Report of the Joint Directors of Education
Pat Fielding, Joint Director of Education, delivered a presentation to accompany the detailed report.
The report considered the academic attainment of children and young people within the City between the ages of four and 18 years old, including the performance of special educational needs (SEN) and children in care (CiC), updating the Board on the outcomes for children and young people during 2015 in the current priorities and actions to improve outcomes.
The following points were highlighted:
(a) there has been an overall and continuing improvement in the achievement of children and young people within the city;
(b) the attainment gap between advantaged and disadvantage pupils continues but is reducing in early years pupils, with the City Council ranking 136 out of 152 local authorities;
(c) pupils often enter school with below the expected levels of communication but improve slowly as they progress through the school;
(d) the attainment of disadvantaged pupils, gauged by those receiving free school meals, is better than the national average of disadvantaged pupils, with progress exceeding the national average in Key Stage 2;
(e) the longer pupils remain within the same school the better their improvement;
(f) the attainment of pupils aged 11 years old (Key Stage 4), ranks approximately 11% lower against other local authorities and educational partners;
(g) some of the more vulnerable groups, including those with special educational needs, are progressing particularly well although secondary school age children in care are not progressing at the same rate;
(h) it is known that a high proportion of high performing pupils moved out of the City to County secondary schools so the improvement of their attainment cannot be counted within City;
(i) Nottingham remains the eighth most deprived educational area nationally.
Comments from Board members included:
(j) despite tireless working to reverse the trend, the figures show desperation of the situation within the City;
(k) it’s a concern that there may be duplication of initiatives as many schools continue to convert to academies and do not maintain the same level of communication with the Local Authority;
(l) the focus on attendance has been particularly successful during the past few years and is an ideal example of how combined efforts can work successfully;
(m) working to celebrate children’s achievement in maths and championing greatness of maths in schools while working to embed a positive culture around maths would help promote engagement and enthusiasm for the subject. The focus of the pupil improvement board on maths is welcomed;
(n) recruitment of appropriate teaching staff is one of the biggest barriers for schools and academies within the City as the challenges which align with deprivation are not attractive;
(o) the negative publicity of schools being placed in special measures by OFSTED hasn’t helped recruiting, which is an issue nationally;
(p) improving partnership working and co-ordination between academies and the local authority would be beneficial to retaining and recruiting appropriate teachers;
(q) all options should be considered to ensure that the City can provide a good offer which will attract teachers into the City;
(r) it is frustrating that whilst many children enter school further behind in basic skills than the national average, the work and resources focused on these children, who do improve, cannot be counted when pupils move to County schools. This means that secondary schools are not working with the full cohort of secondary school aged children;
(s) there’s been a huge investment in parenting within City but the beneficial effects of this will take time to become apparent.
RESOLVED to note the report.