Annual Performance Challenge – Education

At the Children, Young People and Learning Overview and Scrutiny Board meeting on Monday (5th Dec) Councillor looked at the performance data from across schools in Swansea, concentrating on educational attainment, school exclusions, attendance and employment training.  Councillors were pleased to find:

  •  the overall trend for level 2 threshold indicator and core subject indicator is upward.
  • that progress with initiatives to improve oracy, numeracy and literacy was being made.
  • that the overall trend in school attendance was upward.
  • the overall downward trend in fixed term exclusions although we did highlight the importance of working with the four schools where the trend was upward.
  • the roll out of the availability of Team Around the Family to include the whole of Swansea area is complete
  • the development of partnership working through site 3 of the Four Site Model and we are keen to keep up to date with progress.

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It was recognised that there is still ‘much to do’ when improving the educational outcomes of children, with schools and the local authority facing many ongoing challenges including for example:

  • the sharp differences in the attainment of boys and girls especially in literacy We were pleased to here that some initiatives have been put in place to help to address this gender gap.
  • the importance of ensuring accredited outcomes for attending pupil referral units and particularly when obtaining the basics in numeracy and literacy.
  • Board did express concern that there may be issues affecting some pupils returning to mainstream school after spending time in the Pupil Referral Unit.  Although we did recognise that many of those young people in KS4 may take alternatives educational routes such as vocational training. We have requested some further information from the Education Department on this issue.
  • the ongoing drive to improve oracy, numeracy and literacy.
  • the budget pressures including around the areas on Additional Learning Needs and Special Educational Needs.
  • the importance of managing and driving down exclusion rates.
  • the ongoing drive to sustain and build upon pupil attendance rates across schools.

Councillors concentrated particularly on the area of Looked After Children (LAC) and their educational outcomes.  They were pleased to see that the authority does employ a full time education co-ordinator and a project worker specifically for LAC, with each school having a designated teacher.   The Board were particularly keen to hear about the new link role for school governors and wished to emphasise the importance of training for this new role.   The performance data, while based on small numbers in each cohort, did seem to be improving.  Communication and co-ordination between the social worker, the school and the carer was seen as key to developing a child’s educational plan.

Councillors also discussed performance in relation to Swansea Employment Training and wished to show our support for the important work that is completed here.  The Board did wish to express concern with regard to the 29% budget reduction in relation to the Swansea Councils contribution. We were also sad to see the end of the Future Jobs Fund and did feel that the new Welsh Government Strategy Jobs Growth Wales was limited and would not be sufficient to meet the needs of Swansea.

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