Agenda Item No.
THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL
CABINET: 20TH OCTOBER 2014
REFERENCE FROM SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (LIFELONG LEARNING): 22ND SEPTEMBER 2014
419 INDIVIDUAL SCHOOL PROGRESS MEETING – EAGLESWELL (DLS) –
The Chairman advised the Scrutiny Committee of the progress meeting that had been held at Eagleswell Primary School by a Panel of three Members of the Committee, namely Councillor N.P. Hodges (Chairman of the Panel), Councillor Mrs. M.E.J. Birch and Mr. L. Kellaway, with Councillor C.P.J. Elmore, Mrs. K. Jacobs (Acting Head), Mrs. J. Vickers (Chairman of Governors), Mr. D. Mutlow (School Governor), Mrs. J. Hill (Director of Learning and Skills), Mrs. L. Jones (Head of School Improvement and Inclusion at the time), Mr. J. Commissiong (Challenge Advisor) and Mr. G.J. Davies (Scrutiny Support Officer) in attendance.
The report outlined that one of the reasons for the visit was that, following the Estyn inspection in February 2014, the school had been placed in the follow-up category, stipulating that significant improvement were required. A Post Inspection Action Plan (PIAP) had been drafted by the school detailing how the school planned to improve and address the recommendations made by Estyn and under statutory powers the Local Authority had appointed two additional governors to the school in order to strengthen the work and support of the Governing Body. Members were also informed that due to ill health of the substantive Headteacher, an Acting Head had been appointed on an interim basis from May 2014. Since that date the Director could advise that the substantive Headteacher had recently retired and the Acting Head had been appointed to the position by the school Governing Body up to December 2014.
At the Performance Panel meeting itself the Acting Headteacher had informed the Panel that during the inspection the school had been unable to document and evidence proper teacher planning and, in particular, the issue of teachers’ planning being completed in a retrospective basis. This had led to concerns amongst Inspectors regarding the role and responsibility of the Senior Leadership Team and in particular regarding the monitoring of teachers’ planning and the ability of the school to progress the development of its pupils.
In order to address the deficiencies in respect of teachers' planning, the school had ensured that planning was undertaken on a forward looking basis, was completed under a new common format and was regularly collected for evaluation. Teachers now received individual feedback about their planning, which was sent to them in writing. The Senior Leadership Team (SLT) of the school now regularly monitored teacher planning files and regular discussions were being held between teachers and senior leaders.
The Panel had raised concerns regarding the consistent completion of teachers' planning, as some teachers undertook planning on a fortnightly basis while others completed planning weekly. The Panel was also concerned with the reticence of some staff in co-operating with the actions highlighted within the school's PIAP.
In addressing the issues regarding the roles and responsibilities of the Senior Leadership Team, the school had reviewed the structure of the SLT and roles and responsibilities had been defined. The school at the time was still in the process of finalising the job descriptions for all staff members but advised that this would be concluded by September. The Chairman of Governors welcomed the appointment of the two new Local Authority Governors and they fully recognised the help and the support that they had brought with them.
In order to improve the standards of extended writing in English and across the curriculum, the school had compiled baseline data for every pupil and this enabled the school to track and monitor individual progress for each pupil. The tracking of pupil progress was centred around the 'INCERTS' system with data analysed on a termly basis so as to identify under achieving pupils and the areas where these pupils needed to improve. Intervention strategies for under achieving pupils now included Foundation Leaders meeting with each teacher in order to identify pupils requiring extra support. The school used the Big Write method to analyse the stages of development of pupils, while the introduction of pupil 'I Can' statements was still at an early stage. Teacher feedback marking was inconsistent; this was an area that the Governing Body Monitoring Panel would review and address. The school had been able to acquire the support of a consultant to review the moderation of writing assessments and the school had also created a portfolio which showed examples of assessments completed by pupils up to Year 6. An evaluation of the coverage of genres in reading and writing had been undertaken and this had been linked to curriculum plans. The school had also conducted a staff training session to improve pupils’ sentence, punctuation and letter formation at Foundation Phase.
