Agenda Item No


The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning): 10th December 2012


Report of the Chief Learning and Skills Officer


School Performance Report for the Level 2 inclusive, end of Key Stage 4 (provisional data only)


Purpose of the Report

1.             To update members on school performance in 2012.


1.             That Members consider school performance.

2.             That Members refer the report together with any comments to Cabinet.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.             To ensure that Members are aware of the performance in schools.

2.             To ensure that Cabinet are aware of the performance of schools and raise any issues.


2.             In general, the Vale of Glamorgan is advantaged in terms of socio-economic deprivation.

3.             The proportion of pupils entitled to receive free school meals is used as a proxy indicator of socio-economic deprivation. In 2010-11, the Vale ranked 4th lowest overall for the proportion of pupils entitled to receive free school meals (3rd lowest at primary level & 5th lowest at secondary level) i.e. it is relatively advantaged.

4.             These findings indicate that the aggregated performance of Vale schools should be significantly higher than for Wales as a whole and generally rank in the 5 highest performing authorities.

5.             Statutory Teacher Assessment (TA) is administered at the end of the Foundation Phase,  Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 when pupils are aged 7, 11 and 14 years old respectively.

6.             External examinations are undertaken by pupils at the end of Key Stage 4, namely, GCSEs in the core subjects of English, Maths and Science as well as in the non-core subjects.

7.             This report outlines performance for one performance measure only, namely, the Level 2 inclusive.

8.             The Level 2 inclusive is the performance indicator which measures achievement in a volume of learning equivalent to 5 GCSEs at grades A* -C and which must include a GCSE in both English/Welsh and Mathematics.

9.             However, it needs to be noted that this report uses provisional data only and a further report will be brought to this committee as soon as all Key Stage 4 data is finalised early in the New Year.

10.        The Level 2 inclusive is increasingly being promoted nationally, as the major performance measure at the end of Key Stage 4.

11.        It is these results that are used, along with other data including free school meals, in the Welsh Government calculation for school banding.

12.        However, there are a range of other performance measures gathered at the end of Key Stage 4 which, once confirmed, will be reported in a separate paper in the New Year.

Relevant Issues and Options

13.        Appendix 1 provides the results for the Level 2 inclusive for each local authority in Wales in 2012.

14.        The Vale's results are above the Welsh average and are ranked fifth.  This information also shows a 1.1% increase in the Level 2 inclusive over the last three years for the Vale of Glamorgan.

15.        Appendix 2 provides the results for individual schools in the Vale of Glamorgan (provisional data).  This information shows some marked decreases, as well as some marked increases in performance in the Level 2 inclusive, for certain schools.

16.        Appendix 3 provides more detailed comparative information up to 2011 only. A report showing comparisons with other local authorities will be presented to this committee when the data is finalised in the New Year.

17.        Whilst the results remain relatively good in many respects and some schools are making accelerated progress, the performance trend and the performance of some schools required rapid improvement.

18.        Further performance analysis has been undertaken which reveals that:

·         outcomes in English at the end of all Key Stages ‘mask’ relative underachievement in Writing;

·         attainment in Reading, Writing and Maths in combination (RWM) decreases as pupils move through each Key Stage;

·         evidence suggests that within English and Maths, Writing and Number are the main contributory factors to underachievement in RWM in each key stage and in the Level 2 inclusive at the end of Key Stage 4;

·         in order to improve attainment in the Level 2 inclusive, we must address attainment in Language and Maths in combination, at the end of each previous Key Stage;

·         evidence also suggests that for learners to secure attainment of GCSE Maths A* -C, they must secure attainment at Level 6, at the end of Key Stage 3. To support this, attainment at Level 5 in Maths, at the end of Key Stage 2, is to be secured; and

·         there are too many pupils underachieving in Writing and Maths at the end of Key Stage 3 i.e. too many pupils writing at level 4 and functioning at level 4 in mathematics.

19.        There is a need to:

·         improve attainment at + 1 levels in Maths in all Key Stages;

·         continue to improve attainment in Writing in all Key Stages; and to

·         continue to improve attainment in Number in all Key Stages

20.        The Directorate has therefore implemented an authority wide support and development programme, involving Head teachers in all Primary and Secondary Schools and Heads of Departments and Subject Leaders, to specifically address these concerns. (Appendix 4)

21.        Additionally, all schools have been requested to set a local target for achievement in Reading, Writing and Mathematics in combination (RWM), at the end of every Key Stage, during their target setting processes.

22.        Individual schools are also being targeted for support.

23.        Identified schools will be supported and challenged through the targeted support programme commissioned from the Consortium LINKS Service (Learning and Innovation Network for Schools), as well as through the statutory monitoring and challenge function commissioned from the Consortium Joint Education Service (JES).

24.        Schools' System Leaders within the JES will monitor progress towards meeting performance targets on a termly basis and also deliver the Authority's statutory school improvement functions to all schools on behalf of the Council.

25.        For all schools, the need to improve standards in English (particularly writing) and Maths (particularly number) has been recognised and areas for development included in Service Plans.

26.        Further progress and performance reports will be presented to this committee throughout the year.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

27.        The local Authority's portion of the School Effectiveness Grant (SEG) will be used to fund support as identified in this report. The Council's financial contribution to the Joint Education Service is intended to ensure schools are effectively monitored, challenged to improve, supported and that intervention is provided if required.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

28.        None

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

29.        End of Key Stage Assessment a statutory obligation

Crime and Disorder Implications

30.        There are no crime and disorder implications

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

31.        There are no equal opportunity implications

Corporate/Service Objectives

32.        Improving outcomes and wellbeing for all learners

Policy Framework and Budget

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

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

34.        Not applicable

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

35.        Lifelong Learning

Background Papers

Estyn Common Inspection Framework for Schools

Contact Officer

Lynette Jones Head of School Improvement, Vale of Glamorgan Council

Officers Consulted

Meryl Plummer Senior System Leader JES

John Comissiong, System Leader JES

Responsible Officer:

Jennifer Hill, Chief Learning and Skills Officer, Learning and Skills Directorate