DRAFT BRACKNELL FOREST POLICY for THE QUALITY ASSURANCE AND IMPROVEMENT OF SCHOOLS

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1 DRAFT BRACKNELL FOREST POLICY for THE QUALITY ASSURANCE AND IMPROVEMENT OF SCHOOLS JANUARY 2015 Version 2 Children, Young People and Learning Bracknell Forest Policy for the quality assurance and improvement of schools DRAFT Policy for quality assurance and school improvement January 2015 V2 1

2 1. Statement of purpose, legislation and definitions 1.2. Bracknell Forest Council s vision is that every school will be a good school, delivering a broad and balanced curriculum, recognising talents and achievements and encouraging children and young people in the pursuit of life-long learning The Council works in partnership with school leaders, governors and other stakeholders to secure the continued improvement of all schools and other educational provision, recognising that improvement should be led by schools themselves within a framework of support and accountability The responsibilities of the Local Authority are defined by statute. This document describes the agreed application of the legislation and best practice within Bracknell Forest schools, academies and other educational provision Annual evaluation of this policy will provide evidence to local and national stakeholders, enabling them to hold the Local Authority (LA) to account for the quality of education provided in Bracknell Forest schools The focus for LA support is published in the strategic plan for children and young people 1, a working document reviewed annually and modified in response to an analysis of schools needs and standards attained by pupils The key legislation is Section 13A of the Education Act 1996 (in full in appendix x) which gives LAs a Duty to promote high standards and fulfilment of potential ensuring education functions - promote high standards, - ensure fair access to opportunity for education and training, and - promote the fulfilment of learning potential In relation to young people of compulsory school age or up to the age of 25 for those with a learning difficulty assessment. The Education Act 2011 acknowledges that schools governors, headteachers and teachers - are responsible for their own school improvement and gives LAs a strategic role - as champions for parents, families and vulnerable pupils by promoting a good supply of strong schools - in ensuring fair access for each child - supporting maintained schools performing below floor standards to improve quickly and to develop their own school improvement strategies - ensuring there is support for schools increasingly to collaborate - providing information and training to Governors and make the instrument of Government for all maintained schools. Section 44 of the Education Act 2005 relates to schools causing concern and Part 4 of the 2006 Act to schools that are eligible for intervention. 1 Creating Opportunities A Joint Strategic Plan for Children and Young People in Bracknell Forest DRAFT Policy for quality assurance and school improvement January 2015 V2 2

3 The Academies Act The approach taken by Bracknell Forest 2.1 Principles The relationship between school staff and governors, LA officers and elected members is based on a professional dialogue that aims to maximise young people s life chances through keeping the achievement and well-being of children and young people at it s heart; the LA will maintain good relationships with all schools in the borough including academies and work effectively with them all Established and transparent data and evidence-based criteria are used which are applied fairly Accepting that there is always room for improvement, even in the best schools as part of continuous improvement and ambition Quality assurance aims to empower schools through providing a reliable and trusted local assessment in order to validate their internal self-assessments, building school capacity to take increasing leadership for improvement Quality assurance is focused on identifying potential difficulties in schools early so as to intervene and support preventatively whenever possible. 2.2 Quality assurance - The term Quality assurance is used in relation to the activities which provide assurance to the local authority that all schools are performing at an acceptable level, that prompt and effective action is being undertaken when schools are not performing at an acceptable level, and that all schools are working to continue to improve. Quality assurance is the role the LA is required to carry out by statute in relation to standards of achievement. 2.3 Quality assurance describes the work of the LA in systematically monitoring and evaluating the quality of education in relation to national indicators, assessment, test and examination results, criteria in the inspection framework and the outcomes of inspection. This will be achieved through detailed data analysis as well as through the work of the advisers who act as the key contact between the LA and schools. Work on quality assurance will include evaluating the impact of school improvement activities. All schools as part of their own quality assurance can commission a review as part of their own quality assurance. If the LA risk assessment (see Section 3 below) highlights concerns about a school an in-depth review will be proposed. This focuses on teaching and learning through paired observations and will result in a report for the schools leadership with recommendations for improvement. 2.4 For schools causing concern, a Standards Monitoring Board (SMB) is an additional quality assurance mechanism to monitor school data and progress towards targets on a half-termly basis and to provide guidance on accelerating improvement. The Chair of the SMB will use exception reporting against the school action plan to keep the Director informed of progress. 2.5 The approach of the LA is to use intervention as a last resort, so in schools judged to be inadequate, the Governing Body will be asked by the Director to take robust action on areas of concern. Consideration will first be given to establishing a Management Intervention Board. The MIB will consider and advise on all the areas of responsibility of the governing body, and the chair will attend the Full Governing Body (FGB) and sub committees as appropriate, making formal half-termly reports on achievement data and progress against the action plan to the Director of Children s Services. 2.6 The LA will communicate key data (which is already available in the public domain), analyses and action plans on the Council website and make this information available through the various publicly accountable processes. DRAFT Policy for quality assurance and school improvement January 2015 V2 3

4 2.7 The term School improvement in relation the LA is used with regard to planned work undertaken to raise the standards of achievement of pupils. It is part of the LA responsibility for school improvement which also includes the dissemination of good practice. 2.8 School clusters is a model promoted by government for schools to drive their own improvement. Clusters can enable schools to exercise effective peer challenge and support that can be a powerful mechanism for development and improvement. 2.9 The LA has a small team of advisory teachers who work closely with a range of teams in the LA including those supporting school governors, pupils with special educational needs, those with behavioural difficulties and those from families requiring help. The service is funded through the Council s main budget, a Service Level Agreement with schools, and income from an in-service training programme and from services provided as a traded service. Additional support is brokered for schools from a range of external service providers and local schools, including the teaching school The teaching school, the Forest Learning Alliance contributes to school improvement through promoting collaboration, high quality professional development and support for staff through out their career For schools causing concern, some school improvement support can be funded by the LA and Schools Forum and provided at no cost to the school, the level of funding provided will be influenced by monies available in the school s own budget. However, school leaders are encouraged to make use of the range of support available to drive improvement in their own school and across groups of schools Key school improvement activities include Guidance and advice from advisers and/or other headteachers and governors Carrying out school reviews and benchmarking such as through paired lesson observations Setting challenging performance targets Dissemination of good practice Governor training and development In-school bespoke professional development activities to improve identified areas of concern Visits to observe high performing practitioners to share good practice Courses available through the centrally organised professional development programme Leading longer term evaluated projects linked with accredited learning (practitioner research) Support, advice and guidance on meeting additional needs for example for SEN, new arrivals, LAC, EAL, GRT, Activities supporting home school links for example through Family Learning Implementing required levels of support following an Ofsted inspection, including making best use the resources in the borough All schools will receive LA staff resources related to an analysis of their needs. This will be in one of five categories. An explanation of each category is included in Appendix x. Information to determine the appropriate level of support and monitoring will be taken from the LA s information database of school performance and contextual data, including knowledge gained in the field through visits to schools and reports prepared by School Advisers. DRAFT Policy for quality assurance and school improvement January 2015 V2 4

5 3 The evidence base 3.1 The work of the LA on quality assurance will mainly draw on information from three sources: i) data collection to include in-year monitoring data, academic results, finance, attendance, behaviour, RAISEonline, the LA profile, data from Ofsted inspections, governing body audits and reviews ii) direct observation of school activity, particularly teaching and learning, through visits by School Adviser and other LA officers iii) judgements made by schools themselves as part of a process of self-evaluation and review. 3.4 This data is used to inform an LA risk assessment which is used as the basis for allocating the use of officer time for quality assurance and school improvement activities. 3.5 In addition, school performance in relation to the metrics used to measure LA performance will be taken into consideration. 3.6 LA officers meet regularly to review the standards in all schools and to identify both good practice and causes of concern. In identifying concerns the group takes into account all aspects of a school s performance including: pupil performance; provision of access to learning opportunities; attendance; level of exclusions; behaviour; progress in addressing key issues; quality of teaching; provision to meet special or additional educational needs; and standards of management and governance. 3.7 For schools causing concern a separate LA officer group, chaired by the Chief Officer, meets half-termly to discuss progress and determine appropriate levels of further support. The chair of governors and the headteacher of any such school will be kept fully informed of the discussions and the actions which the LA proposes to take. The criteria used to determine an overall school category for support are included in Appendix x. 4. The process for quality assurance 4.1 The adviser is the key contact between school and the LA and currently all (primary) schools are allocated a day per term of adviser time. LA category 3,4 and 5 school can receive upto two additional days per term. There is a different focus for each termly meeting. 4.2 The central element of school quality assurance for all schools will take place at least annually when the LA representative (the attached adviser) and the school leadership discuss the school self-evaluation and the local authority s external evidence assessment. The discussion will involve a professional review of the evidence, aiming to reach agreement both on what the evidence shows and on any necessary action an agreed quality assurance overview. 4.3 The attached adviser and the school will then need to take any agreed actions and to monitor the outcomes. Care will be given to drafting the overview document so that it is both rigorous and meaningful. 4.4 The governing body will be engaged with this process through confidential reports provided for the COG for consideration by the FGB and in discussion with the headteacher. DRAFT Policy for quality assurance and school improvement January 2015 V2 5

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