Agenda Item No. 11

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cabinet meeting: 15th October 2018

Report of the Cabinet Member for Learning and Culture

School Performance Report 2017-2018: Foundation Phase and Key Stages 2 to 5

Purpose of the Report

  1. To inform Members of pupil attainment and school performance outcomes.

Recommendations

  1. That Cabinet notes pupil attainment and school performance outcomes, based in the case of GCSE and A level examinations, on provisional data.
  2. That Cabinet note that in accordance with School Standards and Organisation that Cabinet refers this report to the Learning and Culture Scrutiny Committee for consideration.
  3. That Cabinet notes the changes in key stage 4 performance measures.

Reasons for the Recommendations

  1. To ensure Members are aware of the attainment of pupils and the performance of schools in 2016/17.
  2. To enable Scrutiny of school performance outcomes.
  3. To ensure Members are aware of the changes and resulting implications for comparative purposes.

Background

  1. Statutory end of Key Stage 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.
  2. The national minimum expectations for pupils at the end of the Foundation Phase and key stages 2 and 3 are as follows: outcome 5 at the end of the Foundation Phase, level 4 at the end of key stage 2 and level 5 at the end of key stage 3.
  3. Additionally, expectations for our more able pupils at the end of each phase are as follows: Outcome 6 or above at the end of the Foundation Phase, level 5 or above at the end of key stage 2 and levels 6 and 7 at the end of key stage 3.
  4. In relation to external examinations at key stages 4 and 5, this report outlines performance for the measures as follows (see Appendix 1 for changes which came into effect in 2017-2018).
  • Level 2 threshold; proportion of pupils attaining 5 x GCSEs A* to C.
  • Level 2+ (L2+) threshold; proportion of pupils attaining 5 x GCSEs A* to C including mathematics or numeracy, English language or Welsh language.  This is the government's preferred measure of educational attainment.
  • English GCSE level 2; the proportion of pupils attaining English GCSE A* to C.
  • Maths GCSE level 2; the proportion of pupils attaining mathematics or numeracy GCSE A* to C.
  • Science GCSE level 2; the proportion of pupils attaining science GCSE A* to C.
  • A Level; the level 3 indicator measures the proportion of pupils attaining 2 or more A levels A - E.
  1. It should be noted that Welsh Government introduced key changes to the performance measures in 2016-2017 which affected any possible comparisons that could be made against previous data.   Therefore, caution should be used with comparing outcomes with data prior to 2017.  The main changes were:
  • the introduction of a cap of 40% of non-GCSEs that contribute to threshold measures;
  • the removal of literature for the level 2 threshold including English / Welsh and mathematics;
  • the introduction of the new specifications for English, Welsh, mathematics and numeracy;
  • a new Capped 9 points score measure which includes GCSEs in English or Welsh language, mathematics, numeracy, 2 science GCSE qualifications and four other qualifications which could be GCSEs, vocational qualifications or the new Welsh Baccalaureate.
  1. In 2014, Welsh Government introduced changes to the Foundation Phase Areas of Learning (AoL) for Language, Literacy and Communication (LLC) and Mathematical Development (MDT) which made them more demanding.  This means that the cohort of children who were assessed in 2018 were the first children to be formally assessed against the revised outcomes.  Foundation Phase outcomes in 2018 are not comparable with previous years so comparison should be avoided.
  2. The Council's ambition is that educational outcomes in the Vale are the best in Wales and match those of the most successful authorities in England with similar socio economic profiles.  The Council also seeks to ensure that all school performance is benchmarked in the high or highest benchmarking positions.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. When considering Local Authority (LA) performance, the key indicators for consideration are as follows:
  • LA performance compared with the all Wales mean and the Central South Consortium (CSC) mean;
  • LA performance trends over time, when compared with the all Wales mean, CSC mean and prior performance;
  • the relative gap in performance between LA mean, all Wales mean and the CSC mean;
  1. Progress in the Foundation Phase:
  • Due to the change in the Foundation Phase Areas of Learning, comparisons with previous years are not appropriate and, as expected, performance was lower in all indicators in 2018 than in 2017.  This was also the case for the CSC and all Wales figures.  
  • At outcome 5, performance in the Vale was the highest in the CSC and higher than the all Wales figures for the Foundation Phase outcome indicator (FPOI), language, literacy and communication in English (LCE), mathematical development (MDT) and personal and social development (PSD).  Performance in language, literacy and communication in Welsh (LCW) decreased more than the CSC average, but was broadly in line with performance in LCE.
  • At outcome 6, LCW was the lowest performing indicator and lower than the CSC and Wales averages.  Performance in PSD, LCE and MDT was higher in the Vale than the CSC and Wales averages.
  • With the exception of MDT at outcome 6, girls continue to perform better than boys in all indicators.
  • Reducing the difference in performance between those pupils eligible for free school meals (eFSM) and those that are not eligible for free school meals (nFSM) is a priority in the Vale.  At the expected level (outcome 5), the changes in performance measures have resulted in a widening of the gap in all indicators both across the CSC and in the Vale.  At outcome 6, the gap has narrowed slightly in many indicators but remains too wide.  Narrowing the gap, particularly above the expected level, remains a key priority.
  1. Progress in Key Stage 2:
  • Further improvements in attainment at level 4 have been made in all performance measures.  At 96.9%, Welsh remains the highest of all core subjects.
  • With the exception of science, performance at level 5+ has risen yet again.  Most notable are the improvements in Welsh which improved by 3.1 percentage points (pp).  Science dipped by 0.3pp but remains 10pp higher than the CSC average.
  • Despite the improvement in boys' performance, girls continue to outperform boys in all indicators at both level 4 and level 5.  Of particular note is the improvement in Welsh, where the performance of boys increased by 17.3pp. 
  • The performance of eFSM pupils increased in all indictors, both at level 4 and level 5 and there is a greater percentage of eFSM pupils achieving outcomes at both level 4 and level 5 than in other local authorities within the region.  This has resulted in a narrowing of the gap in all indicators at level 4.  At level 4, the difference is less than the CSC average in all indicators.  At level 5 in English and Welsh, even though the performance of eFSM pupils increased, there were greater increases in the performance of nFSM pupils and this has resulted in a slight widening of the gap.
  • The difference in CSI performance between eFSM and nFSM has decreased from -12% to -6.1%.  This gap is the narrowest in the region and while this improvement is positive, it remains an area of focus.
  1. Progress in Key Stage 3:
  • At KS3 standards remain very strong, having risen yet again in all indicators.  English, mathematics and the CSI.  (Appendix 1).  The highest performing of the core subjects are Welsh (96.8%) and Science (96.3%).  The Vale of Glamorgan performed higher than all other local authorities in the CSC in all indicators.
  • The high expectations shared across the authority have significantly impacted on the rise in standards at level 6+ with an increase in all performance indicators.  The greatest improvement was seen in Welsh which has increased by 6.2pp to 72.9%.  Science continues to be the highest performing core subject (76.2%) with English now the lowest performing (69.2%).
  • There were improvements at L7+ in all subjects with further significant gains in Welsh (7pp) and English (2.8pp).  Welsh continues to be the lowest performing of the core subjects at this level but is 5pp higher than the CSC average and broadly in line with performance in English.
  • Despite improvements by boys in all indicators, girls continue to outperform boys in all key stage 3 indicators.
  • At level 5, the gap in performance between eFSM and nFSM pupils is narrower than the CSC average gap in all indicators except mathematics, which is 0.3pp wider.  At above the expected level, the gap remains too wide, despite being narrower than the CSC average gap.  Narrowing the gap above expected level between eFSM and nFSM pupils remains a key priority for improvement in the Vale.
  1. Progress at Key Stage 4 (based on provisional results):
  • Performance in the L2+ indicator increased by 6.3pp to 66.1% compared to the CSC average of 57.3% and Wales average of 60.3%.  The improvement in the Vale of Glamorgan was greater than any other local authority.  However, the performance of eFSM pupils dipped slightly and the gap has widened from 45.8pp as shown in Appendix 2.  Overall, the Vale of Glamorgan is now ranked first when compared to other local authorities in this key indicator.
