Agenda item

Annual School Standards & Attainment

A report providing information on school standards and attainment, and activity to improve attainment.


Brian Grady, The Director of Education, Brighter Futures for Children, submitted a report introducing The Annual School Standards and Attainment report for the 2021-2022 academic year. A copy of Brighter Futures for Children's Annual School Standards and Achievement Report 2021-2022 was attached to the report at Appendix 1.


The report set out how Brighter Futures for Children, on behalf of Reading Borough Council, supported statutory duties regarding education and school standards in support of the Council’s strategic priorities and policies. The report used verified examination data and so related to the previous academic year (2021/22), not the current academic year (2022/23).


The report explained that schools had been implementing research informed approaches to improve standards, with most schools being judged positively by Ofsted and in findings from school effectiveness assurance activities. However, these actions had not closed gaps with national performance quickly enough.


The report explained that this was the first period for three years where attainment data had been published and that the data painted a picture of concern, with children clearly impacted from the loss of schooling during the period of the pandemic. Though this was a national issue, Reading seemed to have performed more poorly in headline measures at KS1 and KS2.


The report noted that the outcomes for Children Looked After and for bilingual children categorised as having English as an Additional Language had been stronger, with performance at or above national averages for these groups. This reflected the success of long-term work of the Virtual School and projects to support language and communication in schools.


The report explained that, overall, performance for disadvantaged pupils and pupils at risk of poor outcomes needed to be improved and the gaps reduced. Particular areas of concern included children with or who have ever had a social worker, who underperformed compared to their peers in most schools; and an analysis of outcomes by pupil ethnicity had identified that children with Black Caribbean Heritage were underperforming in Reading schools.


The Annual School Standards and Achievement Report 2021-2022 identified the priorities and key actions being taken in the current academic year. These were expanded on in the covering report which highlighted and were set out under the following priorities:


·                Priority 1: Developing school-to school support and challenge through the Education Partnership Board;

·                Priority 2: Promotion of positive wellbeing for school leaders and school staff;

·                Priority 3: Targeting of intervention and support to raise standards and progress of pupils at schools with the poorest results, informed by an increasingly sophisticated understanding of inequalities outcomes for disadvantaged groups;

·                Priority 4: Building governor capacity, skills and oversight to enhance support and challenge;

·                Priority 5: Implementing a Borough-wide teaching staff recruitment and retention strategy.


The report explained that an annual report would be brought back to ACE Committee to track improvements in school standards and pupil attainment. Additional reports would also be submitted to the Committee focusing on key areas of priority action throughout the academic year.


Alice Boon, Strategic Lead for School Effectiveness; Andrea O'Neill, Inclusion Leader at The Kennet Federation; Lisa Telling, Executive Headteacher of Katesgrove Primary School and Southcote Primary School; Simon Uttley, Headteacher of Blessed Hugh Faringdon Catholic School; and Amanda Walcott-Barnett, Deputy Headteacher at E P Collier Primary School and Anti-Racist Lead Practitioner were present at the meeting for the item and addressed the Committee and answered questions on their experiences, work and roles as school leaders within the local school system.

Resolved –


(1)            That the position regarding school standards and attainment, as set out in the report attached at Appendix 1, be noted;


(2)            That the priorities and current and planned activity to further improve attainment, with a focus on priority groups, be endorsed;


(3)            That the Committee receive further reports in the forthcoming academic year on progress of actions and the impact on standards and attainment.


(Councillor Cresswell declared a non-pecuniary interest in the item relating to his work in the alternative provision education sector)

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