[Amanda Newbold,Head of School Improvement, to present report]
Cllr Michael Hardacre, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, introduced the report and made general comments on the progress made to improve educational performance of schools.
The Cabinet Member commented that the City is matching the performance at national level and reported that 84% of Wolverhampton schools are rated as being either good or better by Ofsted.
The Cabinet Member commented on the good working relationship with Ofsted and the involvement of advisers from the School Improvement Service in the consultation events relating to changes to schools and early years inspection framework attended by senior representatives from HMI. The Cabinet Member commented on the improved performance of Wolverhampton Schools compared to statistical neighbours at KS1 and KS2 for maths, writing and english. The improvement in educational performance has been consistent for four years. The panel were invited to comment and ask questions about the report.
The panel queried the longer-term organisational plans following the departure of Director of Education given the importance of the position to achieving educational performance. The Cabinet Member advised the panel that there is no statutory requirement to have a Director of Education role. The departure of the previous holder has created an opportunity to look at the current structure. Emma Bennett, Director of Children’s Services, advised the panel that Amanda Newbold has taken the lead on schools in the interim and that further discussions are ongoing about options for the future. The panel were assured that the Cabinet Member would be involved in these discussions.
The panel queried the relationship between School Improvement Service and Regional Schools Commissioner. The Director of Children’s Services meets on termly basis with Commissioner to discuss issues on a set agenda for the meeting. The relationship was described as being very positive.
The panel discussed the educational performance of the Pupil Referral Units. The Cabinet Member advised that all four PRUs have been by Ofsted as being either good or outstanding. The panel queried the impact on school performance in Wolverhampton schools pass rates as a result of Department of Education changes to the exam grading. The Head of School Improvement commented on unvalidated results Progress Measure 8 at Key Stage 4 which shows progress in school performance as improved since 2018 and is now above national and statistical neighbour average. The majority of children are considered to be making the right level of progress.
The panel queried the action being taken by the service to support three schools judged to be inadequate. The Head of School Improvement advised that since the report was published two of the schools has converted to an Academy and have been inspected by Ofsted and their performance will be monitored and support offered.
The panel agreed to note the report. The panel wanted to acknowledge the improved performance of schools and the ongoing progress made in areas of education among schools in Wolverhampton.