Agenda item

School Examination Performance

To consider school performance for summer 2018 and the effectiveness of the Herefordshire school improvement partnership strategy and framework in improving outcomes for Herefordshire’s children and young people.



The committee received a report concerning school examination performance from 2018. The report was introduced by the head of learning and achievement (HLA) who provided a presentation and made the following points in the introduction:


·         Overall performance had been good when compared to statistical neighbours.

·         Early years had performed in the top quartile of SEND performance but improvement was needed in the performance of free school meals pupils and pupils with English as an additional language. 

·         At key stage one, free school meals pupils had performed well and phonics was a strength. Development work was required on greater depth in reading and mathematics.

·         At key stage two, the performance of free school meals, EAL and SEND pupils was positive. Development in the performance of pupils on EHC Plans was required in reading, writing and mathematics.

·         At key stage 4, the performance of SEND pupils was positive but improvements were required in the performance of looked after children.

·         At key stage 5, performance in Tech Levels was positive and improvement was required in performance in Applied General Qualifications.

·         Details of projects in place to improve performance were outlined including school to school support, the solid roots project and triad work on wellbeing.


The committee raised the points below in the discussion that followed:


·         It was noted that Hereford Academy and St Thomas Cantilupe were run by the same academy trust and both were assessed as inadequate by Ofsted. Assurance was sought that there were no further schools operated by the trust in a similar situation. The HLD explained that the other schools operated by the academy trust in Herefordshire were currently assessed as good or better. The DCF confirmed that officers would shortly be meeting with the trust and the regional schools commissioner.

·         It was queried whether assessment of initiatives introduced in schools to drive improvement were undertaken to determine whether they had a detrimental impact on other areas of performance. The HLD explained that she was not aware that such assessments took place.

·         The dip in performance of free school meal pupils at early years was a concern and the work that was undertaken with parents as part of early help strategies was queried. The HLD explained that the solid roots project was helping families and working to increase engagement with parents. The project was focused on the home learning environment and parenting skills.

·         The issues concerning the performance of older boys was raised and the broader community and early help support that was required to assist this cohort. The HLD explained that schools were offering after school activities. The DCF explained that the police and crime commissioner was looking to work locally on methods to engage young people.

·         The performance of looked after children was raised and whether the results of the cohort in the report was part of a longer term trend. The HLD explained that data was available for the previous three years and due to the small size of the cohort there was considerable fluctuation in performance.

·         Schools understanding of safeguarding responsibilities was raised. The HLD explained that there would be a quality assurance inspection this year of safeguarding arrangements. Safeguarding formed part of CPD for school staff.

·         How the performance at greater depth at key stage one and two would be addressed was raised. The HLD explained that the performance was below average and projects were in place to attempt to improve greater depth.

The cabinet member children and families explained that the report provided a useful overview of achievements and areas for improvement.




a.    The committee recognises the positive elements of the report but also notes those negative elements including:


·         The general level of development achieved by children eligible for free school meals in the early years foundation stage. A slight decrease is reported but the performance in a national context remains poor;

·         The percentage of pupils achieving greater depth in reading and maths at key stage 1 compared to national figures;

·         The performance of looked after children at key stage 1, compared to national outcomes in writing and maths and at KS 4 

·         Disadvantaged pupils performance against attainment 8 and progress 8 measures.


b.    The committee calls on the executive to note the importance of the need for a broader working emphasis on socio-economic issues and the connection to school performance.


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