Agenda item

Educational Standards and Quality 2017-2018

A report providing the Committee with an overview of education performance in Reading during the academic year 2017-18.


The Director of Children, Education and Early Help Services submitted a report providing the Committee with an overview of education performance in Reading during the academic year 2017-18.

The report covered the overall performance of the Borough’s schools in the 2018 national assessments and examinations, performance in Ofsted inspections over the year and performance against other local authority targets, including exclusions.  Wherever possible the report also provided an overview of the performance of pupils, recognising that some were educated out of the Borough and not all schools in the Borough educated only pupils who lived in the Borough itself.  The report also outlined the authority’s interventions to support improvements.

The general direction of standards and student performance indicated that outcomes at the end of Key Stage 2 were not as strong as they needed to be and, although progress had been made, the progress was not fast enough to keep up with the progress that was being made nationally.  This was particularly the case in writing and also with respect to progress made by disadvantaged pupils.  Although progress data overall was positive, through the secondary years and indeed with some exceptional outcomes by the end of Key Stage 5, more needed to be done with respect to disadvantaged pupils and those who were at risk of not being in education, employment or training by the age of 18.

The report stated that there were several additional factors that were relevant and affected the overall outcome comparisons with national averages which needed to be recognised.  Whilst almost all the Borough’s pupils attended the Borough’s primary schools, with only a small proportion leaving the Borough or attending independent schools for their primary education, the overall average performance of primary academies at the end of Key Stage 2 was lower than the overall average for maintained primary schools.  As the local authority had no finance or powers to intervene in academies, tackling this lower performance was a challenge.  Within secondary schools, performance and progress data was positive but, to some extent, this was skewed by the selective schools that currently drew the majority of their enrolment from out of the Borough.  It was also skewed by the higher proportion of secondary aged pupils who left the Borough for their secondary education.  Data on the success of pupils who were educated out of Borough was not accessible and therefore whilst the performance data at secondary school age provided an accurate view of the performance of schools, it did not provide an accurate summary of all the Borough’s resident pupils.  A significant number of schools had been inspected by Ofsted during 2017/18 and overall, the outcomes of the inspections had been positive and this had reflected well on the School Improvement Strategy which had been carefully structured to intervene early where there were concerns.  However, the Ofsted outcomes would show that most primary schools in the Borough were now rated as good or outstanding.  This judgement did not lay comfortably with standards and progress through primary as seen by performance data and also the high percentage of exclusions that had been seen across the Borough.  The education performance data had informed the Education Strategy Plan to help bring about improvement in quality and outcomes for young people.

Reducing exclusions, particularly for pupils with SEND was a key priority and a major new initiative was focused on behaviour management in schools and would be launched in early December 2018.  This was a therapeutic and trauma informed approach to managing behaviour and in better understanding the needs of individuals and initiating personalised approaches to manage the situation rather than exclude.  Additional funding was also being released around action plans for individual pupils with significantly challenging behaviour to help manage the behaviour alongside learning.

Resolved –

(1)     That the outcomes and performance be noted;

(2)     That the plans, set out in paragraph 5.9 of the report, and actions being implemented to address areas of weakness be noted.

Supporting documents: