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Agenda Item No. 4

 

 

THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL

 

LEARNING AND CULTURE SCRUTINY COMMITTEE: 18 JULY 2016

 

REFERENCE FROM CABINET: 4 JULY 2016

 

C3229                        CENTRAL SOUTH CONSORTIUM ESTYN REPORT (RE) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – LEARNING AND CULTURE) -

 

Cabinet was advised of the outcomes of Estyn's inspection of the Central South Consortium and the plans in place to address the recommendations.

 

In 2014 the five authorities in Central South Consortium launched ‘The Central South Wales Challenge’ which set out a school led strategy for improvement. This was designed to identify and support schools to lead improvement across the region, at a system level and at a school level. 

 

Estyn inspected the Consortium in February/March 2016 under their new framework for Consortia published the previous autumn. It was the first of the four consortia to be inspected and the remaining three would be inspected before the end of the summer term.

 

The inspection took two weeks and involved 9 inspectors.  More than 50 head teachers and governors were interviewed as were all Council Leaders and Cabinet Members, Chief Executives, Directors, S151 officers, the Senior team of the Consortium and many staff. The inspection was supported by a survey of all head teachers and governors, to which more than 50% of schools responded, which was undertaken in January.

 

The Estyn report attached at Appendix A to the report was published on 26 May, 2016 and it was expected that all consortia would be revisited against their recommendations from the autumn of 2017 onwards. The report made five judgements within its framework with a context section on performance and outcomes.  Against each areas the judgements were:

 

•           Quality of School Improvement Service: Adequate

•           Leadership: Good

•           Improving quality: Good

•           Strategic Partnerships: Good

•           Resource Management: Adequate

 

The report recognised a number of areas of strength in particular the increased consistency and quality of challenge advisers and categorisation processes, the clarity of vision and strategy within the self improving school system strategy work and the strength of engagement with head teachers and authorities, also the effective use of resources. 

 

There were four recommendations contained within the report:

 

•           Ensure that school improvement services address the variability of performance across schools and local authorities, particularly at key stage 4

•           Improve the accuracy of the evaluations of schools by challenge advisers in order to ensure a greater focus on improving teaching and leadership

•           Strengthen the procedures for monitoring and evaluating the impact of school improvement work

•           Evaluate progress against the regional consortium’s operational plans more effectively

 

Set out below is a summary of the actions in the CSC business plan against each of the recommendations. This referred to the more detailed plan attached at Annex B which set out specific actions currently in the CSC business plan and further actions to be added.  These plans would be used to evaluate and demonstrate progress against the recommendations in a future Estyn revisit.  Progress would be monitored monthly with reports to the Advisory Board and Joint Committee each term.  The Vale's Learning and Culture Scrutiny Committee would also receive an annual report which would focus on progress in relation to the recommendations.

 

Recommendation

What were we doing?

Impact measurement

R1 Ensure that school improvement services address the variability of   performance across schools and local authorities, particularly at key stage 4

 

Reviewed our approach to secondary support with a tight focus on   impact and risks in the coming year, this included:

Delivering subject specific support for schools to improve leadership   of teaching, with a focus on vulnerable children and particularly boys;

Supported the implementation of new qualifications and performance   measures in the coming year and reviewing risks;

Sharpened the impact of our support strategies particularly leadership   support at secondary level with a    focus on reducing variability;

Tightened our approach to intervention in secondary schools with a focus on effective brokered support   from other schools. 

 

Improve the proportion of secondary schools achieving good or better   outcomes for standards in inspection to above the national average;

Reduce the variability in outcomes particularly for vulnerable groups   across the region increasing particularly efsm boys outcomes more rapidly   than national averages. 

Reduce to zero schools entering SM or SI categories and reduce   secondary schools in red and amber categories.

R2 Improve the accuracy of the evaluations of schools by challenge   advisers in order to ensure a greater focus on improving teaching and   leadership

 

Reviewed the challenge and support framework with a view to sharper   reporting, enhanced management and QA and increased capacity to effect   improvement by challenge advisers in time and flexibility allocations. 

Correlation of pre inspection and post inspection reporting   demonstrates increased alignment particularly at secondary level. 

 

R3 Strengthen the procedures for monitoring and evaluating the impact   of school improvement work

 

Delivered the research and evaluation strategy, supported by   researchers from Cardiff University to evaluate the impact and VfM of our key   strategies reporting termly to Advisory Board.

 

School to school strategies clearly demonstrate consistent improvement   in capacity across the region including in successful applications for   leadership. Evidence clear of impact in termly reports including surveys.

R4 Evaluate progress against the regional consortium’s operational   plans more effectively.

 

The report noted a tighter process for operational planning in   2016/17. We would continue with this in year.

Effective in year self-   evaluation processes demonstrate progress against business plan and identify   risks and slippage rapidly.

 

Following the inspection, stakeholders and Directors in the region carried out a stocktake to review progress and to identify further areas where focus was needed.  These included:

 

•           A need for a focus on succession planning, recruitment of core subject staffing and leadership capacity in the region;

•           A focus on developing pedagogy and joint practice development at teacher level through school to school working;

•           A focus on engagement in particular with teachers, governors and elected Members about the role of the consortium and impact of school to school working;

•           A focus on consistent intervention and a sharp response to schools which did not make sufficiently rapid progress;

•           A need to review the role of challenge advisers with a view to increasing impact and sharpening reporting;

•           A need to engage with pace on national strategies and agendas in the region in a way that builds capacity and streamlines change management.

 

The plan attached at Appendix B to the report set out what was already being done in these areas and additional areas where the business plan would be amended.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

Cabinet, having considered the report and all the issues and implications contained therein

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)       T H A T the contents of the inspection report and the plans in place to address the recommendations be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the inspection report be referred to the Scrutiny Committee (Learning and Culture) for consideration.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)       The work of the Central South Consortium plays a vital role in the delivery of the Council's statutory responsibilities in relation to schools.  Following the earlier thematic review this is the first inspection of the Consortium and provides an evaluation of the work of the Consortium and recommendations for future action.

 

(2)       The Scrutiny Committee would need to consider the contents of the report and the plans to address the recommendations to inform its scrutiny of the work of the Consortium.

 

 

Attached as Appendix – Report to Cabinet – 4 July 2016

 

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