop new skills and responses that can help them create a more positive future.

Good early learning opportunities at home and in the community are important in giving children the best start in life.

We are working with families and our health, education, and library service colleagues with an agreed definition of school readiness and a whole-system approach to change. This work will enable us to support our ambition to provide the right support for children and families through early years settings and schools.

Access to high quality early education from 2 years for vulnerable children is vital to provide the foundations for lifelong learning. In Dorset, 99% of our providers are good or outstanding and the take-up of childcare funding for children is high (89% of eligible 2-year-olds and 96% of 3- and 4-year-olds)

A key indicator of the success of high-quality early education is the number of children who have ‘a good level of development’ at age 5 in all areas of learning but particularly in communication and language, personal, social, and emotional development, and their physical development.

In Dorset there is a gap between children from poorer households that are eligible for Free School Meals (FSM) and for children from black and minority ethnic groups. The gap for children eligible for FSM is particularly high in literacy and mathematics and we are focusing our professional development for staff in early years settings, localities, and libraries in these areas. We are also linking with the Dorset Education Board.

We have been working closely with our virtual schools leads to ensure our youngest children in care have a personal education plan in place and are supported to achieve their full potential.

We work closely with all stakeholders to understand how we can influence and support regular activities for example, the Portage offer for children with complex medical needs, additional early education hours for children who need it most e.g., funded 2-year-olds, those with Early Years Pupil Premium and a delay in the prime areas of learning.

Family hubs

are a way of joining up locally in the planning and delivery of family services. They bring services together to improve access, improve the connections between families, professionals, services, and providers, and put relationships at the heart of family support. All families should have access to the information and tools they need to care for and interact positively with their babies and children, and to look after their own wellbeing.

The Best Start in Life partnership champion the importance of the first 1001 days and up to five years within the family hub model, building on good practice and networks from the Children’s Centre programmes.

Healthy Movers

is a physical literacy programme delivered in the early years. Young children need many opportunities to develop fine motor skills alongside gross motor skills so they can become confident to explore the world around them. A pilot of the programme by the Youth Sports Trust in Dorset was shown to be effective at increasing children’s physical, emotional, and social development with improvements also in language, communication, literacy, and maths, demonstrating the importance of diverse interventions to support children to be ready and confident for the transition to school.


Our Plan - Best Start in Life, things we are going to do

The Best Start in Life will continue to champion evidence-based approaches to improving outcomes from pre-birth to five years, recognising specifically the first 1001 days.

We plan to:

  • co-design a coherent joined up Start for Life offer available to all families through the Family Hub network, detailed in the HM Government's , Family Hubs and Start for Life programme guide, to further collaborate and integrate services and improve the experience and outcomes for children and their families, recognising the needs of both children and adults
  • improve the access and equity of care in maternity and neonatal services by working together to deliver the LMNS 5-year Equity and Equality plan
  • develop a maternity specific Dorset Insight and Intelligence Service (DiiS) dashboard to allow us to have sight of trends and outcome data resulting in better monitoring of safety and outcomes in maternity
  • put the needs of children and their families first and ensure processes do not get in the way of providing good support, offering a graduated response to need – the right help, in the right place at the right time
  • improve the family journey and pathways of support between maternity services, health visiting and local authority services and strengthen the community wrap-around offer so parents are better prepared and held from pre-conception and the first 1001 days
  • develop local research and insights to better understand the needs of dads and male carers, learning from evidence and feedback from dads who have felt invisible to services. This will influence and inform how partners improve access, advice and support to dads and male carers, who can play a vital role in children’s development and wellbeing
  • work closely with and through Local Alliance Groups linked to the ‘Family Help’ priority, to understand place-based needs and approaches which can support the delivery of Best Start in Life priorities, ensuring these are informed by and responsive to local knowledge and insights
  • develop good practice guidelines and implement through partner organisations on the creation of child-friendly spaces and places and language rich environments. Complement with high quality, intuitive, information and advice for families in accessible formats
  • increase the scale and reach of evidence-based initiatives from pre-birth to five, which improve children’s foundations in development, confidence, and wellbeing, to be able to make a positive transition to school
  • continue to work with Early Years settings to ensure there is sufficient childcare available for children in Dorset for working families and those in education or training
  • create a movement and enthusiasm around the hashtag #U5Thrive, encouraging families to engage with the campaign, share what they are doing to inspire others and raise awareness of the need to ‘ready’ children for school
  • ensure children have timely access to support any emerging health needs
  • continue to improve, through partnership working, mobilising a new pathway for Children and Young People who have speech, communication and language needs. Ensuring timely access and responsive support



Our plan - Young and Thriving

Our aim 

We aim to set our young people up for success in adulthood so they are ready to work and live independently. We want all young people to be resilient and enjoy positive emotional well-being and mental health and to be cared for by their families.

We will support our young carers, addressing the challenges they face to provide opportunities to thrive. We will work across the partnership to support young people to stay out of the youth justice system through early identification and intervention.

This is important because 

Young people are concerned about how prepared they are for work and wider adult life. Young people want access to work experience and good careers advice, as well as wider personal development opportunities.

Preparing young people for adulthood has been a consistent theme of engagement with young people. As a corporate parent we want to ensure that we have done all we can to ensure that those leaving our care have the best possible start in life.

Feedback from young people has consistently highlighted the concerns they have about access to support around their emotional well-being and mental health, which has grown even more important since the pandemic.

There have been increasing numbers of children and young people presenting with more complex needs often associated with disordered eating alongside other emotional or neurodiversity needs. A general increase in anxiety and depression amongst young people has also been observed.

We know that the numbers of young people in Dorset who become involved with the criminal justice system is relatively low, nonetheless, for those that do, the impact on their lives can be significant.

It is important that we remain focused on different strands of this work, including prevention at scale, focused intervention with those on the periphery of crime and, effective interventions with those engaging in criminal activity, including those leaving custody.

Our Plan - Young and Thriving, where we are now

We know that there are a small proportion of young people that struggle as they progress through adolescence. This may be around their emotional well-being, poor behaviour in school, anti-social behaviour, poor attendance, and substance misuse.

Many of these young people go on to become NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training). We have brought the tracking and re-engagement support for young people who become NEET back in house and integrated this within our locality model and wider support.

However, there is more work to do to co-ordinate support and to identify those at risk of becoming NEET and intervening early.

We have strengthened our services for care leavers (young people that have experienced care) through the development of the ‘Care Leavers’ Delivery Group’.

This group has developed our ‘New Belongings Programme’ which improves our support to care leavers from keeping in touch with their family, supporting them to find suitable accommodation, access education, employment or training as well as supporting and signposting to appropriate health services.

We know that a small number of young people have issues accessing suitable accommodation and that only around 60% of care leavers are in education, employment, or training.

We know that many young people struggle to access support for emotional wellbeing and mental health. Historically, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services have been resourced to meet up to 35-40% of the population need.

This can disproportionately affect vulnerable young people. Whilst funding has been increasing over recent years there are still gaps in our provision. However, plans are in place to transform local services to meet 100% of the need.

Key developments include the introduction of Mental Health Support Teams in Schools as part of a national pilot and roll out. Currently, schools in North Dorset, Weymouth and Portland have access to these teams, with plans to increase this intervention into all schools.

In addition, there are a broad range of other support services which contribute to young people’s well-being, including provision commissioned by Children’s Services. However, work to ensure that these services are joined up to provide the right help at the right time and provide the right support into adulthood is required across the partnership.

We want our children and young people to be able to achieve their goals so that they are prepared for adult life and go on to successful futures. Our young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) do less well than their peers and are less likely to be able to access employment opportunities.

Parents and carers of children with SEND have told us that moving into adulthood can be a worrying time for them and that we could do more together to prepare our young people for a settled adulthood.

The Dorset Youth Justice Service has continued to make significant progress in supporting young people entering the youth justice system. Since 2020, Dorset young people received fewer substantive Out of Court Disposals (OOCDs), with Youth Cautions reduced by half and Youth Conditional Cautions by a third.

We want to maintain this momentum and remain focused on providing early help to children, young people and families. The Turnaround programme will provide a platform for delivering this, alongside our efforts to support those that do enter the youth justice system from re-entering it.


Our Plan - Young and Thriving, things we are going to do

Things we are going to do:

  • ensure young people receiving our services are involved in decisions about how we help them, where professionals listen to them and understand their rights and needs
  • develop a NEET Prevention Strategy to identify those at risk of becoming NEET and to wrap support around them
  • review post-16 provision alongside the wishes of young people and the wider skills needs for the local economy, to ensure the right opportunities are in place for our young people
  • publish a range of personal development opportunities through developing community-based volunteering opportunities, peer support, peer mentoring programmes and work with employers and businesses to improve their offer
  • support the provision of a wide range of positive activities for young people, including access to youth work and social action
  • develop a workforce plan to support the increase of youth workers across the county 
  • continue to support young people that have been in care to be ready for adulthood, by planning early and having a clear offer for Care Leavers. Those that leave our care will offer care leavers support with finding and sustaining work, including access to work experience and apprenticeships. We will support care leavers to stay put with their foster carers or to stay close to their residential provider
  • make sure young people have access to a wide range of support to promote their emotional well-being and address their mental health concerns
  • work in partnership across health and social care to transform local Child and Adolescent mental health provision to align with Dorset’s Locality Model (Thrive) to ensure there is a coherent, system wide approach to emotional wellbeing and mental health
  • further develop joint commissioning arrangements to ensure children and young people receive information on and have access to health and mental health services
  • implement our partnership Birth to Settled Adulthood Programme, which will ensure young people with additional needs are prepared for and supported into adulthood
  • prepare young people with SEND for settled adulthood through developing a range of employment options and support young people to develop the skills required for employment and independent living
  • develop a strategy to support our young carers which values and recognises their caring role while addressing the additional challenges they face, including the transition into adulthood


Our plan - Good Care Provision

Our aim 

Our aim is to keep our children close to home and to be the best corporate parents that we can be. Where we can, we want to support families to stay together, but where children and young people do need care, we want to make sure this is in family-based care where possible and that we support extended family networks to be able to raise their children.

