The Strategic Lead for School Effectiveness and Special Educational Needs / Disabilities presented the report and confirmed that it is a good news story. Thurrock’s Looked After Children and SEND children have done very well compared to their peers nationally. The early years children have not done as well as they have done previously, and this has been put down to the pandemic and lost opportunities for socialising and attending early years settings.
Councillor Anderson asked about the virtual school.
The Director for Children’s Services confirmed they have a Statutory duty towards all Thurrock Looked After Children and therefore the Headteacher of the virtual school is another layer of looking at what these children need and they will go into the children’s schools to support and challenge them to ensure the children get what they need.
Councillor Kerin queried why disadvantaged children aren’t beating the national average.
The Strategic Lead for School Effectiveness and Special Educational Needs / Disabilities confirmed they are slightly behind the national average. They will attract the pupil premium and the national tutoring funding too.
The Assistant Director for Education stressed that attendance is a key priority and children need to be in school. They are having termly meetings with schools to look at attendance.
Councillor G Coxshall queried what is being done to support early years children.
The Strategic Lead for School Effectiveness and Special Educational Needs / Disabilities responded that the Council is working with all early years settings delivering free training on speech and language to upskill practitioners and improve outcomes for children.
Councillor Arnold queried the work being done to improve young children’s social skills.
The Strategic Lead for School Effectiveness and Special Educational Needs / Disabilities confirmed that after the pandemic schools quickly realised children’s physical fitness and social skills had been affected and children are not ready to learn until they are happy in school. Therefore, the two terms after that were used to work on the development of children’s social skills.
Councillor Panjala queried what is the action plan to improve Key Stage 4 levels as they are below the national average.
The Strategic Lead for School Effectiveness and Special Educational Needs / Disabilities confirmed they are closing the gap. The Teaching School Hub looks at school improvement and are identifying schools that need extra support. Leadership support and teacher training can be provided. The Assistant Director of Education also highlighted the need to give children at that age options such as apprenticeships and skills as not all of them will go down the further education route.
1.1 Children’s Services Overview & Scrutiny Committee receive the provisional outcomes of the summer 2022 tests and examinations and commends early years’ settings, schools, pupils, and parents/carers on their achievements.
1.2 Children’s Services Overview & Scrutiny Committee recognises the impact of Covid on our youngest children and how we are looking to support our early sector.
1.3 Children’s Services Overview & Scrutiny Committee formally thank our early years, school and colleges settings for the work that has ensured a range of positive outcomes for our children and young people.