Perth and Kinross: Children, Young People and Families

Key Facts

  • Children and young people aged 0-14 account for 15% of our population.
  • In 2016, 17% of births were to non-UK born mothers, the same as the Scottish average.
  • The majority of children, 80%, meet all their developmental milestones at their 27-30 month assessment. The minority of children who do not meet all their developmental milestones are mainly from disadvantaged backgrounds.
  • 600 hours of early learning and childcare is available to all.
  • In 2015/16, 77.6% of children in primary 1 (P1) were a healthy weight. For those children who were not a healthy weight, 21.9% were at risk of being overweight and obese and 0.5% were at risk of being underweight.
  • In 2015, the majority (73%) of children in P1, were considered ‘low risk’ with ‘No obvious tooth decay experience’; in primary 7 (P7) this percentage reduces to 72%. Both of these figures are better than the Scottish average.
  • In 2016/17, the majority of P1, P4 and P7 pupils were making very good progress in reading, writing, maths, listening and talking.
  • Estimates of children in poverty, after housing costs, vary across the area from almost in 1 in 4 children in Perth City, to around 1 in 8 across more rural areas. Overall for Perth and Kinross the figure is 1 in 5 children. Around 1 in every 10 working-age households is in receipt of some form of (nonuniversal) state benefit.
  • The percentage of women who smoke during pregnancy (17.6%) is similar to the Scottish average (17.3%).
  • The rate of stillbirths locally is 3.9 per 1,000 total births. This is higher that the Scottish average of 2.7 per 1,000 total births.
  • The number of Looked After Children (LAC) in Perth and Kinross has grown steadily over the last six years.
  • 95% of young people leave school to go to an initial positive destination.
  • The poverty-related attainment gap widens as children progress through school.

Early Years

Over the past decade, the partnership have shifted their focus and investment to further enhance services for children in their early years and their families, recognising the significant role of parents and carers in providing sustainable support to their children.

This approach is underpinned by the commitment made through Evidence2Success to increase the investment of resources in prevention and early intervention. In the past year in Perth and Kinross we have seen:

  • an increasing number of parents have engaged in programmes to enhance their relationship with and management of their children;
  • more children have benefited from attending Strong Start 2 provision; and
  • enhanced targeting of support has enabled earlier identification of concerns and provision of interventions to improve children’s developmental outcomes.

Working closely with NHS Tayside, we take an integrated approach to the provision of support to the pre-5 years population. This includes delivering services to improve the parenting capacity of families experiencing specific vulnerabilities and supporting an expansion of Infant Massage classes for families with babies under 6-months. Over 150 babies have benefited from their parent or carer attending three or more sessions of an Infant Massage course in the past year. 6 The Incredible Years Pre-School Parenting Programme helps parents of children who are displaying challenging behaviours to manage these behaviours more proactively, which improves their child’s readiness for school and ability to manage social situations in the future. Monitoring of the last three cohorts of groups identified that 82% of children had an improved behaviour score at the end of the groups, and included a significant group of children for whom their behaviour had improved to the extent of being in the normal range.

The Evidence2Success (E2S) programme is aimed at improving outcomes for children and young people across Perth and Kinross, increasing community empowerment and embedding the use of data and research in planning, resourcing and implementing services. It aims to increase the use of evidence-based programmes to deliver improvement in the prioritised outcomes agreed by the Community Planning Partnership. The Incredible Years Pre-school Parenting Programme and the Strengthening Families Programme are programmes to support families. By working with parents and their 10-11 year-olds together, the Strengthening Families programme (SFP) is reducing the likelihood of future risk-taking behaviour by young people, building young people and parent’s levels of resilience and improving parenting capacity.

The focus on family learning has been further developed and used to support how we address some of the challenges that can impede children and young people having good outcomes, such as improving healthy family nutrition. This is being delivered through a range of ‘Cook-It’ groups which engage groups of families in cooking healthy meals together and a Food, Family, Fun programme.

The focus on improving emotional wellbeing instigated through Evidence2Success has included the development of a Perth and Kinross Emotional Wellbeing Collaborative (EWC). This initiative draws together organisations from all sectors of the Community Planning Partnership (CPP) to work together to use an evidence-based approach to develop how young people are supported to have better emotional wellbeing. Over recent years significant focus and investment has gone into the roll out of the Bounce Back Programme in primary schools.

Looked After Children

The numbers of looked after children and young people have continued to grow year on year, and at 31 July 2016 we experienced a 12% increase from 31 July 2015. This brings challenges in terms of workload and professional social worker capacity in providing high quality, local family-based care to meet their individual needs. The increased demand for high quality local foster carers, family-based respite carers and supported lodgings is being addressed through a recruitment campaign.


Giving children the best start in life is a key partnership objective, as a child’s upbringing is a key factor in relation to their outcomes later in life. There are many community groups and services in Perth which aim to support children and families. Most can be found in the Local Family Information Directory.


Fairness Commission

The Fairness Commission found that around 1 in 5 children in P&K live in poverty. The majority of these children live in a family where at least one adult works. They also found that 1 in 5 children in P&K do not meet their development milestones at their 27-30 month review. This gap in attainment widens as children get older. A key issue in P&K is that troubled families are engaged with by many different services, which can cause confusion.

Later in life, the commission found that a wide range of learning opportunities are available; however these lack flexibility in the choice of vocational and academic subjects. Other concerns included the cost of the school day; the strain associated with holiday periods; and equal access to work experience. The commission also identified Looked after Children as a specific group whose needs could be better met, particularly with regard to transition stages in life.