We will actively seek out and work with a child’s direct and extended family and friends in considering the best forms of support.

We will prioritise loving relationships for all children in care and care leavers and ensure we have a wide range of care options in place locally by ensuring we have the right number, type and quality of foster carers, residential homes and accommodation.

Where children cannot return to birth family, we want to secure timely and successful permanence through adoption wherever this is assessed as the best plan for the child.

We want to reduce inequalities for children in care and care leavers ensuring we improve their health and wellbeing and are ambitious for them to achieve their potential, recognising the important foundation that stability and consistency of relationships with care providers gives.

In addition, we want to make sure that there are a range of short breaks available to support families with children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities to be able to continue to care for their children.

This is important because 

Children have a right to family life and family networks play an important role in supporting families and enabling children to stay together. If a child cannot be looked after by their immediate family, wider family and friends can also offer a safe, stable and loving alternative to moving in with a stranger.

Living with friends and family networks can offer a stable and permanent option for children and this can ensure that children maintain connections with people they love and their family, supporting a sense of belonging.

When family or friends cannot provide care then we must give them special protection and assistance. This includes making sure the child is provided with alternative care that respects the child’s culture, language, and religion.

Our ambition is that more of our children and young people, who need care, are cared for in Dorset. When a child or young person needs care, if they are closer to their home and community, the people and the services they already know will be able to continue to help them, this helps to ensure better outcomes for young people.

This also provides better value for the taxpayer as out of county placements can be more expensive and more difficult for our workforce to support.



Our plan - Good Care Provision, where we are now

Investment in an integrated model of support, our Harbour Service, is supporting more children and young people to stay with their families and as a result we are seeing fewer Dorset children and young people coming into our care and when they do come into our care, they do so in a planned way but we are experiencing an increase in numbers of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children requiring care through the mandatory National Transfer Scheme.

We have invested in, developed, and delivered increased capacity of our residential provision in Dorset, keeping more of our children and young people safe and near home in their communities.

We have invested in our Fostering Network and in the support we provide to our foster carers, including through the launch of our ‘Mockingbird Family model’: an evidence based model structured around the support and relationships an extended family provides. The model nurtures the relationships between children, young people and foster families supporting them to build a resilient and caring community.

However, we still do not have enough local foster carers to love, care and support our children and young people coming into care. This means too many of our children in care are still living more than 20 miles from home. We are also finding it increasingly difficult to find the right homes in Dorset for our unaccompanied children, who are much more likely to be placed outside of Dorset at significant distances.

The partnership is facing challenges in securing appropriate care, support and accommodation for some young people that have complex needs related to mental health, learning disability, autism, or challenging behaviours.

We have updated our housing protocol for care leavers and invested in new premises that will offer care leaver accommodation as our care leavers have told us that feeling safe and secure in their accommodation and having the right home, remains their top priority.


Our plan - Good Care Provision, things we are going to do

Things we are going to do:

  • expand the capacity of our successful Harbour outreach model delivered from our Weymouth Hub and develop a second Harbour outreach Hub in the east of the county
  • introduce new models of assessment and support for kinship carers and wider family networks to care for children
  • introduce new ways of working that strengthen family led decision making – creating a culture of ‘family first’
  • work with the Family Rights group and the local judiciary on new ways of working with families that may be involved in the family justice system through the ‘Reimagining Pre-proceedings’ project
  • continue to deliver a competitive and attractive foster carer offer
  • roll out further Mockingbird constellations
  • increase the number of local foster carers, particularly for teenagers and children with additional needs
  • develop a new model of care and support for unaccompanied children and young people that supports them to come to Dorset
  • develop a new model of care and support for children with complex needs
  • continue to support young people in the care system to have more stable placements and to remain or return to foster care where it is appropriate to do so
  • deliver our sufficiency strategy to ensure we have the right number of local foster carers and children’s homes and other provision to meet the rights and needs of our children and young people
  • ensure there is sufficient and good quality supported accommodation in the right locations to support the most vulnerable young people as they enter adulthood
  • support providers of supported accommodation to respond to the new regulations due to come into force in 2023
  • promote life-long links for children in care
  • embed and further improve our joint protocol between children’s services and housing to ensure that young people who are at risk of homelessness receive a robust response that is focused on the best outcomes for young people
  • further improve the therapeutic offer in Dorset so that children and young people who have experienced trauma get the help they need, when they need it
  • increase the number of short breaks opportunities which supports families and prevents unnecessary entry to care or hospital
  • ensure that all people involved in the lives of children in care and care leavers play a proactive part in Corporate Parenting, doing everything they can to help children and young people to have great outcomes
  • promote and support connected persons and kinship carers through the effective use of Family Group conferences and family network approaches
  • promote and support kinship carers to secure Special Guardianship Orders for children they are caring for, and post order, to improve the on-going support we provide to enable these arrangements to be sustained
  • deliver our Housing Strategy to support young people to not live in unsuitable accommodation or become homeless
  • develop a reunification strategy
  • consider adoption for all children who cannot return to birth family, and with our Regional Adoption Agency partner, recruit a sufficient number and range of prospective adopters to secure adoption for all who need it


Our plan - Best Education for All

Our aim

We aim to be an education community that delivers the best outcomes for our children and young people where they all feel welcome, safe and have a sense of belonging in their educational setting and in their community.

We want to make sure that our schools and settings are supported to deliver the best education possible and that our children achieve their full potential.

We want to improve the proportion of schools that are good or outstanding across the county; improve educational progress of all children; reduce the number of exclusions from school, improve school attendance through being inclusive and support children that are educated at home.

Where needed, we want to create a sustainable Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and Alternative Provision system that is easy for families to navigate and that supports children and young people with SEND to achieve great outcomes.

This is important because 

Our children have a right to good education and education is crucial for economic growth and a strong driver of social mobility. We want our children and young people in Dorset to have the best education in good or outstanding schools, that are aspirational for all children.

We want our education settings to ensure our children and young people experience a deep sense of belonging. We expect our children who are vulnerable and those that have special educational needs and disabilities to have the right support at the right time and are enabled to have a stable and settled education.

Education settings provide the ideal environment to deliver support to children and young people as they are flexible places in which a diverse range of interventions can be offered. They are safe spaces where children are likely to engage in new initiatives. We know that by optimising opportunities to work together as a wider partnership we will support our children and young people to have better outcomes..

Our plan - Best Education for All, where we are now

2022 has seen a broad improvement in relative terms against national comparators for educational attainment at primary level before Key Stage 2:

  • in the Early Years Foundation Stage 66% of children reached a good level of development (1% above national)
  • in Year 1 Phonics 78% achieved expected levels (3% above national)
  • in Key Stage 1 Reading 71% achieved the expected standard is (4% above national)

Key Stage 2 remains the priority. There have been relative improvements, but Dorset is still below national comparators for all subjects apart from reading. 55% of Dorset children achieved the expected standard in Reading, Writing and Maths, compared to 59% nationally.

At Key Stage 4, 68% of Dorset pupils achieved grade 4 or higher in English and Maths GCSEs, compared to 69% nationally, 45% achieved grade 5 or higher compared to 50% nationally.

Nationally primary outcomes have dropped considerably from 2019 when assessments were last collected. In most cases the drop in Dorset has not been as pronounced as elsewhere, however this has not been the case for all groups, with the gap between pupils eligible for Free School Meals and their peers widening.

Permanent exclusions decreased in 2020 – 2021, but have risen again in 2022/23. Worryingly, suspensions have also increased. Pupil attendance is a key priority and there has been an increase in the number of pupils who are absent from school.

99% of early years education settings are good or outstanding as are 83% of Dorset schools, compared to 88% nationally and whilst we have increased them, we still do not have enough specialist places for children with SEND.

We have established an Education Board which brings together key educational leaders in Dorset who have the passion and expertise across the education ecosystem to set a clear direction and a positive culture to support partners to deliver ambitious educational outcomes for all children and young people into adulthood.

Our children and young people have told us that they are concerned that current Personal Health Social Economic (PSHE) education offer does not meet their needs.


Our plan - Best Education for All, things we are going to do

Things we are going to do:

  • we will draw upon the experience and expertise around our partnerships and communities to develop and deliver PSHE curriculum that our children and young people want to learn about. This will include sharing information about their rights
  • we will implement the following strategies:
    • Attendance strategy
    • SEND Capital Strategy
    • Belonging Strategy
  • we will strengthen our education system from early years through to Post-16 provision and strong transitions will be key to ensuring every child receives the best possible education
  • we will work together as an education community to ensure that every child receives a positive learning experience and makes progress through the delivery of our:
    • Student Pledge
    • Workforce Pledge
    • Dorset Curriculum
  • we will promote Free School Meals to families and encourage those who are entitled to take up the offer
  • we will continue to support the development and delivery of more vocational education courses including T levels to provide more options for young people
  • we will work with employers through our Post 16 Skill Plan to support the Post-16 curriculum
  • we will implement the recommendations in the national Special Education Needs and Disabilities and Alternative provision Improvement Plan from HM Government



Our plan - Best Place to Live

Our aim

We aim to make Dorset the best place to grow up, live, work and visit. Our children and young people will live in thriving communities, where they are safe, learn, play and where all voices are valued and respected.

Our young people want to be able to get to and participate in positive activities and for us to work together, across the partnership, to actively protect the natural environment.

This is important because 

Our children and young people continue to provide us with feedback on the issues that are important to them, and we are committed, as a partnership to responding to these. They have told us that they aspire to live, learn, and grow in places where people are kind, honest and accountable and where they feel safe and belong.

Children have the right to be listened to in decisions which affect them. Young people have told us they want to be involved and we know that they both benefit individually from being involved but make extremely valuable contributions. They want to have opportunities to contribute to communities and make a difference on issues that are important to them.

Our children and young people want to have opportunities to get involved in positive activities in their schools and communities. We know that this will enrich their lives, build friendships, and develop interests and skills for the future. There is strong evidence that children and young people who grow up in places that meet their needs are resilient and able to manage challenges they encounter and succeed in adult life.

Every child has the right to relax, play and take part in a wide range of cultural and artistic activities. Children and young people want access to play opportunities, outside spaces and outdoor learning. They want to be able to safely travel around independently to activities and work using accessible footpaths, cycle-paths, and public transport.

Our young people have told us that it is important that the place they live is inclusive in all senses, where all young people are treated fairly, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, identity, or disability. They want to have equality of opportunity and outcomes.

Our children and young people are passionate about protecting the natural environment of Dorset and addressing climate change. They want to see more initiatives to address climate change and for adults to do as much as they can to make a difference.


Our plan - Best Place to Live, where we are now

There are a range of opportunities for young people to express their voice including:

  • School Council
  • Dorset Youth Council
  • Children in Care Council
  • Care Leavers’ Forum

We know that we need to do more to ensure greater representation and true co-production across all our services. Partners within the Strategic Alliance for Children and Young People are committed to co-production and in some cases have coproduction policies in place, we want to build on this.

We want to do more to identify where co-production and collaboration with young people has influenced decision making and make sure young people are aware of the impact of their involvement.

There are a wide range of positive activities available for our young people, but for some they are too difficult to get to or are not affordable. Our ‘Summer in Dorset’ and ‘Holiday Activity and Food’ programmes, provide a range of fun activities for children and young people.

Sadly, our young people do not always experience kindness or feel belonging in their communities. Some of our young people have told us that they have experienced bullying, discrimination or racism and we know that some young people experience poorer outcomes or have fewer opportunities than their peers living in other parts of the county.

Young people with physical disabilities have told us that they can miss out on accessing Dorset’s countryside and beaches and can find it difficult to get around. Our young people in rural areas can sometimes feel isolated as public transport options are limited. We know that having an accessible Dorset is important to all our children and young people.

Our young people are a huge asset to Dorset and are very committed to making Dorset a great place to live. 

Our plan - Best Place to Live, things we are going to do

Things we are going to do:

  • promote and expand on our ‘Accessibility strategy’ for children and young people to ensure accessibility and inclusivity are embedded in:
    • places and spaces
    • services and organisations they interact with
  • ensure that information on activities and opportunities for children and young people is easily accessible and promoted to young people using a range of appropriate media
  • work together and with wider partners to ensure there are a range of different places to go and things to do making use of schools and community spaces for children and young people including:
    • play spaces
    • arts, music, and sports activities
    • leisure and outdoor learning
    • physical activities
    • environmental and youth activities
  • provide a range of opportunities for young people to influence our strategic decision making including:
  • we will continue to involve young people in our recruitment and selection and implement a ‘Young Commissioners’ programme to ensure young people have a voice in the things that are important to them
  • work together to ensure that communities, services, and businesses are welcoming and inclusive places, where young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities can make friends and are included in community life
  • promote the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and ways of creating schools and communities that respect these rights
  • promote anti-discriminatory and anti-racist education and practices, listening carefully to and acting on the experiences of children and young people from Black and other minority communities in Dorset
  • work across our partnerships and in communities to ensure children and young people feel a warm welcome, where individuality and diversity are celebrated
  • advocate for ensuring that children and young people’s education, wellbeing and leisure needs are considered in any building and future housing developments
  • work with our colleagues to improve accessibility in the countryside and local beaches, increase cycle lanes and improve public transport
  • champion the use of green energy, reduction in waste, recycling, and reduction in the use of plastic and work to reduce carbon emissions from all our organisations
  • develop and deliver a Play Strategy

Our plan - Local Family Help

Our aim

We aim to deliver a whole system approach that strengthens families’ ability to care for and support their children with families receiving the right support at the right time so that children thrive within their families.

