Agenda item

Portsmouth Education Partnership and School Improvement - update

The purpose of the report is to provide an update on the Portsmouth Education Partnership and the preparation of an Education Strategy for Portsmouth. It also provides details of the targeted work undertaken by the Portsmouth Teaching School Alliance (on behalf of the Local Authority) to provide school improvement support to LA Maintained schools. 


RECOMMENDED that members of the Education Advisory Board:


(i)        Note the progress that has been made to establish the Portsmouth Education Partnership

(ii)       Endorse the draft Education Strategy for Portsmouth which is currently out for consultation

(iii)      Endorse the school improvement support that is being provided by the council for Priority 1 and 2 LA Maintained Schools




The report was introduced by Mike Stoneman.  He explained that the Portsmouth Education Partnership (PEP) Strategy Board took place this morning.  He reminded members that an update on the PEP had been provided at the last Education Advisory Board and officers had explained that early priorities had been agreed.  A half day workshop took place on 7 February where all schools and partners reflected on progress.  This was used to shape the agenda going forward. At the last PEP Strategic Board meeting it was agreed to continue with the current structures as they are working well. 


Mike summarised the sub groups and said that it would be good to get more people involved on these groups, particularly school leaders. There are head teachers on each of the groups and a handful of these are active.  Headteachers have fed back that they can see the benefits and want to get more involved which is encouraging.


Hilary Loder, the Independent Chair of the PEP considered that there was a feeling from the board that the PEP continues to undersell itself. All key stakeholders are aligned and they are now able to see plans coming through from the key priority areas. The PEP is coming up with some innovative ideas to solve problems that have been apparent over the years.  With regard to the education strategy, the PEP is considering targeting areas of the strategy to stakeholders. Mike added that through the PEP a partnership with the multi academy trusts (MATs) has been mobilised which previously would not have been possible.  Alison added a letter from the Regional Schools Commissioner had been sent to all MATs in the city requiring their collaboration in the PEP.  This reaffirms the validity of the PEP.  Hilary added that the inclusion of MATs in the PEP is an unusual feature and it is rare for them to be so fully engaged. This makes the PEP exciting as MATs are involved and have a voice which is integral to the vision.  It also provides a platform for any issues to be resolved in a collaborative forum. 


Draft Education Strategy

The Education Strategy has been drafted and is about to be distributed for consultation.  This was considered by the PEP Strategy Board today.  The final strategy will be published in the autumn term.  Alison Jeffery said that the content of the strategy was welcomed at the PEP Board earlier and there had been a representation from the parent and carer board and they said they really liked the emotional health and wellbeing section.  Alison considered that it would perhaps be helpful to provide a two page summary of the strategy with the key messages to encourage more people to read it. 


Councillor Horton considered this to be a very good strategy that was accessible and easy to understand.  She said that the headings under the strategic priorities were clear with a good summary.  Alison added that there were action plans and milestones in place underpinning this, in order for the Strategic Board to monitor progress.


In response to a follow up question from Councillor Horton, Hilary confirmed that academy schools report directly to the Regional Schools Commissioner. 

If the dashboard for a MAT shows red they will need to explain the reasons why to the PEP and accept support unless they have a good reason not to.  This is picking up some of the longest struggling schools.  Academies are normally given three years to show improvement as there is recognition on how long MATs will need to get back on track. 



School Improvement

Mike said that there is a collaborative school improvement programme under the auspices of the Portsmouth Education Partnership.  This has helped prioritise schools for support (in the case of LA Maintained Schools – targeted support from the council is provided by the Portsmouth Teaching School Alliance but under the auspices of the PEP).  Priority 1 schools are the highest priority and receive the most support.  Where a school is strong in a particular area they will be asked to share their strengths with other schools who may be struggling in that area.


Jo Peach then provided the board with an update on school improvement figures. Highlights were:

·         Since September 2016 the number of pupils attending good or outstanding schools (academies and LA) has increased from 16200 to 19200 (18% increase).

·         The number of children in schools that are not in good or outstanding schools has fallen from 4400 to 2700 (38% decrease).

·         The percentage of pupils that remain in schools that are not classed as good or above has fallen from 17.6% to 10.7%.  These schools remain a focus for support in 2017-18.

·         There are no inadequate schools and many of the schools that are below good are close to good.  4 maintained schools are at grade 3, with 2 of these working at good currently and the others working towards that.  Significant support is being provided to these schools.

With reference to Ofsted inspections, Councillor Horton referred to the Craneswater Junior School inspection as she is a governor there.  She said their recent inspection had been extremely thorough and they had picked up that one of their policies on the school website was out of date. Jo said that ideally they would like governors to be involved in helping the school with checking information is correct and up to date on their school website. 


In response to a question from Councillor Horton, Mike said that school improvement funding for SEN is required to improve outcomes for those pupils on SEN support in mainstream schools. This has formed part of a Round 1 bid to the DfE under the Strategic School Improvement Fund, the outcome of which will be known in late August.


RESOLVED the Education Advisory Board:

(1)  Noted the progress that has been made to establish the Portsmouth Education Partnership

(2)  Endorsed the draft Education Strategy for Portsmouth which is currently out for consultation.

(3)  Endorsed the school improvement support that is being provided by the council for Priority 1 and 2 LA maintained schools.



Supporting documents: