Agenda item

Annual Report on School Performance for the Academic Year 2021 to 2022




The Head of Service, Education introduced the report which summarised the activities in Medway’s schools to raise achievement during the academic year 2021-22. It was clarified that the data in the report in relation to testing was for the period of 2019/20, prior to the Covid 19 Pandemic as there was no testing of pupil outcomes and exams between 2019 and 2021.


Data – In response to questions on why the report presented 2019 data, the officer said that the report was written using Census data which was currently in arrears. There was some up to date data available online, but the Department for Education (DfE) was however clear that the data set was yet to be officially cleared and published. It was not reliable and should not be considered at local authority or national level and the data could not be used to hold schools to account until they had been finalised.


It was further asked why the report presented data on exclusions from 2016 to which the officer responded that the data went that far back in order to illustrate a period of time and to present a clear picture and trend. The important analysis was to identify that whilst instances of permanent exclusions remained below national average, pupil suspension on secondary schools remained above national average and was an area of concern.


It was asked that data contained in the report which included non-Medway pupils be stripped back and for data to be provided that was Medway specific on pupil ethnicity by school phase.


Absence – it was commented that absence and persistent absence remained high in Medway, with a pre pandemic figure of 13.8%. The officer said that gathering data on absence continued to be a priority. The data presented was gathered from the census and was 2 years in arrears. Medway still experienced difficulties with high instances of absence and an attendance alliance had been set up to collaborate with schools across Medway and Kent to tackle this issue. Persistent absence was a national priority for all authorities as post pandemic, figures remained high.


Key Stage 5 – it was commented that achievement was below national average, and it was asked what was being done at the end of secondary school education to support pupils to ensure they were able to move onto further education, employment, or training. The elevated levels of Special Education Mental Health (SEMH) pupils in Pupil Referral Units was a concern and this may be attributed to the historical wider issues with mental health support. It was also asked what was being done to improve outcomes for that cohort. The officer confirmed that a Post 16 review had been commissioned working with education leaders, and officers were in the process of analysis and evaluation of the information gathered in order to devise strategies to improve outcomes for young people, as well as meet their aspirations through the breadth of offer available. The safety valve intervention programme sought to work identify specialist provision and resources for pupils with SEND as well as those with SEMH and a wider spectrum of needs. It was envisaged, as made clear by the DfE for Pupil Referral Units, to have a greater involvement in SEND due to an increase in need and to provide resource for pupils with SEMH. This work would be reported as it progressed.


Special Educational Needs and Disabilities – it was asked if schools received adequate support from the Local Authority to prevent instances of suspension and exclusions from schools. The officer said that this was an area of focus for the department and was part of the safety valve intervention programme. Some schools had an extensive range of resources in place to support pupils with SEND whilst others did not. The aim was for all schools to have a dedicated range of resources in place to support a range of intervention. Through the trauma informed work and thrive approach, partners were working collaboratively on the core offer that children with SEND would receive in

schools to ensure uniformity across providers, this included strengthening commission plans and routes of accountability.


English Baccalaureate (EBacc) - The principle of directing pupils to a mix of qualifications may work better in selective than non-selective schools and it was asked if this pathway had a serious impact on outcomes, in particular in non-selective schools. The officer said that there were various pathways of studies that young people could take, the traditional pathway of GCSE or other pathways such as vocational routes or specialised routes. Schools worked extensively to provide different pathways for pupils who may not want to embark on the traditional GCSE routes, with the vocational routes often leading to apprenticeships. There were various vocational pathways that led back to A-level studies should a pupil decide to change their pathways later into higher education. Whilst EBacc was a measure, there were also other measures of pupil outcomes.


Regional Schools Director (RSD) - It was commented that the report highlighted concerns in all areas of education, and it was important that the Committee’s comments be conveyed to the RSD. The officer confirmed that they met with the RSD on a termly basis and shared analysis. The concerns raised by the Committee would be conveyed to the RSD.




The Committee noted the Annual Schools Performance report.


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