ATTAINMENT IMPROVEMENT BOARD

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1 ITEM NO: 7 Report to: EDUCATION ATTAINMENT IMPROVEMENT BOARD Date: 1 July 2014 Reporting Officer: Subject: Report Summary: Recommendations: Links to Sustainable Community Strategy: Policy Implications: Financial Implications: (Authorised by the Borough Treasurer) Legal Implications: (Authorised by the Borough Solicitor) Heather Loveridge, Head of Education. SUPPORT FOR SCHOOLS THROUGH THE TERMLY VISIT Local Authorities have a duty to ensure early and targeted intervention and support for schools in line with the latest DfE guidance in relation to Schools Causing Concern May It is therefore imperative that the Local Authority has a good understanding and knowledge of the current position of all of its schools and that this is reviewed on a regular basis using a range of intelligence (both quantitative and qualitative). The process which has been agreed with schools is that there will be an assessment and review at the start of every term which will enable schools to be placed in one of four categories of need ranging from light touch to intensive support. By identifying schools in this systematic way, the Local Authority can intervene early to effect improvements rather than await the outcome of an Ofsted inspection or Key Stage tests/exams as a prompt to act. That Members note the contents of the report. These procedures will support the Learning elements of the Community Strategy, ensuring that all schools rapidly achieve the improvements they need to make to provide a good standard of education. The School Performance and Standards Policy has been updated to reflect the processes set out in this report and the thresholds for acceptable attainment and progress. The associated cost of any external procured support will be financed entirely by schools via their delegated section 251 budget. Council support will be delivered via the school performance and standards unit within the Education service. In May this year, the DfE updated its Guidance to Local Authorities in relation to Schools Causing Concern. Whilst the guidance substantially reflects the 2012 position, it is noticeable that the introduction to the new Guidance places a much stronger emphasis on the desirability of all schools to become Academies. An extract from the introductory statement is set out below. This statutory guidance sets out the local authority s role in relation to maintained schools that are causing concern. It sets out the importance of early intervention and of swift and robust action to tackle failure, including the use of Warning Notices and Interim Executive Boards (IEB) in maintained schools. The guidance is clear about the Government s expectation that academy status, with the support of a strong sponsor, is the best way of securing lasting improvement in these

2 circumstances. Local authorities statutory responsibilities for educational excellence are set out in section 13a of the Education Act That duty states that a local authority must exercise its education functions with a view to promoting high standards. Local authorities are discharging this duty within the context of increasing autonomy and changing accountability for schools, alongside an expectation that improvement should be led by schools themselves. Local authorities should raise any concerns they have about academy performance directly with the Department for Education. Risk Management: Access to Information : It should be noted that whilst the Council is making every effort to support schools it has no powers in relation to Academies although it is being held accountable for its performance. The performance of schools in Tameside has been a matter of concern following the publication of Sir Michael Wilshaw s annual report in December This prompted Ofsted to undertake a Focused Inspection of the Authority s schools which is reported on elsewhere. Schools are now being supported effectively and it will be vital that the momentum towards ensuring that all Tameside schools are judged as at least good must be maintained. The background papers relating to this report can be inspected by contacting Maggie Parker, School Performance and Standards Officer by: Telephone:

3 1. INTRODUCTION 1.1 The DfE Guidance document in relation to Schools Causing Concern May 2014 makes clear that the Local Authority has a duty to ensure targeted and early intervention to schools which are a cause for concern. In Tameside, individual school performance and standards reviews are undertaken with schools to investigate the school s current position and to identify any issues or risks that may be impacting on the quality of education. 1.2 In line with the new School Performance and Standards Policy, and through analysis of Ofsted Inspection outcomes, the School Performance and Standards team now grade the level of support required by schools through a termly visit process to ensure that targeted support is put in place. 2. CONSIDERATIONS 2.1 A Grading Visit Form has been developed by the School Performance and Standards team to be used in their termly assessments of all Primary Schools in Tameside. Meetings with Headteachers are booked in advance and a fixed agenda is followed by officers to ascertain the school s current position and to ensure judgments are robust. There is a sharing of intelligence between Officers and Headteachers before reaching mutual agreement about the Grade (Appendix A). 2.2 Schools can be graded in one of four categories: Category 1 schools: (outstanding schools) These schools will be considered as very light touch schools. They may choose to commission support from the local authority or commission an external provider in order to validate internal judgements from monitoring and evaluation exercises. These schools should be able to support other schools by sharing expertise and practice. The governing bodies of these schools may also wish to offer support on governance models to other schools. Category 2 schools (good schools consolidating and making progress) Schools in this category will be considered as light touch. These schools may choose to commission support from the local authority or from an external provider in order to support school improvement. These schools may also be able to support other schools by sharing expertise and practice. These schools will be striving to be judged as outstanding schools by Ofsted. Category 3A schools (termly visits for RI schools improving at the expected rate) Schools in this category have the potential to be judged as good at the next inspection and are unlikely to be classified as vulnerable by the local authority. A termly monitoring visit will be undertaken by a member of the School Standards and Performance team. These will focus on achievement, quality of teaching, behaviour and safety and/or leadership and management to quality assure the school s judgements. Category 3A schools may wish to receive support from Category 1 or 2 schools. Category 3B schools: (at least half termly visits for RI schools declining or vulnerable) These schools are very likely to be identified as vulnerable by the local authority. Schools in this category will receive support and challenge, which will be directly focused on the results of either the most recent Ofsted judgment or of the School Performance and Standards Review carried out by local authority officers. Monitoring visits will focus on achievement, quality of teaching, behaviour and safety and leadership and management. Support may be provided by the School Standards and Performance team or externally as and when necessary. Governors will be expected to undertake appropriate training to further support them in their role as critical friends. In some cases, it will be necessary to put an interim

4 strategic group in place. These schools will receive a letter from the local authority advising them that they are a vulnerable school. Category 4 schools: (intensive support for schools in danger of requiring special measures) These schools will be identified as vulnerable by the local authority and will be classified as schools causing local concern. Schools in this category will receive support and challenge which will be directly focused on the results of either the school s most recent Ofsted judgement or the School Performance and Standards Review carried out by the School Standards and Performance team. Half termly monitoring visits will focus on achievement, quality of teaching, behaviour and safety and leadership and management. Support will be provided either through the local authority School Standards and Performance team, a national leader of education or expertise from another local authority. With the support of the local authority, governors will be expected to commission an external view of the school selfevaluation and agree to training, to further support them in their role. In some cases it will be necessary to put an interim strategic group in place. These schools will receive a vulnerable schools letter from the local authority. 2.3 Discussions take place around the following: Purpose of the meeting and introductions where necessary; Staffing and senior leadership team (newly qualified teacher s/overall experience and capacity); Data review of attainment and progress including Early Years Foundation Stage, KS1 and KS2; Vulnerable groups; Pupil Premium expenditure evaluation; Sports Premium Expenditure - evaluation; Governance; Parents/Parent View; Budget position; Agreed judgement; and Any other business. 2.4 This visit leads to a costed Improvement Plan in which training and support is clearly identified using officers and external quality assured consultants to meet their individual school improvement needs. Academies can purchase a support programme from the local authority with access to a School Performance and Standards Officer who will support and monitor the school s progress. 2.5 Details of the support being offered to schools is set out in half termly Action Plans that also evaluate the impact of the interventions. Colleagues support each other in providing interventions and training to ensure they have the appropriate skill sets to make a measurable difference primarily in Requiring Improvement (RI) schools, or those in danger of going into RI (3a and 3b schools). 2.6 Links with the Hawthorns Teaching Alliance have led to a successful bid for National Leader of Education funding for 11 of our RI schools. We have appointed a lead officer to oversee the effective deployment of this funding to improve our schools, and this will form part of the Improvement Plan for those schools. 3. EVALUATION 3.1 The evaluation of training and support will take place at a number of levels. Ultimately, the success of the more bespoke training with RI schools and those schools at risk of becoming RI will be judged on the number of schools getting to good.

5 3.2 Longer term training such as that provided through the National Leader of Education expenditure and middle leader training will be carefully evaluated not only at the end of training sessions (for satisfaction) but also through the impact of the training on their learning and how this is then transferred to the school setting. A number of case studies could be produced to evidence wider impact. The impact of training will be monitored by School Standards and Performance officers in their termly visits. 4. FUNDING FOR ADDITIONAL SUPPORT 4.1 School improvement plans will be financially evaluated on an individual school basis. Schools will not be recharged for the provision of any bespoke school performance and standards officer support, however schools will be required to finance any external support or advice procured. General training will be charged to schools at a cost of 95 per course which is inclusive of all associated Council related expenditure. 5. RECOMMENDATIONS 5.1 As stated on the report cover.

6 SCHOOL PERFORMANCE AND STANDARDS UNIT School / Academy Visit Record APPENDIX A Name of School / Academy: School DfE Number: Headteacher: LA SPSO Officer: Date of visit: Visit Ref: Chair of Governors: Time of visit: Meeting with: Date of last S5 Ofsted Visit: 1 2 3a 3b 4 Focus of visit: First Meeting to Enable Evaluation of The School The judgement for the designation that will be assigned to the school with the LA will be based upon the following: The strength of the school s leadership team, based upon length of service, experience and capacity. The judgement that has been given by Ofsted in the most recent inspection / monitoring visit. The continuous standards of achievement or performance of pupils, especially vulnerable groups of pupils. Standards of governance. The financial viability of the school. The capacity and maintenance of accommodation The demographic and contextual situation Parental confidence Percentage of pupil places that are filled. Judgement Categories: 1 Ofsted Graded Outstanding - Light Touch 2 Ofsted Graded Good - Light Touch 3a RI Improving 3b RI declining or vulnerable 4 In need of intensive support A Data sheet has been populated with the following information and sent in advance of the meeting: 2 year trend KS2 and KS1 and EYFS Number of pupils on roll Number of school places when full (admissions) Performance of SEND (2 year trend) Performance of PP Performance of CLA A Governor Report has been populated with the following information and sent in advance of the meeting: Chair Of Governors Number of Governors on the Governing body Governor Vacancies Who Provides Governor Clerking Service GEL Registrations for whole of the Governing Body (since Sept 2013) Number of training sessions attended Comment from Last Ofsted report regarding governance Tameside Local Authority, Tameside Education Service, School Performance and Standards Unit 27 June 2014

7 SCHOOL PERFORMANCE AND STANDARDS UNIT School / Academy Visit Record APPENDIX A Review of actions from previous visit: Summary of visit: During the visit, the following were discussed in detail: Analysis of Parentview online to provide feedback on parental confidence. Details regarding Pupil Premium spending and impact statement on website. The continued capacity of school leadership The last Ofsted judgement Review of accommodation Budget details deficit / carried forward. Comments from the last audit report Summary of key observations / actions agreed: Progress towards last Ofsted inspection improvement points Headteacher s Comments: Date of next visit: Signed (LA SPSO): Tameside Local Authority, Tameside Education Service, School Performance and Standards Unit 27 June 2014

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