We will build on community assets that already exist and implement a model of multi-agency of service delivery delivered through a network of Family Hubs. We will bring together targeted Early Help and Child in Need into a single Family Help service delivered in our localities.

This is important because 

There is significant evidence that place-based approaches lead to positive outcomes for children by enabling people to come together to address complex health, social and economic issues, which no one individual or agency can solve alone.

We know that many organisations and professionals carry out similar activities in the same locations contributing to duplication and waste.

Some children are living in difficult family circumstances. Without early help, difficulties can get worse and children can be more at risk of suffering serious harm. There is strong evidence that systemic approaches to prevention and early help that focus on supporting the whole family, can do more to meet needs and reduce abuse and neglect than reactive services and this is most effective when local partners share accountability and coordinate services together.

Communities have many areas of strength, and building on these is important for improving outcomes for children and families. There is strong evidence that working with families and communities on issues that are important to them can improve engagement, ownership, and outcomes.

This type of approach enables relationships to grow and form, between children, families, and communities and with service providers and professionals working in the area and help develop solutions that are most likely to be effective for that place.

Our plan - Local Family Help, where we are now

Our integrated model for Children’s Services delivery, Dorset Children Thrive, has been embedded over the course of the 2020-23 plan. We have published our Early Help Strategy and embedded it into our localities.

We have a range of colleagues such as social workers, early help and education professionals all working together in locality areas to provide more holistic care and support to our children and families.

Children, young people, and families continue to tell us that they want to receive services from professionals that work together in a coordinated way.

Part of our Early Help model includes the development and delivery of the national ‘Family Hubs’ Programme, providing the type of high-quality early help that addresses the need of and supports the whole family, preventing problems from escalating.

We have collectively invested in early help and need to make sure that this is able to demonstrate impact and focused on where it is needed most. Across our partnership, professionals have adopted a ‘whole family’ approach and are confident in undertaking early help assessments.

We will continue to build on this and improve the quality of our offer and make sure that it is easy for children, families, and young people to know how to get help and empower them to help themselves.

Participation in the ‘Families First’ pathfinder offers an opportunity to further strengthen our approach and bring together targeted early help and children in need work to offer a seamless approach to families that support children to thrive.

Our Local Alliance Groups have provided a place for good local partnership working that builds on the strengths of communities and has put the rights of children at the heart of local plans and priorities.

Our plan - Local Family Help, things we are going to do

Things we are going to do:

  • continue to support and develop our partnership working through our Local Alliance Groups to understand local needs and develop local plans that make the most of collective resources and address issues that are important to local communities
  • delegate funding to Local Alliance Groups to deliver local solutions to meeting needs • Support partners in their Local Alliance Groups to lead the ‘Family Hubs’ Programme, championing the delivery of partnership early help
  • further develop opportunities to co-locate or integrate our services where this will improve child and family outcomes and value for money
  • work together in multi-professional teams to wrap the right support around children and families, starting from birth, taking a whole family approach
  • ensure local services, information, advice, and guidance is accessible and a blended offer of virtual, digital and face-to face
  • agree a shared approach to the delivery of Family Help across the system – with multi-disciplinary teams embedded in communities and tailored to local needs
  • implement a new approach to supporting parents experiencing parental conflict by working with the local judiciary in a ‘Private Law’ pathfinder project
  • reviewing the amount, and impact of, targeted early help delivered by all partnership organisations
  • develop the skills and knowledge of our shared workforce to equip them will the knowledge and skills required to undertake ‘Family Help’ work
  • publish more opportunities for children and young people to get involved in their communities and to develop the skills to create change on issues that are important to them
  • develop a ‘Community-based assets’ approach that recognises and amplifies the strengths and assets of local communities
  • ensure there is support available in universal and community services
  • implement the Prevention strand of the Dorset Combating Drugs Strategy


Our plan - Safe at Home and in the Community

Our aim 

Our aim is for Dorset’s children and young people to be safe and to feel safe at home and in their community.

This is important because 

We want Dorset to be the best place for our children and young people to live and grow up in. It will not feel like the best place to live for children and young people who are not or do not feel safe.

Although Dorset is a relatively safe area with low levels of crime, we know that not all young people feel safe in the area where they live, and we want to be able to improve this.

We are worried for small groups of young people that may be vulnerable to being exploited, sometimes because they have been excluded from school or because they have been targeted by organised criminal gangs through County Lines.

We need to do more to promote community safety and staying safe online and help communities and professionals be aware of and respond to risks early. We need to work together to adopt a contextual safeguarding approach that helps support the development of safe communities.

It is a human right for children to be safe. The United Nations Convention Rights Children Article 19 (protection from violence, abuse, and neglect) states that governments must do all they can to ensure that children are protected from all forms of violence, abuse, neglect and bad treatment by their parents or anyone else who looks after them.

