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Agenda item

2018 Education Performance Outcomes


Councillor Watson, Deputy Leader, introduced the report, highlighting to Members that the reports were unvalidated so may be subject to minor changes. In most instances, Rotherham pupils performed better than the national average. There were still concerns about the achievement of disadvantaged pupils and pupils from Gypsy, Roma and Travellers (GRT) communities as outlined.


It was reported that the influence of the Local Authority was limited as the majority of schools in Rotherham are now academies. However, since the appointment of the Assistant Director in the summer, the Rotherham Education Strategic Partnership has been established. This has brought together the local authority, multi-academy trusts, special schools, teaching alliances, sixth form and further education colleges and the university campus to identify synergies and areas of mutual support.


The reports outlined areas of concerns; which included the new performance measures in Mathematics and English, which had not met expectations. This was a pattern that had been noted in other local authorities. Further reference was made of progress scores and future prediction of results based on Key Stage 2 performance.


The proportion of pupils attending a good or better Rotherham school was 78% as at July 2018 compared to 66% in August 2012. The proportion of Rotherham schools judged as good or better was 81% as at July 2018 compared to 66% in August 2012; this compared to the national average of 86% as at July 2018. The gap to the national average is 5%.


OFSTED have introduced changes to the statistical reporting of inspection outcomes from June 2018. This has resulted in our proportion of good or better schools decreasing by 2% which is in line with the national average decrease.


Performance at Key Stages was summarised as follows:


·           Performance in the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP) for a ‘Good Level of Development’ (GLD) has continued to rise and was, again, above the national average (by 1.4% in 2018).

·           In Phonics, the percentage of pupils passing the phonics screening check in year 1 increased by 2% to 81% in 2018.

·           In KS1, 65% of pupils met the expected standard (EXS+) in reading, writing and mathematics (R,W&M) combined in 2018, compared to 64% in 2017. Rotherham has improved by 1% and was in line with the national average at 65.4%.

·           In KS2, 61.5% of pupils met the EXS+ in R,W&M combined in 2018, compared to 60.8% in 2017. Rotherham improved by 0.7% and is 2.5% below the national average. In the higher standard (HS) for R,W&M combined at KS2, Rotherham improved by 1.1% to 8.2%; this was 1.7% below the national average at 9.9%.

·           In 2018, the average KS1-KS2 progress score for Rotherham LA in reading was -0.6 (sig-), in writing was +0.7 (sig+) and in maths was +0.0. The progress measure in reading was identified as significantly below the national average; the progress in writing was identified as significantly above the national average.

·           At KS4, the average Attainment 8 score per pupil decreased by 1.7 points to 43.3 in 2018. The national average increased by 0.1 points to 46.5 (state funded i.e. LA maintained schools, academies and free schools) and decreased by 0.3 points to 44.3 (all schools including the independent sector). The LA average is 3.2 points below the national average (state-funded schools) and 1.0 point below the national average (all schools).


Discussion ensued with the following issues raised:-


What plans were in place to address the under-attainment of Gypsy, Roma and Travellers (GRT) Pupils and how would progress be measured?


-          Using the Virtual School model, advisors would work with the relatively small number of schools with the highest proportion of GRT pupils to develop personal education plans with smart targets.


-          As part of the Eastwood Deal, partners were seeking focussed improvements for GRT pupils. A number of schools have met and a strategic plan was being developed. Best practice has been examined including those authorities which have had much better performance in this area.


-          The Cabinet Member was confident that there was capacity within the Virtual School to undertake this work without compromising its focus on looked after children. It was highlighted that progress would be measured through academic performance and the SMART targets in personal education plans, and evidenced within the annual reporting of results.


Were productive partnerships in place with Multi- Academy Trusts (MATs)


-          The Assistant Director outlined that MATs are changing entities, with partnerships evolving accordingly. The challenge was to work MATs, who are not statutorily obliged to co-operate with the Local Authority, to encourage them to partake in support as appropriate. The Strategic Director and Assistant Director were to meet with the Regional School Commissioner (RSC), who has statutory powers to work with MATs, to discuss how the LA and MATs can work more collaboratively. Examples were given of partnership working in primary schools to share good practice, with evidence of improvements as a result of these interventions.


What steps would be taken to support an academy trust school which was judged to be inadequate?


-          When an academy trust school is deemed to be failing, the RSC would investigate and formulate an action plan as appropriate. If the school was part of a MAT, the MAT were obliged to support improvement. The academy could determine where it sought support, with reference to the RSC. Whilst not statutorily obliged to provide support, the LA would seek to maintain influence and work to support wherever possible. Assurance was given of the willingness of headteachers and Trust Chief Executives to work with the LA to achieve the best outcomes for Rotherham children and address under performance.


What work was underway to boost the performance of more able pupils?


-          It was highlighted that not enough of Rotherham’s high performing students were attending elite universities (which was also reflected regionally). Social and economic reasons were cited, along with lower aspirations of young people and families. Focussed work had been undertaken to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils over the past five years, however the service had examined the attainment of different cohorts, including higher performing students to ensure that the pathways were in place to access high level apprenticeships or university education.


How will the new University Campus Rotherham (UCR) be linked to the Skills Plan and the education sector as a whole and how will the results be monitored?


-          The courses offered are linked to the local employment and skills agenda. The University College have links to local business organisations; the Advanced Manufacturing Park and larger employers and schools.


-          Work was also underway via the Virtual School to ensure that looked after children had access to these opportunities. Two local employers are sponsoring care leavers through university and there are plans to widen this initiative should it be proved to be successful.


In respect of the bullet points listed under the section “What needs to happen”, further details were asked of the actions underpinning each of the following key points:


-          The need for the LA to continue to endeavour to maintain or re-establish positive links and effective communication with all of Rotherham’s educational providers so that all schools retain a sense of belonging to a Rotherham-wide learning community

-          To increase the number of pupils attending (Ofsted) good or outstanding schools and increase the number of good or outstanding schools in Rotherham

-          Reducing the gap between the achievement of Gypsy Roma Traveller (GRT) and disadvantaged pupils when compared to other pupils needs to be improved in all phases of education.

-          In KS1 and KS2, pupils need to secure further gains in reading at both EXS+ and HS in order to close the gap to the national average.

-          Ensure that libraries (through Culture, Sport and Tourism) link into education to help improve reading across the authority

-          Make significant improvements in Key Stage 2 mathematics in order to address the decline at both the expected and higher standard in 2018.

-          Boosting the performance of our more able pupils must continue to be a high priority.

-          Improve the performance in new key measures at KS4 in particular in English and mathematics

-          Ensure we link University College Rotherham (UCR - the new HE campus) to the skills plan and education sector more closely.


A commitment was given to providing a detailed action plan for a future meeting.


What were the plans for other cohort of disadvantaged pupils and to monitor pupil premium spend?


-          Each school reports its spend in relation to pupil premium and this information is published on school websites.  Spend in relation to Pupil Premium Plus was reported through the Annual Report of the Virtual School.


-          In relation to other cohorts, disadvantaged boys particularly those in receipt of free school meals, were a priority for many schools. However the LA could not place schools under an obligation to produce action plans to improve performance in this area. 


-          An evaluation would be undertaken of the initiatives to close the gap amongst disadvantaged students.  Reference was made to the Key Actions in Response to Identified Priorities for Improvement (Closing the Gap) listed in Appendix 3 and a commitment was given to provide a further report 


RESOLVED:  (1)  That Improving Lives Select Committee notes the recommendations to Cabinet that the contents of the report are noted to ensure that Cabinet is fully informed of the latest provisional un-validated education outcomes in Rotherham for 2018.


(2)  That a further report is submitted in six months’ time, with detailed analyses of:


·           actions taken to “Close the Gap”;

·           action plans underpinning the section “What needs to happen” and how progress against these actions is monitored;

·           actions to boost the progress of more able pupils and how this is monitored.


(3)  That the Regional Schools Commissioner is invited to a future meeting of this Committee.

(4)  That the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services and Neighbourhood Working be requested to organise a visit to University College Rotherham for Members of this Committee.

Supporting documents: