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Agenda item

Corporate Director, Children's Services - Verbal Update - Provisional School Results


Sarah Callaghan, Director of Learning and Culture presented the provisional school results.


In the presentation and discussion, the following main points were made:

·       Islington’s Plan for Education 2023-30, School Place Planning 2022-25 and the SEND Strategy 2022-27 were three documents being launched together to drive educational excellence.

·       Challenges relating to data included: - 1) significant variability of outcomes across each phased group; 2) children entitled to free school meals were the most impacted by the pandemic; 3) ensuring schools used all of their available resources to fill the gaps created by the pandemic and that these resources had a sustained impact; 4) all schools were good or better.

·       The Education Plan focussed on reducing exclusions, improving attendance, improving outcomes for the most at risk, improving the uptake of places for 2-year-olds and driving educational excellence for all.

·       There would be a core offer for all schools, delivered through Islington Professional Partners. This would create a culture of support and challenge using the strengths and resources across the borough.

·       65% children achieved a good level of development at the end of Reception which was near the national figure. The figures were not comparable to previous years as there was a new framework in place.

·       The phonics results had dropped from 84.4% in Islington to 76.6% in 2022. 20 more pupils achieved the expected standard compared to the national average.

·       At Key Stage 1 in 2019 76.3% of children achieved the expected standard of reading. This had dropped to 71.4% in 2022 but was above the national average. 83 more pupils achieved the expected standard compared to the national average.

·       Work would be undertaken to get back to the position pre-pandemic.

·       Adjustments in relation to the impact of the pandemic had been made to secondary results but not primary results.

·       At Key Stage 2, the percentage of children achieving the expected standard in combined reading, writing and maths was 62.1% compared to the 58.7% national average.

·       Further data analysis would take place.

·       Schools were being targeted for support, tracking would take place and Islington Professional Partners would help deliver support.

·       A network of schools had been set up and this provided opportunities to share best practice.

·       70.2% of Islington school pupils achieved a grade 4 or above in English and Maths in 2022. This was seven percentage points higher than in 2019.

·       52.5% of Islington school pupils achieved a grade 5 or above in English and Maths in 2022. This was over ten percentage points higher than in 2019.

·       The proportion of Islington school pupils who achieved three or more GCSEs at the highest grades (7+) increased from 25.0% in 2019 to 31.9% in 2022.

·       There was much variability in GCSE results between Islington schools.

·       The Islington School and College Leaders Network had been set up to shared good practice.

·       Islington schools had seen considerable improvements in A-Level grades in 2022 with 25% of entries receiving A*-A grades, up from 16.3% in 2019.

·       Members commented that the variable results between schools could be due to several factors e.g., demographics of pupils, financial resilience of schools, post-covid surge in mental health issues.

·       A member asked if the council wrote to parents of children eligible for free school meals before transitioning to Year 7. An officer advised that although there was a universal primary offer, the council still monitored who was eligible and there would not be a sudden transition point from primary to secondary school. The council wrote to eligible families and assisted families in completing forms. Some eligible families would not accept free school meals and more consideration could be given to how accepting them could be encouraged.

·       A member commented that the 71.6% of pupils at the end of Reception achieving a good level of development in the prime areas of communication and language, physical, personal, social and emotional development was positive given that the year started with covid in the community and many of these children came from deprived homes.

·       A member commented that in the context of dealing with covid-related issues such as remote learning and ensuring all pupils had laptops, the results were largely positive.

·       In response to members’ questions, an officer advised that the School Organisation Plan looked at the quality of the education offer, ensuring schools offered a diverse curriculum and work would be taking place to rebrand the historical perceptions of some schools. The School Organisation Plan would strategically manage the approach to falling rolls starting with a focus on educational excellence. Early help was one of the pillars in the Education Strategy, so support was put in place around families and intervention took place where there were issues. Another key pillar was culture.

·       Councillor Ngongo stated that many parents did not feel comfortable talking at large parent forums and as schools were in the community, it could be more beneficial to work in schools to obtain the voices of children and parents.

·       Some schools were going into deficit budgets and were being supported to apply for grants and bid for funding. Further opportunities to access funding and grants could be explored.

·       In response to a request for a breakdown of school result data, an officer stated that this would be provided in the new year.

·       In response to a member’s suggestion that measuring value added could be useful, an officer advised that this took place.

·       In response to a member’s question about how schools with lower grades were being supported, an officer stated that more tracking was taking place, targeted interventions had been put in place and schools had been supported to improve. Eligible schools could use the National Tutoring Grant to target individual children. Governors could be helped in how best to support their school.

·       In response to a member’s question about projects in place to drive improvements, an officer advised that there was an aspiration that every child had at least one qualification built into the Education Plan, with the 14-19 plan outlining pathways to employment including a vocational offer. Headteacher briefings took place, libraries offered reading challenges and reducing exclusions was one of the six priorities in the Education Plan.

·       Councillor Ngongo stated that core funding had been used to help the mother tongue supplementary schools support young people in their own communities.



That the provisional school results be noted.

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