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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 18 November, 2013

 

Report of the Cabinet Member for Children's Services

 

School Performance Report for the end of Key Stages 4 and 5

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To inform members of school performance in external examinations in 2013 and processes in place to further improve performance.

Recommendations

1.         That members note the attainment at KS4 and KS5 in 2013.

2.         Members note that in accordance with the School Standards and Organisation Act (2013) formal warning letters have been issued to Llantwit, St Cyres and Barry Comprehensive Schools.

3.         That Cabinet request Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) to set up individual school progress meetings with St Cyres, Bryn Hafren and Barry Comprehensive Schools.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To ensure that members are aware of the performance of schools and the processes in place to improve performance.

2.         To assure members that they are acting in accordance with the School Standards and Organisation Act (2013).

3.         To ensure processes are in place to hold schools to account for the quality of education provided.

Background

2.         The Vale of Glamorgan is advantaged in terms of socio-economic deprivation.  Our ambition is that educational outcomes are the best in Wales and match those of the most successful authorities in England with similar socioeconomic profiles.

3.         External GCSE examinations are undertaken by pupils at the end of Key Stage 4, in the core subjects of English, Maths and Science as well as in the non-core subjects.  A levels are undertaken at the end of Key Stage 5.

4.         This report outlines performance for the measures as follows:

·           the Core Subject Indicator (CSI); those pupils attaining a GCSE A* - C in the core subjects of English, Maths and Science:

·           Level 1 Threshold; proportion of pupils attaining 5 x GCSEs A* to G

·           Level 2 Threshold; proportion of pupils attaining 5 x GCSEs A* to C

·           Level 2+ Threshold; proportion of pupils attaining 5 x GCSEs A* to C including English and Maths.  This is the government's preferred measure of educational attainment.

·           English GCSE Level 2; the proportion of pupils attaining English GCSE A* to C

·           Maths GCSE Level 2; the proportion of pupils attaining Maths GCSE A* to C

·           Science Level 2; the proportion of pupils attaining Science GCSE A* to C

·           A Level; the level 3 indicator measures the proportion of pupils attaining 2 or more A levels A - C.

5.         This report uses provisional data and comparative benchmarking information only.

Relevant Issues and Options

6.         Appendix 1 provides the overview of results;  whilst performance in Maths GCSE Level 2 and Science GCSE Level 2, Level 1 and 2 threshold has increased on 2012, performance in English GCSE Level 2/Welsh, the Level 2+ threshold and the CSI has decreased.

7.         Appendix 2 compares performance with Wales; performance in the Vale, for the L2+ threshold has decreased by 0.8% points to 54.5%, the CSI by 5% and the English/Welsh GCSE Level 2 by 1.2%.

8.         The decline in the Level 2+ threshold over the last three years is a particular concern and one that is being addressed with individual schools.

9.         Appendix 3 provides the performance for individual schools in the Vale of Glamorgan (provisional data only).  This demonstrates some significant gains and reductions; namely, performance gains in Bro Morgannwg, Stanwell and early indications of improvement in certain areas in Bryn Hafren and Llantwit.  Performance reductions are seen in Barry Comprehensive and St Richard Gwyn, coupled with decreases in certain areas in Cowbridge and St Cyres.

10.      Of particular concern is the decrease in performance in English GCSE and Maths GCSE Level 2 in Barry Comprehensive and St Richard Gwyn, along with the flat lining of both subjects in Llantwit and St Cyres (Maths flat-lined, decrease in English).

11.      Appendix 4 provides high level GCSE comparative information with Wales.  This reflects the individual school performance in Appendix 3.

12.      Appendix 5a shows the school level A Level profile; most schools showing an increase in the Level 3 with the exception of Barry Comprehensive.

13.      Appendix 5b shows A and AS level performance profile set against the all Wales means; grade proportions for AS levels show an increase across the board.

14.      A Level performance at A* saw an increase (1%) whilst proportions at grade A and A* to C observed a decrease of -1.4% and -2% respectively.

15.      The first steps in, in-formal and formal statutory intervention have been undertaken with identified schools.

16.      The Directorate has worked with individual schools to agree a set of minimum performance expectations for 2014 for English GCSE and Maths GCSE Level 2 threshold.

17.      In accordance with the School Standards and Organisation Act (2013) formal warning letters have been issued to Llantwit, St Cyres and Barry Comprehensive School.

18.      Pre-warning letters have been issued to Bryn Hafren and St Richard Gwyn. The content of all letters clearly set out the Council's expectations and ambition for the school and its pupils.

19.      At Cabinet's request Lifelong Learning Scrutiny Committee established a panel earlier this year to undertake school progress meetings: a meeting has taken place with Llantwit Major Comprehensive School.  The Scrutiny Committee plans to reconvene this meeting.  It is now suggested that similar panels are convened for St Cyres, Bryn Hafren and Barry Comprehensive Schools.

20.      The regional Joint Education Service (JES) will deliver the Council's statutory school improvement functions of challenge, monitoring and intervention.  The Council will work closely with the JES to monitor individual school progress.

21.      Scrutiny [Lifelong Learning] Committee considered the report at their meeting on 11th November.  An addendum will be provided to Cabinet on 18th November detailing the comments of the Committee.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

22.      The local Authority's retained elements of the School Effectiveness Grant (SEG) will be used to fund support. The Council's financial contribution to the Joint Education Service will ensure schools are effectively monitored, challenged to improve, supported and provide intervention if required.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

23.      High levels of pupil attainment underpin a sustainable economy.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

24.      End of Key Stage Assessment a statutory obligation.

Crime and Disorder Implications

25.      There are no crime and disorder implications.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

26.      There are no equal opportunity implications.

Corporate/Service Objectives

27.      Improving outcomes and wellbeing for all learners.

Policy Framework and Budget

28.      The recommendations in this report are within the existing policy framework and budget.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

29.      Not applicable.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

30.      Lifelong Learning.

Background Papers

Estyn common inspection framework for schools

Contact Officer

Lynette Jones, Head of School Improvement and Inclusion

 

Officers Consulted

Meryl Plummer, Lead Officer for School Improvement Service

 

Responsible Officer:

Jennifer Hill, Chief Learning and Skills Officer

 

 

 

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