Agenda Item No. 6


The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning): 11th November 2013


Report of the Cabinet Member for Children's Services


School Performance Report for the end of Key Stage 4 and 5 (Provisional Benchmarking Data Only)


Purpose of the Report

1.             To consult the Committee on school performance and the processes in place to further improve services.


1.             The Committee's views on the performance and improvement processes be sought and any comments referred to Cabinet.

Reason for the Recommendation

1.             In order that the views of the Committee can be sought.


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 2011-12 the Vale ranked 5th lowest overall for the proportion of pupils entitled to receive free school meals 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 the performance measures as follows:

·         the Core Subject Indicator; those pupils attaining a GCSE A* - C in the core subjects of English, Maths and Science:

·         Level 1 Threshold; proportion of pupils attaining 5 x GCSEs A* to G

·         Level 2 Threshold; proportion of pupils attaining 5 x GCSEs A* to C

·         Level 2+ Threshold; proportion of pupils attaining 5 x GCSEs A* to C including English and Maths

·         English GCSE Level 2; the proportion of pupils attaining English GCSE A* to C

·         Maths GCSE Level 2; the proportion of pupils attaining Maths GCSE A* to C

·         Science Level 2; the proportion of pupils attaining Science GCSE A* to C.

8.             However, it needs to be noted that this report:

·         uses provisional data and comparative benchmarking information only; a further report will be brought to this committee as soon as all Key Stage 4 data is finalised, including School Banding, early in the New Year; and

·         the Level 2 inclusive is the performance indicator which is increasingly being promoted nationally as the major performance measure at the end of Key Stage 4.

Relevant Issues and Options

9.             Appendix 1 provides the overview of results for KS 4; whilst performance in L2 Maths, Science, L1, L2, CPS, WPS has increased on 2012, performance in L2 English/Welsh, L2+, and the CSI has decreased.

10.        Appendix 2 compares performance with Wales; wherein performance in the Vale, for the L2+ has decreased by 0.8% points, the CSI by 5% and the L2English/Welsh by 1.2% on 2012 results.

11.        Overall, results in Wales for 2013 improved on 2012 with the exception of the CSI which decreased by 0.7% points.

12.        Vale performance, for all PIs remain above the all Wales means, but, as we are well aware, Vale performance needs to rank well above our FSM expected rank of 5th, and we clearly aspire to far greater than this.

13.        Local Authority rank information will be available in December 2013.

14.        The decline in the Level 2 inclusive over the last three years is a particular concern and one that is being addressed with individual schools.

15.        Appendix 3 provides the performance for individual schools in the Vale of Glamorgan (provisional data only). Benchmarking data is also only provisional at this stage.

16.        This information demonstrates some significant gains and reductions; namely, performance gains in Bro Morgannwg, Stanwell and early indications of improvement in certain areas in Bryn Hafren and Llantwit.

17.        However, performance reductions are seen in Barry Comprehensive and St Richard Gwyn, coupled with decreases in certain areas in Cowbridge and St Cyres.

18.        Such a performance profile for the eight schools, based on this provisional benchmarking data, is observed as a reduction in the number of schools located in the higher to highest benchmarking groups i.e. benchmark I and 2.

19.        Of particular concern is the decrease in performance in L2 English and Maths in Barry Comprehensive and St Richard Gwyn, along with the flat lining of both subjects in Llantwit and St Cyres (Maths flat-lined, decrease in English).

20.        Decreases in these subjects in particular, contribute significantly to the Vale's overall performance in L2+

21.        Professional and challenging dialogue, with individual secondary schools, has been undertaken regarding the need to agree a set of minimum performance expectations for 2014, particularly for L2 English, L2 Maths and L2 + inclusive

22.        The first steps in, in-formal and formal statutory intervention has already been undertaken with identified schools; this means that pre-warning and formal warning letters have been issued to Chairs of Governors and Headteachers, the details of which are contained in a separate report to Cabinet.

23.        Identified schools have agreed a set of minimum expectations for performance in 2014.

24.        The School Support Programme (detailed in a separate report to this committee and cabinet) identifies the nature and extent of support schools will receive to help them improve.

25.        The regional Joint Education Service (JES) will deliver the Council's statutory challenge, monitor and intervention functions.

26.        Accountability for school performance however, remains with the Council.

27.        Appendix 4 provides high level GCSE comparative information with Wales for 2013.

28.        GCSE grade proportions across the board, show a decrease on 2012 which is set against an increase in entries of 506 pupils.

29.        Individual school profiles mirror the high level decreases aforementioned.

30.        Appendix 5a shows the school level A Level profile; most schools showing an increase in the Level 3 with the exception of Barry Comprehensive.

31.        Appendix 5b shows the high level A and AS level performance profile set against the all Wales means; grade proportions for AS levels show an increase across the board.

32.        A Level performance at A* saw an increase (1%) whilst proportions at grade A and A* to C observed a decrease of -1.4% and -2% respectively.

33.        Individual school performance at A Level at A* and grade A saw some gains and losses; notably, gains in Llantwit and Bro Morgannwg and losses in Barry and St. Cyres at A to C.

34.        Individual schools will be invited to discuss their progress with the School Progress Panel of this Committee in the Autumn term; namely Llantwit and St Cyres School.

35.        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.

36.        The Council recognises the need to address these improvement priorities and they have been built into the Authority wide School Support Programme (contained in a separate report to this Committee and Cabinet).

37.        Commissioned support for our identified secondary schools is outlined in Appendix 6.

38.        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.

39.        Further progress and performance reports will be presented to this Committee throughout the year.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

40.        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 will ensure schools are effectively monitored, challenged to improve, supported and provide intervention if required.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

41.        There are no sustainability and climate change implications.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

42.        End of Key Stage Assessment a statutory obligation.

Crime and Disorder Implications

43.        There are no crime and disorder implications.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

44.        There are no equal opportunity implications.

Corporate/Service Objectives

45.        Improving outcomes and wellbeing for all learners.

Policy Framework and Budget

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

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

47.        Not applicable.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

48.        Lifelong Learning.

Background Papers

Estyn common inspection framework for schools

Contact Officer

Lynette Jones, Head of School Improvement and Inclusion

Officers Consulted

Meryl Plummer, Lead Officer for School Improvement Service

Jennifer Hill, Chief Learning and Skills Officer

Responsible Officer:

Councillor Chris Elmore, Cabinet Member for Children's Services