Agenda item

Pupil Attainment


That the report be received and the achievements of pupils be noted.



The Director of Lifelong Learning introduced a report to provide Members with a summary of pupil attainment in statutory assessments across primary and secondary school phases for the school year 2012/13.  He provided background information and advised that attached to the report was an analysis of pupil attainment in statutory assessment and public examinations in the academic year 2012/13 for pupils in years 2, 6, 9 and 11 in Flintshire.


The Director invited Mr. Kevin Grandfield, Head of Schools Improvement Services, to present the data on statutory teacher assessment and reporting at Foundation Phase and Key Stage 2.  The Head of Schools Improvement Services also reported on the Key Stage 3 and 4 National Curriculum Assessment Results in Wales: 2013 and gave an overview of the trends in outcomes at Foundation Phase, Key Stage 2, and Key Stages 3 and 4.


The Director commented on the endeavours to secure high quality outcomes for learners.  Officers reported on the targets for performance across secondary schools based on the proportion of learners entitled to claim Free School Meals and advised that the targets set for Flintshire were amongst the highest and most challenging in Wales.  The outcomes were broadly in line with or above the targets set. 


The Director invited Mr. David Messum, Advisor for Social Inclusion and Wellbeing, to present the data on attendance and exclusions in Flintshire Primary and Secondary Schools: 2013.  Members were advised that school attendance was a high priority for the Welsh Government and local authorities in aiming to improve standards.  There had been a trend of improvement in Flintshire schools with figures for both primary and secondary schools being above the national average for Wales.  The Advisor for Social Inclusion and Wellbeing reported on the range of attendance across schools, target setting, and the number of permanent and fixed exclusions from Flintshire schools. 


The Chairman thanked the Director, Head of School Improvement Services and Advisor for Social Inclusion and Wellbeing, for their detailed presentations and invited Members to raise questions.


   The Chairman drew attention to the robustness of data.  He asked the Director if the Authority was satisfied with the teacher assessments made in Flintshire.  The Director responded that he had confidence in the professionalism of teachers and the workforce in schools.  He emphasised that he was aware of the level of challenge concerning assessments that teachers were undertaking in individual schools, however, he commented that he did not have the same confidence in the level of consistency across the country.     


The Chairman asked if there was any evidence that schools were not completing the forms correctly in relation to teacher assessments.  The  Head of Schools Improvement Services responded and explained the difference which had occurred between Flintshire and other Authorities last year.  The Chairman was given an assurance that there was no evidence that any other authorities were completing their forms incorrectly. 


Mr. David Hytch commented on the Foundation Phase data and referred to the pressure on schools to report matters in a favourable light.  He also referred to the subject of vocational courses and asked how widespread the use of such courses was in Flintshire and how they were used in making comparisons.


Mrs. Rebecca Stark expressed praise for the mechanism used for tracking and monitoring students attendance and progress in secondary schools.  However, she raised concerns about the level of exclusions in primary schools.  She also raised concerns around the pressure on teachers to produce assessments and to consistently strive for the highest levels.  She commented on the ability of individual children and the need to be realistic and not overly ambitious.  She also referred to the subject of Free School Meals and the impact of changes in the benefits system and the recording of figures across Wales. 


Mrs. Stark referred to the literacy and numeracy results for next year and asked how figures compared with the rest of Wales.  She commented on the need for sensitivity regarding how the information was delivered to parents and pupils.


Councillor Nancy Matthews acknowledged the progress made by schools in Flintshire in comparison across Wales but said there was also a  need to view the “wider picture” and prepare pupils for work outside Wales.  She said it would be helpful to have comparative data with England.   In his response the Director gave examples of outcomes in nearby Authorities and the Head of School Improvement Services agreed to provide additional information to the Committee on school performance in England's local authorities


Officers gave detailed responses to the queries and concerns raised  and referred to the work undertaken around aspirational target setting, performance monitoring work for individual schools, high quality school leadership and teaching and learning, and the support provided by the Authority to schools and by schools to each other through sharing of good practice.


Members congratulated the Director and his team on the progress and achievements gained.




That the report be received and the achievements of pupils be noted.


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