Scrutiny Councillors discuss School Improvement in Swansea

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The Education Scrutiny Panel recently met with the Cabinet Member for Education Improvement, Learning and Skills, Councillor Robert Smith and the Lead School Improvement Advisor to look at school improvement.

The Panel were pleased with the positive work being undertaken by the School Improvement Team.

Panel Members discussed school attainment and were keen to see the Council progress in improving the level of attainment of pupils in receipt of Free School Meals. Officers explained that the authority and schools are now using an evidence based approach to the spending of the Pupil Development Grant (PDG) to help address this issue. The Panel have asked to see information on the correlation between how PDG is spent and how it reflects in increased attainment, when it becomes available.

In terms of measuring attainment, the Welsh Government have removed the foundation phase and end of key stage two teacher assessments, so a new way to measure attainment is needed to be developed.  The Panel heard that as schools develop new assessment processes an ongoing question will be how as a council, and indeed a country, we can measure whether the new Curriculum in Wales is having the desired effect.

The Panel queried what the key challenges will be over the next 12 months for the School Improvement Team when supporting schools and heard that Covid is still a key issue. The pressures schools are facing due to Covid and balancing this with day to day duties is still ‘very real’. Introduction of the new Curriculum and the Additional Learning Needs Reform were also highlighted as key challenge areas. Panel Members heard that it is important for the School Improvement Team to ensure schools are moving forward with all of these issues.

Click here to view more details of what was discussed at this meeting.

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