Agenda item

School Improvement Priorities for 2017/18

This report provides an outline of the council's school improvement priorities for 2017/18 and an update on the targeted work undertaken by the Portsmouth Teaching School Alliance on behalf of the council to provide school improvement support to LA Maintained schools. 


Appendix 1 to the report has not been published as this contains exempt information and will be made available to the Education Advisory Board members at the meeting.


RECOMMENDED that members of the Education Advisory Board endorse the priorities for school improvement support for 2017/18 and note the support that was provided in 2016/17.


Mike Stoneman introduced the report and circulated the exempt appendix which showed the PEP performance dashboard. 


It was explained that the council has a statutory duty for school improvement, particularly for LA maintained schools.   Currently 50% of schools in Portsmouth are LA maintained although it is expected over the next 18 months over 75% of schools will be part of a MAT.  Under the Academies Act 2010, LAs retain a legal responsibility for performance in the area as a whole. Therefore when a school moves to a MAT, as strategic commissioners the LA retains that responsibility.  This is why Portsmouth moved to the PEP to ensure that all work together to deliver positive outcomes across the city. 


Underneath the PEP is the School Improvement Board which the headteacher of St Edmund's chairs.  The Board includes headteachers from schools (there is one LA maintained headteacher and the remainder are academy heads) and local authority officers.


There are a range of performance measures that underpin the dashboard and there are provisional data for all measures and these are then RAG rated using criteria agreed by the school improvement board.  This then informs a prioritisation of schools. Currently for our LA maintained schools we have 12 schools that fall under priority 1 and 2 and they are the focus for this term.  For priority 3 schools, although these will not be targeted, the LA has said if they have concerns they can talk to the LA and can provide support.  With academy schools the LA does not give a priority rating.  In the annual meetings with the MATs they will go through data for each of the academies in that trust and seek assurances to see why any areas are rated red.  Look at how to share strengths across city and how this will benefit other schools.  Every school has a copy of their individual dashboard.


In response to a question, Mike explained if a school has an Ofsted grade of 3 or below, they automatically become a priority 1 school. When the LA send out the letters to schools, also enclose the school support directory which gives details of all system leaders operating across the city. 


Jo Peach added that they have not yet included the special schools within the dashboard however this would be published later this year.  The special schools were RAG rated last year to see what worked and different measures are needed for special schools.  This will include the Harbour School where because of the nature of the school several different measures for each of the sites are needed. Jo and Mike had a productive meeting today with the HT of Harbour about a range of performance reviews and where focus will be. 


Appendix 3 of the report provides an update on LA schools which Jo summarised.  In terms of successes she highlighted successes at Manor Infant which has moved from grade 3 to grade 2. 

Mike went on to explain that the Strategic School Improvement fund is a national fund that opened up just before the summer and there are three rounds of bidding.  Due to the PEP Portsmouth is in a good position to apply to the fund.  Working closely with another teaching school who have been coordinating bids on behalf of the sub region 3 bids were submitted:

(1)  Challenging the gap - focussing on improving outcomes for disadvantaged children.  This is a £200k programme that was successful.  Involving 18 schools both LA, academies and special schools.  This will have a huge impact on overall attainment in the city.  Already up and running, had first briefing and workshop already and moving swiftly on so very encouraging. 

(2)  SEN - focussing on those pupils needing SEN support in mainstream schools as evidence shows they are performing less well than their peers compared to the national picture.  This bid was unsuccessful but the LA are considering resubmitting this bid for round two with a deadline of 20th October.

(3)  Maths KS1 and 2 - led by Solent Maths Hub this was also unsuccessful It is unlikely that Solent Maths Hub will be resubmitting a bid. There is already a lot of support going into Portsmouth through the  hub so we are less concerned about that. 

Literacy in KS1 and KS2 has been identified as a sub-regional priority and a bid is being considered for round three in December/January.


School improvement areas for development in 2017/18:

The LA have already identified a number of schools where want to trial a programme around SEND reviews.  Partner a poor performing school with a national leader and one other schools which has a good track record - and undertake a review.  This then links to 3 session workshops with follow up support from SLEs.  The LA would like to have something comprehensive across Portsmouth.  Planning on basis that might not win this bid so have six schools we want to work with this year. If the bid is successful then this can be scaled up.  


Another area the LA is focussing on is about improving subject training.  Subject networks have been set up in English, maths, science and modern foreign language across primary and secondary through the PEP.  Also a lot of effort has been put into leadership training and a lot of schools have signed up to those.  Hoping to have a local hub which will train up the middle leaders.


In response to questions the following matters were clarified:

·         Ella Harbut, early years lead advisor who sits on the School Improvement Board is looking at a prioritisation list similar to the dashboard for early years.  Mike said an update could be provided at the next meeting.

  • Willows Nursey is special school setting but also operates on a private daycare basis and there is a lot of synergy between the two.  The quality of the 30 hours is essential for setting the standard for the early years setting.
  • The PEP is the key way forward for challenging academies, and regular meetings with MATs take place to talk about their dashboards.  These meetings are very positive and Mike gave an example of a meeting with TSAT earlier today where they discussed the dashboards for their 5 schools.  Mike was reassured with what they are doing and they talked about support the LA can provide.  The relationship is strong with most academy trusts.  There are some very strong headteachers in the city and the LA are looking at using these to help schools who are struggling.


RESOLVED that the Education Advisory Board members endorsed the priorities for school improvement support for 2017/18 and noted the support that was provided in 2016/17. 


Supporting documents: