Agenda Item No.
THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL
CABINET: 24TH MARCH, 2014
REFERENCE FROM SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (LIFELONG LEARNING): 17TH FEBRUARY, 2014
853 INDIVIDUAL SCHOOLS PROGRESS MEETINGS (CLSO) –
The Committee was provided with an update on the progress meeting at St. Cyres Comprehensive School that had been undertaken by a Panel of three Members of the Scrutiny Committee. The Chairman presented the report by advising that following the establishment of School Progress Panels a number of meetings had been held which would be reported to the Scrutiny Committee as appropriate.
The current report provided an update on the relevant issues and options in relation to the School Progress Panel meeting that had taken place at St. Cyres Comprehensive School. Following the GCSE results in 2013 concerns had been raised in relation to improvements for the future and minimum targets had been agreed between the school and Vale of Glamorgan Council officers. The purpose of the Panel meeting had been to establish that there were up to date and authoritative plans in place to address the concerns, to establish that the school had arrangements in place to monitor the impact of the plans, to amend them as appropriate, to establish what progress had been made and what further progress was required.
The Estyn Report of the school had judged standards to be adequate but on two key measures the school had fallen since the inspection.
At the Scrutiny Progress Panel meeting Members were informed of the progress that had been made to date in relation to the Post Inspection Action Plan ( PIAP) and in particular that the Callio Model for school attendance was being used to assist with increasing pupil attendance. The School's PIAP referred to 6 objectives as detailed below:
· Objective 1 - To raise standards and improve performance to all key stages in line with the mean of similar schools
· Objective 2 - To improve pupils attendance so that it meets the mean of the Family of Schools and is in the top half of schools with similar FSM entitlement i.e. to improve the school attendance to 94%.
· Objective 3 - To ensure that there is consistent and systematic whole school approach to the improvement of pupils literacy and numerous skills
· Objective 4 - To improve the quality of teaching and assessment
· Objective 5 - To strengthen leadership at all levels to provide more rigour and challenge to secure improvements in standards and quality teaching
· Objective 6 - To improve the rigour of self-evaluation and improvement planning particularly in analysing data.
The Headteacher was afforded the opportunity to provide a presentation to the Panel with specific reference to progress in relation to the above objectives. In referring to non-attendance in schools the Chairman advised that the Scrutiny Committee would be looking to debate the subject at a future Scrutiny meeting with a view to making recommendations to the Council's Cabinet. The Headteacher advised that he operated a zero tolerance approach for attendance which Members were aware was also operating in another school within the Vale.
Members noted that attendance had been taken seriously by the school with many initiatives being used to address non-attendance including the use of text messaging as a tool. The school also operated a reward system, where following the donation of a number of portable IT tablets, pupils had been praised for their attendance together with a prize draw taking place during the school year where the pupil with the highest attendance could receive a pc tablet. Raising the profile within the school had also been evident with Members referring to the use of banners and graphical information to apprise pupils, parents and visitors throughout the school of its importance.
In order to monitor and track pupil progress in the curriculum it was noted that there was currently no pan-Wales or Central South Consortium tracking system in place and that schools developed their own systems. The Headteacher provided the Panel with details of the current tracking system used at St. Cyres which was, namely, the Pixl initiative.
The Chairman stated that the Panel had also been informed that short term actions had already been identified at the school in order to address the performance improvement situation together with a number of initiatives as contained within the report.
Following the meeting the Panel had subsequently recommended that a Governor Task Group be established to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the Post Inspection Action Plan (PIAP) and to liaise with Heads of Faculty on initiatives for further improvement on Objective (1) this to be co-ordinated and managed by a named Deputy Headteacher. Although the Panel was pleased with the progress in relation to pupil attendance they stated that the system should continue to be monitored and tested. The Panel also acknowledged that work on Objective 3 was at an early stage with more work being required. In relation to Objective 4 the quality of teaching assessments deemed good or better showed a marked improvement, however, the Panel have also requested to receive evidence of external moderation.
In noting that the school was at an early stage of implementation of its PIAP, notwithstanding all the information presented and the discussions at the meeting, the Panel have also requested to receive regular updates on progress from the System Leader and Head of School Improvement and Inclusion.
The Panel’s overall conclusion was that it had a measure of confidence at this stage in the process that the PIAP would be implemented and the agreed minimum expectations would be met. However, the Panel would be monitoring progress through officers as indicated above and had advised that a planned future return meeting to the school would take place in the Autumn following the examination results.
The Head of School of Improvement and Inclusion advised the Scrutiny Committee that it was important to reiterate that she had a measure of confidence with regard to performance and the forthcoming examination results and that the school’s progress would be kept under close scrutiny. A full review of progress against the minimum expectations and implementation of the PIAP was key, as would be the work of the Governor Task Group, which would be monitored by officers from the Authority. The school had engaged in the challenge process and had expressed the willingness to engage. The process had also heightened accountability, but it was important to also note that actual evidence of improvements would be identified when the results were announced in August 2014.
In noting that the school was one of three schools that had received a formal warning letter from the Chief Learning and Skills Officer, and that there had been much focus on the August results, Members and officers had welcomed the level of seriousness the Headteacher and staff had given to the improvement agenda.
In conclusion the Chairman advised that he would recommend that all schools engaged a Committee of Governors from their Governing Body to monitor / address performance to drive up standards. Reference was then made to the current good work being undertaken at the Llantwit Major Comprehensive School with reports of the Governor Performance Group being reported back to the Governing Body. The Chairman also referred to the opportunity to encourage good practice to be shared, and stressed the need for Scrutiny Committee Members to also visit schools with excellent practice, following which it was subsequently
(1) T H A T the Scrutiny Panel findings as detailed in paragraphs 18 to 21 of the report be accepted.
(2) T H A T further reports, if appropriate, following the progress updates of the System Leader and Head of School Improvement and Inclusion be presented to the Scrutiny Committee.
(3) T H A T further reports be presented to Scrutiny Committee following the Panel’s revisit to the school in Autumn 2014.
(4) T H A T this report and the views of the Scrutiny Committee be referred to Cabinet for consideration and approval.
Reasons for recommendations
(1) To apprise Committee of the findings of the Scrutiny Panel.
(2) In recognition of the Scrutiny Panel’s intention to monitor.
(3) To monitor and follow up the recommendations of the Scrutiny Panel.
(4) For Cabinet consideration.
Attached as Appendix – Report to Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning): 17th February, 2014