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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning): 25th June 2012

 

Report of the Chief Executive

 

Summary of School Inspection Reports for the Spring Term 2012

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To up-date members on the results of school inspections under the new Framework, for the Spring Term 2012

Recommendations

1.             That members note the report and consider the nature of any follow up activity required.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.             To develop a shared understanding about the outcomes of school inspections, according to the new arrangements.

Background

2.             In September 2010 the new Estyn School Inspection Common Inspection Framework (CIF) was introduced across all schools in Wales.

3.             The new CIF introduces some significant changes:

  • only three Key Questions instead of seven;
  • two new overarching judgements;
  • more specific reference to the need to promote learner wellbeing in parallel with standards;
  • more specific reference for practitioners and school leaders to work with others to secure best practice and hence school improvement.

Relevant Issues and Options

4.             The following schools were inspected during the Spring Term 2012: High Street Primary School, St David's Primary School, Cogan Primary School and Llangan Primary School.

A summary of the inspection findings are appended to this report. (See Appendix 1, 2, 3 and 4 respectively).

5.             The purposes of inspection are to:

  • provide accountability to the users of services and other stakeholders through public reporting on providers;
  • promote improvement in education and training; and
  • inform the development of national policy by Welsh Assembly Government.

6.             School inspections are governed by the Education Act 2005 and related regulations. Inspections must be conducted by teams of inspectors, led by a HMI, additional inspector or registered inspector, and must result in a written report. Section 28 of the Education Act 2005, says that inspectors must report on:

  • the educational standards achieved by the school;
  • the quality of education provided by the school;
  • how far education meets the needs of the range of pupils at the school;
  • the quality of leadership in and management of the school, including whether the financial resources are managed efficiently;
  • the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils at the school; and
  • the contribution of the school to the wellbeing of pupils.

7.             During all core inspections, the inspection team will consider whether the school needs any follow-up activity.

8.             When conducting school inspections, the main forms of evidence considered are:

  • briefings from local authorities;
  • documentary evidence, including data on pupils' performance and progress;
  • observation of teaching or training sessions and other activities;
  • samples of pupils' work;
  • the views of pupils and stakeholders; and
  • discussion with staff, leaders and managers, governors and others.

9.             The reporting inspector is responsible for producing a final inspection report that is clear to a lay audience and helpful to the school. In most cases, the main body of the report will be no longer than five pages.

10.        The structure of the inspection report is based on two overall summary judgements, three key questions and ten quality indicators and will take the following form:

Summary

  • overall judgement on the school's current performance
  • overall judgement on the school's prospects for improvement

Main findings

Key Question 1: How good are outcomes?

  • standards
  • wellbeing

Key Question 2: How good is provision?

  • learning experiences
  • teaching
  • care, support and guidance
  • learning environment

Key Question 3: How good are leadership and management?

  • leadership
  • improving quality   
  • partnership working
  • resource management

11.        The two overall summary judgements and the judgements for the three key questions and the ten quality indicators will be based on a 4-point scale:

  • Excellent – Many strengths, including significant examples of sector-leading practice
  • Good – Many strengths and no important areas requiring significant improvement
  • Adequate – Strengths outweigh areas for improvement
  • Unsatisfactory – Important areas for improvement outweigh strengths

2.             The overall judgements achieved by Vale of Glamorgan Schools which were inspected were as follows:

School

                           Overall Judgement

 

Current Performance

Prospects for Improvement

High St Primary School

Good

Good

St David's Church in Wales Primary School (placed in Estyn Follow-up category)

Adequate

Adequate

Cogan Primary School

Good

Good

Llangan Primary School

Good

Good

 

 

 

       

 

 

12.        For those schools requiring local Authority monitoring, there is an expectation that the local Authority works closely with the school to help devise and deliver its improvement plan to improve the school within a specified timeframe which, for schools placed in the category of local Authority monitoring, is usually one year. After which time there is an expectation that the local Authority provides evidence to inform Estyn's judgements about whether or not they feel the school has made satisfactory progress against the recommendations. Interim progress reports devised by the local Authority will be required by Estyn.

13.        St David's Church in Wales Primary School has been placed in an Estyn follow up category.

14.        However, a substantive Headteacher is now in place, the post inspection action plan produced and supportive work to address the recommendations has commenced.

15.        For those schools requiring Estyn follow-up, there is an expectation that the local Authority works closely with the school to help devise and deliver its improvement plan to within a timescale of normally one year. After which time Estyn will request to visit the school, with an officer from the local Authority, to judge whether or not the school has made satisfactory progress and addressed the recommendations to a satisfactory level. Interim progress reports, devised by the local Authority, will be required by Estyn. Half termly progress reports will also be provided to cabinet and Lifelong Learning Scrutiny Committee.

16.        Whilst the responsibility for producing the Action Plan rests with schools, the Authority also has a number of key responsibilities.  These include:-

  • approval of the action plan, ensuring that the plan is comprehensive;
  • ensuring that any issues identified by Estyn relating to the Local Authority are addressed;
  • ensuring that delivery of the action plan is monitored through advisor visits to schools; and
  • supporting schools to raise standards through identification and sharing of good practice.

17.        In all instances the Directorate of Learning and Development will work with Governors to ensure an effective and robust action plan is developed to build upon areas of strengths and to address any identified shortcomings.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

18.        Follow-up activity for schools placed in a category will be resourced through the School Improvement Service.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

19.        None.

Crime and Disorder Implications

20.        None.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

21.        Welsh medium schools undergo school inspections by Estyn according to the same Common Inspection Framework, but through the medium of Welsh.

Corporate/Service Objectives

22.        This report supports the Council's corporate objectives for Education and Lifelong Learning and the priorities identified in Education 2015.

23.        This report supports the objectives listed in the Service Plan for School Improvement 2012/13.

Policy Framework and Budget

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

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

25.        Not applicable.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

26.        Lifelong Learning

Background Papers

Estyn Inspection Guidance Reports September 2010

Contact Officer

Lynette Jones

Head of School Improvement

Officers Consulted

Jane Mc Carthy, Estyn Inspector and Literacy Adviser for School Improvement Service

Jendy Hillier, Estyn Inspector and Strategy Team leader for Curriculum Development, School Improvement Service

Responsible Officer:

John Maitland-Evans

Chief Executive