Agenda item

Implementations of Ofsted School Improvement Inspection Action Plan


The Assistant Director, Education and Resources introduced the report which provided the Committee with the Action Plan arising from the recent Ofsted Inspection of Local Authority arrangements for supporting School Improvement undertaken in February.  Peterborough had received a positive outcome with a grading of ‘effective’.  Ofsted had identified four areas for improvement which were:


“To improve achievement and ensure that all pupils in Peterborough attend a good or better school, the local authority should:


  1. Clarify milestones and targets in strategic plans and specify how each school will contribute to raising standards for all children and young people;


  1.  Focus relentlessly on supporting and challenging schools to improve outcomes for pupils who speak English as an additional language and those supported through pupil premium funding;


  1.  Embed high quality school-to-school partnership in order to promote the sharing of good practice and increase the autonomy of primary schools; and


  1. Improve information, advice and guidance in schools and broaden the provision of work-based learning opportunities so that young people succeed along their education and training pathways.”


The Action Plan had addressed the areas identified by Ofsted and also included other areas that the School Improvement Team felt required further development.


The Chair congratulated the Assistant Director Education and Resources and the Head of School Improvement for the amount of work and effort that had been put into obtaining a positive outcome from the Ofsted inspection. 


Observations and questions were raised and discussed including:


·         Members congratulated officers on the work they had done pre and post-Ofsted inspection.

·         Members noted that the action plan had a section titled ‘Evaluation of Progress’ and asked if as the action plan evolved  data could be included in terms of percentage movement.  Members were informed that data would be included regarding attendance and pupil exclusion.

·         Members noted at the end of the action plan section 6C.4 ‘Further develop core and specialist training and support offer to schools’ and asked how this section could be expanded upon. The Assistant Director Education and Resources stated that this was being developed and would be reported back to the Committee in the autumn. There was a lot of work that needed developing around behaviour management.   A Behaviour Management Strategy was currently being drafted and would be brought before the Committee in the autumn.

·         Members asked how schools were addressing extended absences. Members were informed that compared to three or four years ago the communication from the Local Authority attendance service was much clearer in terms of expectations and communication with parents. Work with attendance officers had become much more focused and there was a difference being made in addressing the importance of attendance.

·         Members asked how attendance was being dealt within hard to reach communities and newly arrived immigrant communities where some may have not been used to going to school in their own countries. Members were informed that in the first instance it would be about identifying children with low attendance.  Efforts would then be made alongside translators and face-to-face meetings with parents to promote school attendance and the benefits of attending school amongst vulnerable groups.   The EAL Strategy had a strand which looked at how the team engages with vulnerable groups and how we informed them about our education system and the law regarding education.

·         Members referred to page 36 of the report, section 6, Consultation and asked how the information could be shared with Governing Bodies. The Assistant Director Education and Resources noted the comment and stated that in the next round of consultations the Action Plan  would be  shared with Governors however the document was not a statutory requirement.

·         Members referred to a speech that Michael Wilshaw gave to the Heads of Children’s Services which stated that children’s services bosses should be concerned about their role being cut further if they did not intervene more in failing schools now.  Members sought reassurance that Peterborough Children’s Services were using those existing powers.  The Assistant Director Education and Resources stated that he had been in attendance at the conference and endorsed the speech.  He had also presented at the conference and demonstrated that Peterborough was executing the existing powers.  He highlighted to Members that the report mentioned that formal powers were being used and warning letters were being sent out where necessary.

·         Members further asked if there had been full recognition of the change between the relationship between Local Authorities and schools. The Assistant Director Education and Resources stated that there was a recognition that the Local Authority was now a commissioner of schools not a provider of schools.  The Local Authority’s role was to challenge schools and had a responsibility for the outcomes of all children which was discharged through policing schools through the School Improvement Team.

·         Members asked if it was correct that councils were being criticised for underperforming academies despite the responsibility for them resting with the Secretary of State. The Assistant Director Education and Resources responded that the Local Authority’s responsibility was for the outcome of every child and would notify the Department for Education if he was unhappy with the performance of an Academy.   Formal warning notices had been issued to academies that were underperforming. 




The Committee noted the report and supported the School Improvement Team in challenging and intervening in schools to improve educational attainment across the city.


At this point the Assistant Director, Education and Resources requested that item 8, Improving Education Outcomes Task and Finish Group Final Report be brought forward as the Officer attending to assist in  presenting  the report needed to leave early.  The Committee agreed to this and it was therefore presented as item 7 instead of item 8.


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