Roger Edwardson, presented the report and stated that raising achievements in all areas of education remained a key priority and that the Council had seen a considerable success in the last four years as attainment and progress had risen significantly. Roger Edwardson briefly took Members through each of the Good Level of Development figures and charts.
A new curriculum was introduced in 2014 and a new assessment procedure had been introduced in 2015 which had resulted in the national curriculum levels being abandoned and a new system with more rigorous tests being introduced.
The Officer reminded the Members all data in the report was provisional and stated that result comparisons could not be made between the previous year’s data and the last academic year.
The Officer stated that there were concerns with the Good Level of Development between girls and boys.
The Chair asked the Officer what the abbreviation STA stood for. The Officer stated that this stood for Standards Testing Agency.
Councillor Watkins thanked the Officer for the report and praise should be given to all the schools concerned but stated that there was always room for improvement.
Councillor Watkins asked the Officer that the internal projections were for Children Looked After. The Officer stated that each Looked after Child had a Pupil Education Plan which was updated on a six monthly basis, the number of Unaccompanied Asylum Seeker Children had increased in this age bracket.
The Chair asked the Officer what reassurances were in place for those Looked after Children in out of borough schools to ensure that they were not being disadvantaged. The Officer confirmed that there was a restructure of virtual schools, the tracking of data and outcomes would be used and that social workers and colleges should be working better together.
Councillor Watkins asked why Looked after Children were going to out of borough schools. The Officer stated this was due to the lack of foster carers in the borough.
Councillor Watkins asked Officers what was in place going forward for the pupils entering into the Year 7 new curriculum. Roger Edwardson stated that many Year 7 pupils will know their KS3 teacher who will offer the recognition deserved.
Councillor Redsell thanked Officers for a very comprehensive report but did not agree with Roger Edwardson’s concern regarding the good level of development for boys and that feedback received was that 15-16 year olds were not being told enough about career opportunities. Roger Edwardson stated that the internet could be used more to seek more career opportunities with adult support.
Sonny Tipping stated that Colourful Success was a large database of job opportunities, work experiences and apprenticeships which could be used for those looking for job opportunities.
Anne Sentance stated that parents played a crucial part of a young person’s start in life but there was only so much a parent could do.
Anne Sentence stated that the nursery in Horndon on the Hill had closed due to the increase in rent set by Thurrock Council and asked Officer why no information and help had been offered to the nursery by the Council. Roger Edwardson stated he would look into this matter and report back to Members.
Councillor Redsell stated that this was happening a lot in the borough and concern seemed to be around protecting the building rather than protecting what’s in the building.
It was also recommended by Roger Edwardson that he would write out to all schools to commend and thank them for their achievements.
Councillor Allen asked if bullying had been addressed at main stream schools. The Chair reminded Councillor Allen that reports on the Anti-Bullying Policy and Anti-Bullying Prevention at Primary Schools were already on the work programme.
1. That the Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee noted the provisional outcomes of the summer 2016 tests and examinations and commends schools, pupils and parents/carers on their achievements.
2. That the Committee recognised that data could not be compared to previous years due to a change in curriculum and assessments.
3. That the Committee recommended that Roger Edwardson write to all schools to thank them for their contributions.