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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee [Lifelong Learning]: 10th September 2012

 

Report of the Managing Director

 

Summary of Bryn Hafren Comprehensive School Inspection Report: Summer Term 2012

Purpose of the Report

1.             To update Members on the results of school inspections under the new Framework, for the Summer Term 2012

Recommendation

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

Reasons for the Recommendation

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

2.             To inform Members about the work of schools in the Authority.

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.

4.             An overview of the CIF is outlined in Appendix 1.

Relevant Issues and Options

5.             Bryn Hafren Comprehensive School was inspected during the summer Term 2012

6.             Bryn Hafren was awarded the following grades:

  • Overall Performance - Adequate
  • Capacity to Improve - Good.

A summary of the inspection findings are appended to this report See Appendix 2.

 

7.             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.

8.             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.

Follow-up activity

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

10.        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.

The inspection report

11.        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.

12.        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:

About the school

13.        Summary

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

Recommendations

Main findings

14.        Key Question 1: How good are outcomes?

  • standards
  • wellbeing

15.        Key Question 2: How good is provision?

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

16.        Key Question 3: How good are leadership and management?

  • leadership
  • improving quality
  • partnership working
  • resource management

17.        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
  • Good
  • Adequate
  • Unsatisfactory

18.        The ten quality indicators used in inspections are set out above, under the three key questions. For each quality indicator, there is a range of aspects.

19.        Inspectors provide an overall evaluation of all key questions and quality indicators and comment on all aspects.

20.        Overall judgement on the school’s current performance

  • The first overall judgement should be based on the judgements made on the three key questions. The greatest weight should be given to the judgement about Key Question 1.

21.        Overall judgement on the school’s prospects for improvement

  • The second overall judgement represents inspectors' confidence in the school's ability to drive its own improvement in the future.

22.        In coming to a judgement about the prospects for improvement, inspectors will consider whether leaders and managers have:

  • the capacity and capability to make improvements and implement plans;
  • a successful track record in managing change, addressing recommendations from previous inspections and securing improvement;
  • clear priorities and challenging targets for improvement;
  • coherent and practical plans to meet targets;
  • resources to meet the identified priorities; and
  • appropriate systems to review progress, identify areas for improvement and take effective action to remedy them.

23.        The judgement on prospects for improvement should normally relate closely to the overall judgements for the quality indicators for leadership and/or improving quality, or to significant aspects within those quality indicators that support the overall judgement.

24.        The following descriptions are intended as guidance only to make judgements by considering the relative balance and significance of strengths and areas for improvement:

  • 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

25.        Inspectors will need to check which of the above descriptors is the best fit for each of the summary judgements, key questions and quality indicators.

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

27.        There are five types of follow-up activity:

  • Excellent practice case study
  • Local authority monitoring
  • Estyn monitoring visit
  • Significant Improvement
  • Special Measures

28.        The first follow-up activity involves action by the school to produce an excellent practice case study for dissemination by Estyn.

29.        The second involves a report to Estyn from the relevant local authority.

30.        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.

31.        The last three categories involve visits from Estyn inspectors.

32.        Apart from the excellent practice case study, follow-up activity involves increasing levels of intervention in proportion to need.

33.        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 again, 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.

34.        The last two follow-up activities are formal categories that apply to schools causing concern as defined by the Education Act 2005 and any associated circulars.

35.        The Minister for Children, Education and Lifelong Learning and Assembly officers will be informed when schools are placed in these categories and kept informed, following monitoring inspections by Estyn, of subsequent progress as required by the legislation.

36.        The statutory basis for identifying schools causing concern:

  • The definition of a school in need of special measures is in section 44 of the Education Act 2005. Section 44 (1) states:
  • For the purposes of the Part, special measures are required to be taken in relation to a school if:
  • the school is failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education, and
  • the persons responsible for leading, managing, or governing the school are not demonstrating the capacity to secure the necessary improvement in the school.

37.        The definition of a school in need of significant improvement is in section 44 of the Education Act 2005. Section 44 (2) states:

38.        For the purposes of this Part, a school requires significant improvement if, although not falling within subsection (1)2 it is performing significantly less well than it might in all the circumstances reasonably be expected to perform.

39.        For schools placed in the last two follow-up categories, the local Authority has a duty to ensure that the Governors of the school produces an effective improvement plan, directly supports the school to achieve objectives against the recommendations, provide detailed interim progress reports to Estyn and works with Estyn during follow-up visits to determine whether or not the school has made satisfactory progress.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

40.        Follow-up activity for schools placed in a category will need significant resource to improve them.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

41.        None

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

42.        None.

Crime and Disorder Implications

43.        None.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

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

Corporate/Service Objectives

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

46.        This report supports the objectives listed in the Service Plan for School Improvement 2011/12.

Policy Framework and Budget

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

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

48.        Not applicable.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

49.        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

John Comissiong, Estyn Inspector and Numeracy Adviser for School Improvement Service

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

Responsible Officer:

Sian Davies, Managing Director, Vale Council

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