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Agenda Item No 6

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee [Lifelong Learning]: 24 June 2013

 

Report of the Chief Learning and Skills Officer

 

Looked After Children in Education - End of Year Performance Report 2011/12 (National Strategic Indicators, Public Accountability Measures, Service Improvement Data)

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To inform the Committee of annual performance results pertaining to the education of Looked After Children (LAC) for the year ended 31 March 2012.

Recommendation

1.             That the Committee consider progress made to date in the performance of Looked After Children in education.

Reason for the Recommendation

1.             To identify where further improvements could be focussed to improve overall performance in order to ensure continuous improvement.

Background

2.             Benchmarking data has now been released for the national indicators collected by the Local Government Data Unit, which can be used to highlight achievements and areas for improvement for Council services.

Relevant Issues and Options

3.             Appendix 1 contains a report summarising the Vale's performance against national indicators for the year ended 2011/12 in relation to the education of looked after children.

4.             5 indicators achieved a top quartile performance, ranked between 1st and 7th when compared with the rest of Wales.

5.             3 indicators achieved a performance within the middle quartiles, ranked between 9th and 16th when compared with other Welsh authorities.

6.             1 indicator was in the bottom quartile of performance, ranked 19th in Wales

7.             Of the 9 total indicators, the Vale performed better than or as well as the Welsh average in 7 measures.

8.             The Vale achieved the best performance in Wales for 2 of the indicators (1 of these was a joint best performance with 19 other authorities).

9.             Both attendance measures achieved a top quartile performance. Primary school attendance for LAC was one of the most improved of the indicators, having been in the lower middle quartile in 2010/11. LAC attendance at secondary school fractionally deteriorated since 2010/11, but the 2011/12 figure remains the 6th highest in Wales.

10.        No LAC were permanently excluded from school during 2011/12. This was the best possible performance for this indicator and was also recorded in all but 3 councils across Wales. The rate of fixed-term exclusions in the Vale was higher than the Welsh average for 2011/12, however did show a significant improvement on the figures for 2010/11, when the indicator was in the bottom quartile.

11.        The percentage of LAC achieving the Core Subject Indicator (CSI) at KS2 was 83.33% in the Vale, which was the best performance in Wales. It is a deliberate policy to target KS2 with additional literacy and numeracy support with SEGLAC funding to ensure pupils achieve the CSI and can more easily cope with KS3 curriculum and the transition to comprehensive schools. The first language of the only pupil who did not achieve the CSI, is not English and he is now statemented for learning, emotional and behavioural needs. He receives SEGLAC support in addition to the support provided by his statement.

12.         This was in contrast with performance at KS3, where 12.5% of LAC achieved the CSI compared with a national average of 30.73%. This was the only bottom quartile performance the Vale recorded for the 9 measures. This was a deterioration on the Vale's 2010/11 performance, which was in the upper middle quartile. 3 of this cohort had statements for learning difficulties. 1 was in the PRU with extremely poor attendance, which also affected our Secondary attendance figure. This pupil is looked after, but placed with a parent. 1 other narrowly missed the CSI (545), 1 refused SEGLAC support and another missed the CSI (544), despite having tuition in Maths. The pupil who did achieve the CSI did exceptionally well, gaining 776.

13.        In 2011/12, 9.93% of LAC experienced one or more changes in school. This was the 9th lowest percentage in Wales, placing the Vale in the upper middle quartile and was also an improvement on last year's performance of 11.67%.  The fewer the changes of placement and school, the better for looked after children.  Coping with a new school puts further stress on them and inevitably affects academic continuity and progress. Changes in KS4 are particularly challenging because pupils are rarely able to continue with original GCSE choices and sometimes have to accept where schools have spaces.

14.        The Vale performed better than the Welsh average in terms of the percentage of LAC with a Personal Education Plan within 20 school days of entering care or joining a new school. However, this was only the 16th best performance in Wales, which placed the Vale in the lower middle quartile. This was a disappointing performance which continues to challenge us. The LAC Education administrator informs school and social worker of the need for a PEP and the deadline dates, but the 20 school day requirement remains problematic.

15.        The Vale achieved the 3rd highest external qualifications point score for 16 year old LAC in Wales. Whilst this was well above the Welsh average, there was a slight deterioration in actual performance in comparison with 2010/11. This very much depends on the cohort and how many are in mainstream schools. The majority of this cohort achieved qualifications at KS4. 2 pupils had 10 A*-Cs, including English and Maths. 6 had at least 5 A*-Gs (including 1 statemented pupil) and 9 had between 1 and 4 GCSEs. 1 of these was provided with SEGLAC-funded GCSE tuition in English and Maths while he was in Parc Prison, Bridgend. Another was statemented with severe learning difficulties. Of the 4 with no qualifications, 2 were in residential homes, refusing to engage with education, 1 was home educated and came into the care system in Year 11 and the other also came into the care system in Year 11 and had been previously living in Spain, accessing no education for several years.

16.        Appendix 2 contains a table detailing the 10 authorities of South East Wales and their individual performances against the LAC in education indicators, in respect of how many top, middle and bottom quartile performances they achieved. The councils are listed in order of how many top quartile performances they achieved for 2011/12.

17.        The LAC Education Team (formerly the Children First Team) is pleased with its performance in relation to other local authorities in South East Wales.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

18.        There are no additional budgetary implications arising from this report.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

19.        There are no sustainability and climate change implications arising directly from this report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

20.        The Local Government Act 1999, the Wales Programme for Improvement and the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 requires that the Council secure continuous improvement across the full range of local services for which it is responsible.

Crime and Disorder Implications

21.        LAC children are more likely to be in trouble with the Police, and therefore it is essential that the Learning and Skills Directorate and the Youth Offending Service continue to work closely together to improve the educational qualifications of children who offend or who are likely to offend.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

22.        It is widely recognised that LAC are less likely to achieve their potential educationally. It is therefore essential that their educational performance is regularly monitored and that additional measures are put in place to assist them in their education.

Corporate/Service Objectives

23.        Monitoring and reporting of performance demonstrates a clear contribution to all eight corporate priority outcomes (Corporate Plan 2013/17) and also underpins the improvement work programme of the Council.

Policy Framework and Budget

24.        This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

25.        The data contained within the report is based on internally audited returns published on the Local Government Data Unit website. All Vale of Glamorgan Council data has been verified by Heads of Service.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

26.        Social Care and Health / Lifelong Learning

Background Papers

All information is available for Members and officers to view online via the Local Government Data Unit's 'Benchmarking Hub': http://www.benchmarkingwales.net/. A password is required and can be arranged through Chloe Clarke on 521.

 

Contact Officer

Jenny Smith, Safeguarding Officer

 

Officers Consulted

Chloe Clarke, Corporate Performance Co-ordinator

Julia Archampong, Performance Manager

Beverly Noon, Operational Manager - Corporate Policy and Communications

Lynette Jones - Head of Achievement

Gareth Jenkins - Head of Children and Young People Services

 

Responsible Officer:

Jennifer Hill, Chief Learning and Skills Officer

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