The Annual Schools’ Performance Report for the school year 2017-18 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 2016-17, the latest school year for which national data has been published and the provisional exclusions data for 2017-18.
This report is designed to give Members, Overview and Scrutiny, head teachers, parents and governors an overview of pupil performance in Medway schools and to show comparative performance with schools in other Local Authorities.
The Head of Education introduced the report which provided validated date relating to each Key Stage for all schools and provided information on attendance and exclusions. The Deputy Director from the Regional Schools Commissioner’s (RSC) Office was also present for this item and expressed his thanks to the local authority for the collaborative working between the two agencies.
Members then raised a number of questions and comments, which included:
· Attainment of Pupil Premium Students – in response to a question about the gap in attainment between students eligible for pupil premium funding and those that are not, the Deputy Director from the RSC Office confirmed that this was an area of focus and academies were supported in putting in appropriate strategies to address the issue, with a clear Leadership and Governance focus. The School Challenge and Improvement Lead added that School Leaders were very conscious of the various groups of young people in their school and that the gap at Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 4 had narrowed at a faster rate than previously. Identification of pupil premium children as they start school was key and there were good innovative practices in relation to this which were being shared with colleagues across schools. The point was also made that to fully address underperformance for this cohort of children, development in the community was required to support these children and young people in all settings.
· Children not in education, employment and training (NEETs) – in response to a question about the statistics relating to NEETs, the Deputy Director, Children and Adults explained that performance had recently improved significantly with the total number of young people who were NEET or destination not known now being at 6.5%, which was attributable to targeted work in monitoring young people and with schools, since bringing the IAG service back in house.
· Coasting schools – in relation to a comment about coasting schools the Deputy Director from the RSC Office confirmed that this was no longer a definition used to define intervention but would instead be used as a measure to trigger additional support for coasting schools.
· Collaborative working on school improvement – officers were asked to provide more detail in how the local authority and the RSC office work together in supporting schools to improve performance. Officers confirmed that collaborative working took place with clear lines of communication and respectful two way challenge between both departments. Meetings, as well as conference calls took place to ensure good dialogue took place in working together to support schools requiring rapid improvement. The point was made that maintained schools generally outperformed academies in the primary sector and in response the Deputy Director from the RSC Office confirmed that a number of academies had been converted because of poor performance and were now catching up on performance, with many having started from a lower base line..
· School data that reflects challenges – concern was raised about how school performance data was provided which did not necessarily reflect the challenges of particular schools, for example, those with very high numbers of children with special educational needs or high levels of pupil premium. Officers undertook to consider ways of better reflecting this in future reports.
· Performance gaps in relation to ethnicity – comment was made about the underperformance of white boys. In response the School Challenge and Improvement Lead explained that quality first teaching was key, along with ensuring curriculums were purposeful and motivating.
The Committee noted the report and thanked the Deputy Director from the Regional Schools Commissioner’s Office for his attendance.