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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning): 24th June, 2013

 

Report of the Chief Learning and Skills Officer

 

Individual Schools Progress Meetings

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To provide the Committee with an update on the progress meeting at Llantwit Major Comprehensive School undertaken by a panel of three members of the Scrutiny Committee.

Recommendations

1.             THAT the Scrutiny Panel findings as detailed in paragraphs 19 and 20 be accepted.

2.             THAT a further report be presented to the Scrutiny Committee following the revisit to the school in October 2013.

3.             THAT the report be referred to Cabinet for consideration and/or approval.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.             To apprise Committee of the findings of the Scrutiny Panel.

2.             To monitor and follow-up the recommendations of the Scrutiny Panel.

3.             For Cabinet consideration.

Background

2.             The Scrutiny Committee has previously considered a series of reports describing the attainment of pupils attending schools in the Vale.  The reports have described the success of many pupils in many schools, highlighted further progress that was needed and provided information about the programmes for support and challenge that had been put in place.

3.             In addition, the Council had also adopted an approach which would seek to increase the accountability of schools for pupil attainment.  Estyn reports and follow up progress reports were regularly reported to the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) together with school by school performance data for secondary schools.  In order to build on this approach and to ensure that work to tackle weak performance was supported and that schools were challenged to make accelerated progress, the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) agreed to establish the Scrutiny Panels at its meeting on 18th February 2013.

4.             The Panel Members comprise of three members of the Committee (two of whom must be Elected Members) to be drawn from the 10 Elected Members and the four co-opted Members with voting rights. 

5.             The Chairman of Governors and the Headteacher are invited to attend together with a third member and the Cabinet Member for Children's Services.  The Panel is advised by an officer of the Departmental Management Team.    

6.             The Panel meetings are held on a similar basis to Task and Finish Groups in that meetings are not open to the public but the outcome of the meetings and the conclusions and any recommendations of the Panel are to be incorporated into a report to the Scrutiny Committee for consideration under Part I or Part II of an agenda, as appropriate.  A record of the meeting itself is to be made and will include any recommendations for further action by the school or the Council. 

7.             Initially, the Head of Democratic Services has agreed to provide officer support to the Panels but this will be reviewed as part of an overall review of Panel arrangements, after 12 months.

Relevant Issues and Options

8.             In accordance with this new framework the meetings are intended to enable the school to demonstrate through the democratic process its ambitions, capacity and commitment to rapid and sustained progress and to identify any barriers that the school was facing which could be resolved by the actions of the Council. 

9.             To this end an invitation was extended to the Headteacher of Llantwit Major, the Chairman of Governors and the Cabinet Member in accordance with the agreed process as detailed above. The purpose of the meeting being to establish that there were up to date and authoritive plans in place to address any concerns, to ensure that the school had arrangements in place to monitor the impact of the plans and to amend them as appropriate and to establish what progress had been made and what further progress was required. 

10.        The meeting took place on  23rd April, 2013 and the  Members of the Scrutiny Panel consisted of Councillor N.P. Hodges (Chairman), Councillor H.C. Hamilton and Mr. L. Kellaway (Co-opted Member with voting rights).  Councillor C.P.J. Elmore (Cabinet Member), Ms. J. Hill (Chief Learning and Skills Officer), Ms. L. Jones (Head of School Improvement and Inclusion), Dr. V. Browne (Headteacher), Mr. D. Mutlow (Chairman of Governors), Mrs. F. Greville (Deputy Headteacher), Mrs. K. Bowen (Democratic and Scrutiny Officer) were also in attendance. 

11.        The Headteacher had been afforded the opportunity to provide a presentation to the Panel which advised on the improvements that had been made to date including the school's capacity to further improve over the forthcoming years.

12.        With regard to the School Improvement Plan for 2011/12 the key themes were noted as follows:

  • more efficient interrogation of data and tracking of pupil performance (by all staff)
  • appointment of Assistant Headteacher (Curriculum and Data) and Data Manager
  • the strategic leadership of the school was becoming increasingly focussed and challenging.

13.        Following the 2012 results for English, the school had committed to short term and long term actions. 

14.        The short term actions that had been addressed were reported as :

  • controlled assessments being re-drafted
  • re-sit oral opportunities provided
  • module results reviewed 7th March and those below probable 'C' identified
  • Easter revision for pupils who had underachieved in exams targeting skills
  • after school revision by all departments
  • Literature targeted for those still not achieving
  • introduction of the Education London Programme
  • LINKS departmental support.

15.        Following a full presentation of pupil data etc the long term actions for the school were identified as follows:

  • To embed the short term actions
  • Maintain robust data and tracking
  • Define strategy and structure (e.g. line manager and data manager position)
  • Undertake departmental reviews
  • curriculum development and time allocation.

16.        In order to monitor progress the school had established a database which produced a number of spreadsheets which would be regularly monitored and analysed.  The school had also received support from Education London and purchased support from the LINKS team which had assisted targeted groups.  The issues had also been addressed and detailed in the school's Development Plan with the quality assurance method for this process being the results in the summer of 2013.

17.        Since the initiatives had been introduced the Panel Members noted the school was currently anticipating 58% of students achieving five A* - C GCSE grades in English and Maths.  Members were also reassured to learn that the Chairman of Governors had been made fully aware of the issues at the time and appropriate conversations had taken place between the Headteacher, Deputy Headteacher and the staff.  The Chairman of Governors confirmed the positive attitudes of the Heads of Departments and informed the Panel that he was confident the school was moving in the right direction.

18.        Following a question and answer session the three Panel Members retired to consider the information that had been presented in private. 

19.        Having considered the information the Panel concluded that the school appeared to have robust arrangements for improvements in place and a clear commitment from staff and Governors.  Robust data systems had been established and significant analysis undertaken. Members considered the effectiveness of the plans would be further clarified by the forthcoming examinations. 

20.        The Panel also recommended to re-visit the school in October 2013 to review the school results with a further meeting to be scheduled in December 2013 to discuss banding, if required.  This was welcomed by the Headteacher as was the challenge for improvement.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

21.        Within existing resources with the approach to be reviewed after 12 months.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

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

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

23.        There are no legal implications arising from this report.

Crime and Disorder Implications

24.        There are no crime and disorder implications arising from this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

25.        There are no equal opportunities implications arising from this report.

Corporate/Service Objectives

26.        Improving outcomes and wellbeing for all learners.

Policy Framework and Budget

27.        The recommendations in this report are within the existing Policy Framework and Budget.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

28.        Not applicable.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

29.        Lifelong Learning.

Background Papers

Notes of the meeting - 23rd April, 2013

 

Contact Officer

Jennifer Hill

 

Officers Consulted

Head of Democratic Services

 

Responsible Officer:

Jennifer Hill

Chief Learning and Skills Officer

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