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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning): 18th February 2013

 

Report of the Chief Learning and Skills Officer

 

Central South Performance Stocktake Report

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To provide elected Members with the findings of the Central South Consortium's termly performance Stocktake, conducted by Welsh Government's School Standards Unit (SSU) in Autumn Term 2012.

Recommendations

1.             That Members note the report, raise any further issues for consideration and refer the item to Cabinet.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.             To ensure that Members are kept fully informed about progress and areas for further action in schools in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Background

2.             Welsh Government's School Standards Unit (SSU) was set up in autumn term 2011, to engage directly in professional dialogue about school performance with each of the four regional Consortia in Wales.

3.             Since then, regional, termly Stocktake sessions have been delivered by the SSU.

4.             During the Stocktakes, Directors of Education/Chief Officers and their respective Heads of School Improvement have been challenged about the school performance of individual secondary schools in their respective home Authorities.

5.             The Stocktake approach enables the SSU to identify areas for improvement and to share what works well in other schools across Wales.

Issues and Options

6.             Appendix 1 outlines the Secondary Stocktake Report, Appendix 2 the Primary Report.

7.             The secondary report makes reference to the following:

·         the need for Local Authorities to focus on improving performance in the Level 2 inclusive i.e. 5 GCSEs A* to C which must include English/Language and Maths in combination;

·         to raise awareness about the read across i.e. the need for an increased focus on those individual pupils achieving a GCSE in both English and Maths;

·         the number of pupils achieving A* -C GCSE in Mathematics as the limiting factor; and

·         support provided to secondary schools via Education London.

8.             Consortium discussion with Officers focussed on the following:

·         the regional service now delivers the statutory challenge, monitor and intervention functions on behalf of partner Councils;

·         the impact of changes in senior school management and the resulting positive and negative impact on school performance;

·         that strong leadership at both head and head of departmental levels can have demonstrable effects on performance;

·         that there is greater emphasis now on providing targeted intervention directed at pupil level, to improve performance;

·         that there is a desire to raise the bar and to look beyond the consortium and Wales for best practice; and

·         to ensure that identified schools improve the read across between English and Maths.

9.             Agreed actions included:

·         to establish a close read across in tracking systems;

·         to raise aspirations;

·         to ensure all schools are teaching and preparing for the revised specifications for GCSE Language and Maths; and

·         for the Consortium to encourage dialogue to promote sharing of best practice.

10.        The Primary Report focussed on the following:

·         to develop a shared understanding about the relationship between the Core Subject Indicator (CSI) and the Reading, Writing and Mathematics in combination indicator;

·         to look more closely at the respective performance  of free school meals (FSM) and non-FSM pupils;

·         to discuss the relationship between the scores at KS2 and KS 4; and

·         to understand the support and challenge categories used by the Consortium and the implementation of the National Literacy and Numeracy Frameworks.

11.        Officers were asked to contribute to discussions centred on the consortium's approach to supporting local Authorities implementation of the National Literacy and Numeracy plans as well as the extent to which plans were underpinned by performance data.

12.        Additional points for discussion focussed on the development of a Consortium plan to improve standards in literacy and numeracy.

13.        A set of actions were agreed as a result. Actions included the need to:

·         develop a consistent approach to dialogue between system leaders and schools' senior management teams in relation to school improvement activities arising out of the analysis of data;

·         the need to concentrate effort on preparing schools to deliver the National Literacy Framework through high quality teaching and learning strategies.

14.        The Council will continue to work with the Consortium to implement agreed actions through the work of the School Improvement and Inclusion Service.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

15.        Funding from within allocated budget

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

16.        None

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

17.        None

Crime and Disorder Implications

18.        None

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

19.        None

Corporate/Service Objectives

20.        None

Policy Framework and Budget

21.        None

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

22.        None

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

23.        Lifelong Learning Scrutiny Committee

Background Papers

WG 'Improving Schools'  paper.

Contact Officer

Lynette Jones, Head of School Improvement and Inclusion, Vale of Glamorgan Council

Officers Consulted

Meryl Plummer, Senior Systems Leader, Joint Education Service, Central South Consortium

Responsible Officer:

Jennifer Hill, Chief learning and Skills Officer, Vale of Glamorgan Council