A comprehensive Annual Schools’ Performance Report for the school year 2016-17 is attached at Appendix 1. This report provides the results at each key stage for maintained schools and academies. It also includes information on attendance and exclusions for 2015-16, the latest school year for which national data has been published and the provisional exclusions data for 2016-17.
The Committee received a report which provided a comprehensive overview of schools’ performance in Medway for the school year 2016-17. The report provided the Committee with the results at each Key Stage for maintained schools and academies, in addition to information on attendance and exclusions for 2015-16 and provisional exclusion data for 2016-17.
The Director of Children and Adults Services noted that the Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC), Dominic Herrington, was not present at the meeting to answer any questions the Committee might have regarding Medway’s academies, this was due to bereavement. The Chairman noted that the RSC would attend the Committee on 5 June.
The School Challenge and Improvement Leads outlined two programmes of activity to improve inclusion and attainment. Firstly, the Committee was advised that the 13 day inclusion programme had been implemented and included:
1) working with a national training provider to develop Teaching Assistants;
2) training Inclusion Leaders and Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators (SENCOs) to identify children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), understand the needs of these children and ensuring Education and Health Care Plans (EHCPs) were high quality;
3) instilling alternative behaviour management strategies within schools; and
4) assisting schools to manage multi agencies.
The second programme outlined by the School Challenge and Improvement Lead was a transition programme. This programme addressed the transition between Key Stage 2 and 3 with particular reference to vulnerable children.
Members raised a number of points and questions including:
· Inclusion programme – In response to a concern regarding the short length of the inclusion training programme for what was considered by a Member to be a complex issue, the School Challenge and Improvement Lead advised the Committee that the classroom teaching spanned six days, but as part of the programme, Inclusion Leaders would visit centres of excellence. Inclusion Leaders would also shadow effective leaders in schools that are outstanding for inclusion.
· Techniques to reduce exclusion – In response to a question about techniques employed within schools to reduce exclusion, the School Challenge and Improvement Lead explained to the Committee that the inclusion programme encouraged the use of a variety of different approaches to meet a child’s specific needs, including time out and time away from peers. She added that the School Challenge and Improvement Team were encouraging schools to think more deeply about the reasons for the behaviour expressed by a child and as a result of this analysis schools were encouraged to motivate an appropriate response.
· Early intervention – In response to a question concerning the support provided for children identified as at high risk of exclusion, the Director of Children and Adults Services stressed the importance of support outside school including access to early help programmes.
· Coasting schools – Asked by a Member what help was available to coasting schools identified within the report, the Committee was advised that one coasting school was maintained by the Local Authority, the remainder were academies. The School Challenge and Improvement Lead also advised the Committee that officers had liaised with the RSC who had met with the individual schools and Multi Academy Trusts to challenge performance. The performance of the school maintained by the Local Authority had also been challenged.
· Key Stage 2 – Referring to the improvements in performance made by girls and children with Special Educational Needs, a Member asked what could be learnt. In response, the Committee was advised that a range of training opportunities had been provided to schools to bring them together more coherently and those schools were being facilitated and supported to work closely together. Over the last two years this had resulted in improvements.
The Committee thanked the School Challenge and Improvement Leads and noted the Annual Schools’ Performance Report set out at Appendix 1 to the report.