To consider a report from the Director of Children and Families that presents Scrutiny with performance data for pupils in Leeds in 2022 that has been externally validated following the statutory assessments and examinations which took place in 2022.
The report of the Director of Children and Families presented a report on performance data for pupils in Leeds in 2022 that has been externally validated following the statutory assessments and examinations which took place in 2022. The data reviews outcomes from early years to Post 16 and outcomes in Leeds are compared with national figures.
The following were in attendance for this item:
· Councillor Pryor, Executive Member for Economy, Culture and Education
· Councillor Venner, Executive Member for Children Social Care and Health Partnerships
· Julie Longworth, Director of Children and Families
· Dave Clarke, Chief Officer Learning Improvement
· Erica Hiorns, Leadership and Management Lead
· Sam Golia, Area Lead Primary Learning Improvement
· Jayne Ford, Early Years Foundations Stage Improvement
The Director of Children and Families presented the report and explained that the data is from 2022 due to data being validated throughout the year. The report reviews actions taken by the Learning Improvement team throughout the year to respond to emerging issues and what further actions are planned to address them. The following information was highlighted:
· Attainment was impacted as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and results were generally lower than in 2019 when assessments and examinations were taken, However, the fall in attainment in Leeds has been generally less than those seen nationally and, as a result, results are now broadly in line with national.
· The work of the Learning Improvement Team was also highlighted in terms of the continuing positives they bring to school performance in the city.
· The percentage of children in early years attaining a good level of development is lower than national. Colleagues recognise that this may primarily be due to a number of residents in Leeds having English as a second language and those children may not be around English speakers in the first years of their life during Covid, impacting on their English language development.
· There are a number of positive outcomes in terms of the data for Leeds, those being, the percentage of children achieving the required standard in the Phonics Screening Check at the end of Year 1is now in line with national; attainment at the end of KS2 is much closer to national than it was previously; Y4 pupils multiplication performed better in this check than pupils nationally.
· Progress data at the end of primary school and secondary school places Leeds in band A (the top of 4 bands).
· It was acknowledged that whilst good progress has been made, there is still work to do in terms of closing some gaps. An example being the percentage of pupils in KS2 meeting the expected standard for reading, writing and maths is lower than pupils nationally.
· There is a clear focus to support children who are particularly vulnerable and identified as needing additional support.
The Executive Member for Economy, Culture and Education set out some positive highlights in the submitted report in terms of children achieving higher than the national data and explained this is due to a joint effort with headteachers, teachers and support staff across Leeds and it would be remiss to overlook those involved with achieving good results.
In responding to questions from the Board, the following was confirmed:
· Yorkshire and Humber and Leeds were impacted more negatively in terms of attendance due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
· Clarity on the progression of children at the end of KS2 and KS4. At KS4 this measure looks at attainment in a suite of 8 subjects. Outcomes in these subjects per pupil are then compared to outcomes for pupils with similar starting points (i.e. results achieved in KS2 SATs) and compared. Whilst the progress 8 number reported looks small (+0.12) this is actually comparatively high.
· It was requested that the next annual report include a breakdown of data per school and how this information will help in terms of being able to identify what is working best across schools to support and maintain schools who are performing less well. Further to this, officers commented that it is only 2 LA maintained schools which have negative progress data and it is important to look at the breakdown of headline data to understand which areas in a school have performed strongly, and which less so. There is also a mixed picture in terms of academies and their progress data, with some performing very strongly, and others less well.
· An issue was highlighted in terms of specialised subjects being covered by substitute teachers who do not specialise in that area, and the impact this can have on attainment. It was acknowledged that there is a national issue in terms of recruitment and retention and work is on-going with school leaders and teachers. Further to this, the importance of staff well-being was highlighted and the importance of staff having a safe space and opportunities to develop professional expertise. It was also discussed that classrooms have become more complex and diverse, and there has been an increase in children with vulnerabilities.
· There is a difference in development of children in terms of date of birth within an academic year and this can impact on levels of attainment, continuing on for children moving onto primary, secondary and university level. There is sometimes a 12 month age difference between children in the same academic year and there can be a disparity in development in terms of social skills, language, and emotional well-being.
· A lot of work has taken place around Early Years settings and information and materials are provided to nursery staff and child minders. There are 1000 early years providers including child minders in Leeds and evening and weekend training opportunities are provided for those unable to attend during work hours. Significant support is provided to those who had challenges through Ofsted Inspections.
· There is positive impact from the work to ensure young people from all ethnicity groups achieve well. Officers referred to the new comprehensive EAL Strategy and focused work to help children with language barriers achieve the best results they can.
In terms of the Refreshed 3As plan, the Board were keen to see that Early Years and post-16 continue to be a priority within this plan. Officers confirmed that there are initial discussions on-going with stakeholders around the priorities for the refreshed plan and the need to focus on language and communication skills more generally in the plan. In terms of post-16, there is no data from GCSE to the end of A-Level, although colleagues continue to monitor this so it is impossible to evaluate progress. It was confirmed that the Scrutiny Board, Infrastructure and Inclusive Growth are looking at NEET figures and post-16 as well as this Board.
The Chair thanked everyone for their attendance.
a) To note the contents of the report, including information on performance against headline measures for pupils in Leeds 2022 in comparison to national data.
b) To note the actions taken by the Learning Improvement Team to improve outcome in Leeds, and the planned actions for the coming year.
c) To note the priorities contained within the Refreshed 3As plan for 2023-25, with a suggestion that greater emphasis be placed around Early Years.