To address Estyn's recommendation to raise the standards of Welsh at Key Stage 2 the school had undertaken an audit of provision and the representative from the Central South Consortium had been supporting the Learning Support Teacher assigned to Welsh. A baseline for each pupil had been established in order to provide a proper starting point. The school had also implemented a 10 minute period per day for the teaching of Welsh and this also included a 'Phrase of the Week'. To improve curriculum planning the school had undertaken a mapping exercise and this had resulted in additional topics being included where they best fitted in. There was also a greater level of consideration of Welsh within Maths and literacy and extra training had been provided to teachers and support staff and the Welsh in Education Officer from the Central South Consortium was assisting the school to improve this. The school had also identified the need to improve teaching assessments as it was considered that these were not substantially robust.
The Panel was advised that to ensure that the Key Stage 2 curriculum met statutory requirements the school had reviewed the literacy and numeracy framework and the cornerstone curriculum which was currently used within the school. The Learning Support Teacher was actively working on identifying improvements to the curriculum, but it was not at present easy to evidence significant progress. The school had reviewed long term, medium term and short term planning and a common format for teacher planning was now in place. The school had also undertaken half term book reviews of literacy and Maths.
Estyn had judged some teaching in the school to be unsatisfactory and the Panel was advised that in order to improve the quality of teaching, the school had looked at its teaching and learning policy and its criteria for evaluating teaching. A baseline of teaching had been established and the school had been able to analyse the outcomes following the baseline evaluation, which had highlighted strengths and areas requiring improvement. Support and peer coaching had been reviewed and termly observations and climate walks introduced.
The Panel's overall conclusion was that it welcomed the school’s acknowledgement of the need to make substantive changes to address the Estyn recommendations and to make significant improvements. They noted the plans to address the recommendations, including the analysis of risk and detailed monitoring arrangements. The school was correct to identify the sickness of the substantive Headteacher as a major risk which would need to be managed actively. The Local Authority's support plan was comprehensive, included support from the Consortium and the Council and the Panel welcomed the appointment of additional Governors and the positive approach the Chair of Governors of the school had taken to the appointments. The Panel recognised that there were some examples of early progress to implement the Plan, but they considered that much remained to be done. The Panel, taking into account the identified risks and the early stage of development, planned to reconvene in the Autumn.
The Chairman, in summing up, advised that, in his view, the school was a good school but could be so much better. In considering the report reference was made to previous Individual School Progress Panel Meetings that had taken place in secondary schools in the Vale, with Members being advised that two of the schools had received above the minimum expectations that had been recommended for the GCSE results. The Director advised that with regard to Barry Comprehensive School, she was currently assessing the situation and seeking advice in respect of the way forward and would be apprising Members, in particular those Members of the Panels, in due course. The Chairman also requested that future dates for re-visits of all Individual School Progress Panels to the schools be arranged as soon as possible in the Autumn term.
In response to a request for full details regarding the GCSE results in August for all Secondary schools in the Vale the Director advised that a Cabinet report was currently being prepared and the Chairman asked for a copy of that report to be forwarded to the Scrutiny Committee for consideration.
Having considered the report, it was subsequently
(1) T H A T the Individual School Progress Panel findings as detailed in paragraph 18 of the report be accepted.
(2) T H A T a follow up visit to the school by the Panel Members be arranged as soon as possible.
(3) T H A T the report be referred to Cabinet for consideration and approval.
(4) T H A T the Director of Learning and Skills devises a schedule for Individual School Progress Panel Members to revisit Llantwit Major, St. Cyres, Barry Comprehensive and Bryn Hafren.
(5) T H A T the information in relation to the GCSE results for 2013/14 for the Vale of Glamorgan be presented as soon as possible.
Reasons for recommendations
(1) To apprise the Committee of the findings of the Performance Panel.
(2) To monitor and undertake a follow up visit.
(3) For Cabinet consideration.
(4) To progress the work of the Performance Panels.
(5) To apprise Members.
Attached as Appendix – Report to Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning): 22nd September 2014