Report of Strategic Director, Children’s Services and Lifelong Learning
Committee received reports and a presentation outlining the results of Gateshead pupil’s performance for 2021/22 and the results of the most recent Ofsted inspections.
It was reported that the proportion of pupils reaching the expected standard in reading, maths, grammar punctuation and spelling at the end of Key Stage 2 was above the national average. Progress in reading and maths is also above the national average.
The proportion of pupils achieving attainment 8 and a good grade in English and Maths GCSE was also above the national average for both male and female pupils.
In terms of Ofsted inspections it was confirmed that the proportion of schools with a good or outstanding judgement is above the national average. It was also reported that the majority of schools inspected have retained or improved their judgement. It was noted that 11 schools were inspected during the Autumn term and there were no surprises in the outcomes for those schools.
Committee was advised that there remains challenges around the impact of Covid on the youngest pupils. It was confirmed that average outcomes in tests for 5,6 and 7 year olds was below average. The widest gaps between Gateshead and national outcomes are for those children who have English as an additional language. In addition, outcomes in writing at the end of Key Stage 2 has been most affected by Covid.
In terms of Ofsted inspections, it was reported that a lot of experienced inspectors have left and this has led to a lack of consistency when schools are being inspected. It was confirmed that the issue has been raised with Ofsted who has acknowledged the concern and states it is addressing this through training.
The steps in place to address the challenges include professional development and resources in place to support the youngest children to improve writing. There is also support continuing to develop leadership and curriculum in schools. Strong working relationships have been developed with the Bishop Wilkinson Catholic Education Trust, which includes 18 Gateshead Primary Schools within the Trust. In addition, there is tailored challenge and support for each school taking into account the individual circumstances of the school. For those schools judged as ‘requires improvement’ intensive targeted support is in place.
Committee raised concerns about new inspectors not being monitored effectively. It was noted that there is a lack of transparency with Ofsted, however Ofsted has advised that internal processes of monitoring are taking place. It was acknowledged however that this lack of consistency can add additional stress on school leaders.
It was questioned whether those pupils with English as an additional language are from Ukraine. It was confirmed there are a lot of pupils with English as an additional language and not just from Ukraine. It was noted that these pupils mostly catch up by the end of primary school.
It was questioned as to how long the impact of Covid is likely to last and when will there be stabilisation of learning. It was acknowledged that the biggest impact is affecting 7 and 8 year olds because they missed learning the basics. For those pupils under 5 the main issues are around social, emotional and communication skills. In addition, Key Stage 3 pupils in secondary school, current years 8 and 9, missed out on transition work and this left a lot of pupils not feeling comfortable going into secondary school. It was confirmed that attendance also still remains an issue and subsequently slows progress.
RESOLVED - (i) That Committee noted the contents of the report in
relation to assessment, test and exam outcomes for the academic year 2021-2022.
(ii) That Committee noted the position of schools in
relation to Ofsted inspections.