  • In mathematics and numeracy, the Vale of Glamorgan was the highest performing local authority within the CSC for both.  Both subjects saw increases in performance of 4.1pp and 2.5pp respectively, resulting in an increase in the 'best of mathematics' from 67.3% in 2017 to 71.2% in 2018.  This was the highest in the region and 6.2pp higher than the CSC average.   Boys continue to outperform girls in both mathematics and numeracy.
  • English in the Vale of Glamorgan saw an increase of 5.7pp compared to a CSC average increase of 2.4pp.  Outcomes in English improved in 7 out of the 8 schools and the performance of boys increased by 9.3pp compared to a 2pp increase of girls, resulting in a reduction of the gap in performance to 6pp. 
  • The performance of Welsh language in the one Welsh medium school was strong and improved by a further 2.5pp to 83.6%; performance in Welsh was the stronger of English or Welsh. 
  • The percentage of pupils achieving 5 A*-A grades increased further from 24.8% in 2017 to 26.9% in 2018.  This is significantly higher than the CSC average of 20.4%. Of particular note is the further increase in Cowbridge where 47.9% of pupils achieved this measure.  However, there was a decrease in the percentage of eFSM pupils who achieved 5 A*-A grades.
  • Performance in the averaged capped 9 points score (which, from 2019 will become the key performance indicator) improved by 53.2 points, from 374.3 in 2017 to 427.5.  This was the highest in the CSC where the average reduced by 3.7 points.
  • At level 2, the Vale of Glamorgan's performance has provisionally increased by 1.6pp to 75.4% compared to a CSC average of 69.6%.  Following a significant drop in 2017, level 2 performance improved in 6 out of the 8 schools.
  • When considering the L2+ performance of eFSM pupils, this remains unacceptably low, with a further decrease in performance (25.9% in 2018 compared to 30.6% in 2017) resulting in a widening of the gap between eFSM and nFSM pupils.
  1. Progress at Key Stage 5:
  • The percentage of pupils achieving the level 3 threshold increased slightly from 98.1% to 98.3% (Appendix 3).  All students in Cowbridge Comprehensive School achieved the level 3 threshold again this year (Appendix 3).
  • A level performance for the local authority remained stable at 77.4% for the percentage of A*-C grades awarded but dipped by 1pp to 96.9% for A*-E grades.  The percentage of entries awarded A*-A grades improved from 26.4% in 2017 to 29.4% last academic year.  Of particular note are the improvements in Cowbridge Comprehensive School where 40.5% of grades awarded were A*-A and Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Morgannwg where an improvement of 6.8pp resulted in 34.1% of A*-A grades awarded.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. The National Categorisation process seeks to identify schools that require additional support and challenge in order that resources, particularly those of the Central South Consortium, are appropriately targeted.  The categorisation of schools is currently being reviewed to take into account 2017-2018 outcomes and to re-target resources accordingly.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. High levels of pupil attainment underpin a sustainable economy.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. End of Key Stage Assessment is a statutory obligation.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. There are no crime and disorder implications.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. There are no equal opportunity implications.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. This report supports the Vale of Glamorgan's Corporate Plan, Well-being Outcome 3: An Aspirational and Culturally Vibrant Vale, Objective 5: Raising overall standards of achievement.

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. The recommendations of this report are within existing policy framework and budget and are a matter for executive decision by Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. Not applicable

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. Learning and Culture.

Background Papers

None.

Contact Officer

Morwen Hudson, Lead Officer for School Improvement and Senior Challenge Adviser

Officers Consulted

Caryl Stokes, Central South Consortium

Richard Evans, Principal Information Officer, Learning and Skills

Responsible Officer:

Paula Ham, Director of Learning and Skills