Agenda Item No. 5












Cabinet was informed of school performance in external examinations in 2014.


Our ambition was that educational outcomes were the best in Wales and matched those of the most successful authorities in England with similar socioeconomic profiles.


External GCSE examinations were undertaken by pupils at the end of Key Stage 4, in the core subjects of English, Maths and Science as well as in the non-core subjects.  A levels were undertaken at the end of Key Stage 5.


Key Stage 4


There were many successes to report with reference to KS4 attainment this year. Provisionally the Vale of Glamorgan was ranked 2nd highest in Wales with an overall performance at Level 2+ of 62.2%.  This was a 6.8% rise in performance from 55.4% in 2013 with improved performance at all eight comprehensive schools on this performance measure.


Two schools had performance amongst the highest in Wales at level 2+  Cowbridge was  2nd in Wales with 85% of students achieving 5 A*- C grades including English and mathematics, and Stanwell was ranked 4th in Wales with 82% of students achieving this outcome.


A breakdown of the overall results (Appendix 1) indicated that with the exception of the L1 Threshold which had decreased by 0.6 pt to 94% and L2 Welsh which had decreased from 83% to 79%, all other indicators had significantly increased. 


Appendix 2 attached to the report provided the performance for individual schools in the Vale of Glamorgan (provisional data only).  This demonstrated some significant gains and very little deteriorations .It also included information about benchmarked performance which compared the performance of schools with that of other schools with similar proportions of pupils entitled to free school meals. 


Appendix 3 attached to the report provided comparative information with Wales based on provisional data for WJEC entries only. This indicated a 1.2pt increase in the percentage of students achieving A*/A from 22.7% in 2013 to 23.9% in 2014 compared with the National average rise of 0.2pt. For A*-C grades there was a 3.9pt increase in attainment from 67% in 2013 to 70.9% in 2014.


The proportion of pupils entitled to a free school meal who achieved the L2+ threshold in the Vale was lower in 2014 (29.9%) compared with 32.5% in 2013 Appendix 4 attached to the report.  The gap between the performance of pupils entitled to free school meals and those who were not widened on this measure of performance from 27.4% to 38.2%. 


Key Stage 5


Appendix 5 attached to the report showed the school level A Level profile; with all but one school showing an increase in the Level 3 with the exception of St Cyres whilst still performing at 98% was 1pt lower than 2013.


Appendix 6 attached to the report was based on provisional data for WJEC entries only.  It showed the A and AS level performance profile set against the all Wales means; grade proportions for AS levels showed a decrease in A and A*- C with a marginal increase in A* to E.


A Level performance at A* saw a marginal decrease (0.1%) whilst proportions at grade A and A* to C observed an increase of 1.2 and 1.5 respectively.


Schools Causing Concern


The three schools in receipt of formal warning letters in 2013 had all improved pupil attainment with Llantwit Major and St Cyres making very good progress and no longer being subject to a warning letter.  Both Llantwit Major and St Cyres responded positively to the challenge and support provided.  Their substantial progress had been underpinned by increasingly strong self-evaluation by the Governing Body and senior leadership team, focussed and strong leadership by the Headteacher and effective use of the challenge and support provided by the Central South Consortium.


Barry Comprehensive School had improved its pupil attainment but progress continued to be insufficient and intervention had proceeded. In the event that this intervention had not demonstrated any impact by the summer, we would, at that juncture, consider the establishment of an Interim Executive Board to replace the Governing Body: any such proposal at that time would be the subject of formal consultation with the governing body.


The Council would continue to work closely with the Central South Consortium Joint Education Service to monitor individual school progress.


This was a matter for Executive decision




(1)          T H A T the attainment at Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 in 2014 be noted and the schools that had achieved significant improvement be formally congratulated in writing, given their hard work in achieving, their attainment at Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 in 2014.


(2)       T H A T it be noted that in accordance with the School Standards and Organisation Act (2013) Llantwit Major and St Cyres Comprehensive Schools were no longer subject to a formal warning letter, therefore, the Scrutiny School Progress meetings were no longer required to take place and the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) was to be thanked for its work undertaken during this process.


(3)       T H A T it be noted that formal intervention powers had been used in relation to Barry Comprehensive School.


(4)       T H A T the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) be requested to set up an individual school progress meeting with Bryn Hafren Comprehensive and Barry Comprehensive School and closely monitor the progress of the Accelerated Improvement Board in Barry Comprehensive School.


Reasons for decisions


(1)       To note the attainment at Key Stages 4 and 5 in 2014, and congratulate the relevant schools on their attainment.


(2)       To note that Llantwit Major and St Cyres comprehensive Schools previously in receipt of formal warning notices have made rapid progress and there was therefore no need for local authority intervention.


(3)       To note that although progress had been made by the school it was insufficient to meet all the agreed targets.


(4)       To ensure processes were in place to hold schools to account for the quality of education provided.




Attached as Appendix – Report to Cabinet – 3 NOVEMBER 2014