Attending for this item were:
Nicola Jones, School Improvement Lead, Babcock Prime
Sarah Wilkins, Director of Education and Early Help, Worcestershire Children First
The Panel was asked to consider a summary of the educational outcomes for children and young people in Worcestershire schools for 2019. Members were reminded that, from 1 June 2020, staff currently working for Babcock Prime would be transferring to Worcestershire Children First.
During the discussion, the following main points were made:
· Across the board, results showed very little difference between attainment in maintained schools and academies. For Early Learning Goals, maintained schools were showing a more rapid improvement.
· At Key Stage 1, schools in Worcestershire were achieving in line with national results.
· At Key Stage 2, Worcestershire schools were achieving below national results. Although there had been some improvement, there had also been improvements nationally. The gap had decreased but needed to narrow faster.
· In response to a question about the difference in attainment between boys and girls, Members were informed that national trends were replicated in Worcestershire, with more able boys doing better than more able girls. It was agreed that further details on this would be circulated following the meeting.
· In response to a question about attainment in each district council area at Key Stage 2, the Panel was informed that Bromsgrove, Malvern and Worcester City achieved above the national average whereas Redditch, Wyre Forest and Wychavon achieved below the national average. There were similar trends in the Early Years.
· It was confirmed that there was no clear split on achievement between 2-tier and 3-tier areas. Achievement levels very much depended on how schools worked together.
· It was agreed that further details of attainment levels broken down by district council area would be circulated to the Panel, once validated data was available.
· It was confirmed that the County had good models of collaboration between schools (for example, in Bromsgrove) but imposing a model of working on other areas was unlikely to be successful. It was part of the way forward to have a community approach and this would be developed using the existing district briefings.
· To date, the focus of work at Key Stage 2 had been on reading and mathematics. This had started to have an impact and there was now a need to include writing in the focus.
· Schools had been assessed as being in one of five categories according to the amount of support they needed. Members were informed that the model for support had recently changed and schools in Category 3 were now able to access training free of charge. Support was either bespoke to an individual school or group of schools, and take up and engagement had already improved. The peer-to-peer model aimed to bring schools together to work with a School Improvement Adviser.
· Since 1 September, all maintained schools had access to a School Improvement Adviser. Members were reminded that school improvement would take time. Ofsted reports were now recognising where the School Improvement Service was making a difference.
· Early identification of poorly performing schools had been improved by holding monthly ‘schools at risk’ meetings, giving the full picture of intelligence around the school. The service had got better at finding out what was happening in schools, including academies. It was confirmed that category 1/2 schools would have access to a School Improvement Adviser for 2 days per year and had the option to buy in further support if necessary.
· A question was asked about the new Ofsted framework and it was noted that the reports would be much more parent friendly. It was suggested that a consequence of the new framework was that verbal feedback would become critical. Furthermore, it was suggested that it would be much more difficult for a school to be judged as ‘outstanding’ under the new framework.
The Panel agreed that it was happy with the progress being made in school improvement. It was agreed that, once 2019 performance data was validated, the Panel would be sent:
· Details of attainment at KS2 for writing, reading and maths split by boys and girls;
· Details of attainment by district council area.