Our plan - Safe at Home and in the Community, where we are now

Dorset, along with many other counties, has seen a rise in contextual-safeguarding concerns. We know that there are several active ‘County Lines’ into Dorset and, at a lower level, concern from communities about young people becoming involved in anti-social behaviour. Feeling safe is a high priority for young people.

We are developing a new Contextual Safeguarding and Extra Familial Harm strategy to replace our existing Child Exploitation strategy, which we will share across the partnership to ensure all children and young people in Dorset are safeguarded.

The new Contextual Safeguarding and Extra Familial Harm strategy will include a section on Transitional Safeguarding which we are developing as one of the key priorities in the development of the contextual safeguarding strategy.

We have launched the ‘Pineapple Project’ which offers community support and safety for women and girls in Weymouth. We have also launched the new ‘Safeguarding Families Together’ programme which will develop additional capacity, services, and community opportunities to support families providing the right support at the right time for them.


Our plan - Safe at Home and in the Community, things we are going to do

In relation to safety at home we will:

  • work collaboratively with families and the wider family and community network, through our locality model, to manage and reduce risk, focusing on support, and taking a more investigative approach only where required
  • routinely use family network decision making processes (Family Group Conferences or Family Network Meetings) through our early help, children in need, and child protection work
  • maintain a strong, robust, muti-agency ‘Front Door’ (System that receives the requests for early help and safeguarding from people who are worried and concerned for children)
  • maintain a strong child protection service across the partnership that is informed and improved by the learning from Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews locally and nationally and is staffed by well-trained professionals
  • learn from the Safeguarding Families Together practice model in Chesil, Dorchester and West Dorset to roll out an integrated model of family help and child protection across Dorset
  • maintain strong and effective governance of our work through the Pan-Dorset Safeguarding Children Partnership
  • adapt our services and delivery in line with the implementation of the ‘Stable Homes Built on Love’ strategy

In relation to safety in the community we will:

  • continue to develop and deliver a contextual safeguarding approach, recognising the importance of the relationships that young people form in their communities, schools, and online and the impact of these on their safety and wellbeing
  • work with the Police Safeguarding Hub and other partners to reduce and respond to young people missing incidents, and to understand the relationship between missing and harm and exploitation to inform our plans to protect young people
  • further develop and expand the Hidden Girls, Pineapple Project in Chesil to protect and promote the wellbeing of young women in that community
  • work with partners, community organisations and the community to create safe spaces and places for our children and young people
  • ensure all partners will support the police in disruption activity and to pursue and prosecute those causing harm to young people in the community
  • explore developing individual young person's Community Safety Plans
  • work to ensure our schools are safe places for our children and young people, free from bullying, and peer-on-peer harm
  • ensure the rights and needs of children and young people are at the heart of the work of the Community Safety Partnership
  • adapt our services and delivery in line with the Children’s Social Care Reforms

Appendix 1 - what we have achieved

Over the course of the 2020-23 Plan, the Partnership have reviewed progress and impact of the delivery plans against the priority areas.

We have published Annual Reports and met each quarter to ensure we’re making the best impact against these priorities.

We have improved services for children, young people, and families, evidenced by inspections across the partnership.

We have:

  • secured a ‘Good’ judgement for Dorset Council’s Children’s Services as detailed in the Inspection of Dorset local authority children’s services report 
  • secured a ‘Good’ judgement for our Combined Youth Justice Service as detailed on the Justice inspectorates website 
  • improved Police services for communities of Dorset
  • published and embedded our partnerships’ Early Help strategy to provide the right service at the right time for families
  • created a ‘Care Leavers’ Delivery Group’ to develop and deliver the ‘New Belongings’ delivery plan to improve outcomes for Care Leavers
  • refreshed our Joint Housing Protocol to ensure young people have access to suitable accommodation where required
  • established an ‘Education Board’ to lead on and co-ordinate inclusive education services and champion the rights of children and young people with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities
  • developed and launched our ‘Mockingbird’ programme to support and nurture fostering families
  • developed and launched the ‘Pineapple Project’ offering safe places and spaces for women and girls in Weymouth
  • commenced our ‘Safeguarding Families Together’ programme where teams of multi-disciplinary professionals wrap around children and families to provide support for the family, based on ‘whole family working’
  • published our ‘Accessibility Strategy’ which sets out our ambition to ensure all children and young people have equity in accessing the right services at the right time, accounting for their rights and needs
  • commenced our ‘PAUSE’ programme to reduce the number of women who have multiple children removed from their care through increased support and early intervention
  • improved and embedded information, advice and guidance to parents and carers in our SEND Local Offer and Family Information Services
  • developed a specialist support and advice line, Dorset Education Advice Line (DEAL) to provide information, advice and guidance to parents and carers wanting to understand how they can get the right support in education for their children and young people
  • partnered with ‘Dingley’s Promise’ to provide additional support for families with children and young people with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities
  • increased the number homes for our children and young people by building new children’s homes across Dorset to provide safe, nurturing homes for children and young people in our care that require temporary housing until a permanent, loving home and family can be arranged
  • purchased, created, and developed our ‘Dorset Centre of Excellence’, to offer more local special school places and secured additional funding for the creation of more
  • opened care leavers’ accommodation in Weymouth
  • enabled our Local Alliance Groups to co-ordinate the use of local ‘innovation funds’ to provide solutions to local priorities, meeting the needs of local communities
  • implemented a Dorset wide digital clinical maternity system (Badgernet) to provide seamless care across the county and extending to our neighbouring counties
  • implemented a maternity app allowing families to have access to their medical records and provide personalised care plans
  • established a Dorset wide LMNS safety group to share learning from serious incidents following the Ockenden report recommendations
  • commissioned Birth Rights training for Dorset maternity units to support women’s births choices during their pregnancy and birth
  • expanded Dorset Maternity Voices Partnership allowing us to hear the voices of women and families when redesigning services
  • co-produced, in partnership with ‘Realising Rights’, Dorset Council, York City Council and local partners, a ‘Rights Respecting’ approach to promote the rights of children and young people
  • worked with children and young people through ‘Dorset Youth Voice’ and other partners across the voluntary and community sector to hear, listen to and act upon feedback from children and young people in developing services across the partnership
  • partnered with ‘Coram’ to participate in their ‘Bright Spots’ programme, increasing the reach and depth of hearing feedback from children and young people
  • delivered support to families through the school holidays via our ‘Holiday, Activity and Food’ programme
  • successfully bid for additional funding to support new initiatives

Appendix 3 – Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

The following KPIs are some examples of the nationally benchmarkable measures we’ll use evidence the impact of the delivery of our plan. Our quarterly updates and Annual Reports will include additional local measures from across the partnership.

Best Start In Life:

  • infant Mortality rate per 1000 live births
  • low birth weight full term live births as a percentage of all full-term live births
  • percentage of children in reception year who are overweight or obese
  • percentage of 2, 3 and 4-year-old children benefitting from funded early education
  • percentage 2, 3 and 4-year old children benefitting from funded early education, in Good/Outstanding provider
  • under 18 conception Rates per 1000 girls (15-17)
  • prevalence of breastfeeding at 6-8 weeks
  • foundation Stage percentage achieving a good level of development
  • foundation Stage percentage achieving expected standard across all early learning goals

Young And Thriving:

  • first Time entrants to the Youth Justice System aged 10 -17
  • proportion of young offenders who re-offend (10–14-year-olds and 15–17- year-olds) 
  • reoffending rates
  • number of children in custody
  • percentage 16–17-year-olds that are not in education, employment or training (NEET) 
  • percentage 16–17-year-olds whose current activity, in relation to NEET, is not known
  • percentage Care leavers who were in not in education, training or employment

Good Care Provision:

  • percentage Care Leavers in suitable accommodation
  • number of approved foster places
  • proportion of children in kinship care arrangements
  • children in care receiving Health and Dental checks
  • percentage of Children in Care who have their immunisations up to date
  • percentage of children in care placed more than 20 miles from their homes, outside of Dorset
  • percentage Children in Care with three or more placements during the year

Best Education For All:

  • Key Stage 1 - Percentage of Pupils achieving Reading, Writing, Maths and Science - Expected Standard
  • Key Stage 1 Gaps
  • Key Stage 2 - Percentage in reading, writing and mathematics - Expected standard All Pupils
  • Key Stage 2 - Progress between age 7 and age 11 – Reading, Writing, Maths and Science
  • Key Stage 2 Gaps
  • Key Stage 4 - Average Progress 8 score per pupil
  • Key Stage 4 - Average Attainment 8 score per pupil
  • Key Stage 4 - Percentage of pupils achieving 9-5 pass in English and Maths
  • Key Stage 4 Gaps
  • Key Stage 5 - Average point score per entry A Level Cohort, Tech Level, Applied General Studies
  • Key Stage 5 Gaps
  • achievement of a Level 2 qualification by the age of 19
  • age 19 qualification gaps
  • school attendance
  • school exclusions
  • school suspensions
  • rate of children with Education Health and Care plans
  • Special Educational Needs Appeals - registered appeals per 10,000 of school population

Best Place To Live:

  • percentage of children in low-income families
  • rates of recycling
  • CO2 reduction across Dorset

Local Family Help:

  • number and rate of families receiving family help
  • number of Family Hubs
  • number of organisations engaged in the Family Hub network

Safe At Home And In The Community:

  • rate of referrals
  • rate of s47 investigations
  • rate of Child Protection Plans per 10,000
  • rate of Children in Care per 10,000
  • percentage of Children in Care that return home to live with parents or other person with parental responsibility part of the care plan
  • number of children at risk of exploitation




This plan was last reviewed in 2023.

The next review date is 2032.