- Meeting of Scrutiny Committee, Thursday 6 October 2016 6.00 pm (Item 047.)
- View the declarations of interest for item 047.
- View the background to item 047.
The Council commissioned independent research from Oxford Brookes University on the impacts of the Council’s educational attainment investments in the poorest performing Oxford schools. The Scrutiny Committee has previously considered the Council’s educational attainment programme and this item was included in the Scrutiny work plan for 2015/16.
Why is it on the agenda?
For the Scrutiny Committee to consider the report on educational attainment. The Committee is asked to note the report and to provide any feedback on the Council’s educational attainment investments.
Who has been invited to comment?
· Councillor Pat Kennedy, Board Member for Young People, Schools and Skills;
· Tim Sadler, Executive Director for Community Services;
· Deb McGregor, Oxford Brookes University.
Cllr Pat Kennedy, Board Member for Young People, Schools and Skills presented the report. She explained the background to the programme and its purpose. The report provides evidence that the programme improved the results of all participating schools, changed the culture in many city schools and most importantly gave teachers the confidence that improvements could be made.
The Committee welcomed Professors Debra McGregor and Liz Browne from Brookes University and the authors of the report. Professor McGregor explained the methodology of the report; they had interviewed 7 head teachers to understand what impact the 2 year intervention had had on children’s abilities.
Professor Browne said that Table 10 of the report showed how pupils had made progress in their own rights. It shows data on the improvement of each school. She explained that only failing schools took part in the intervention (11 in total).
All the schools had large class sizes which is a problem in most Oxford schools.
Cllr Simmons asked whether the Council had taken forward any of the recommendations of the report. Cllr Kennedy said that there was a small networking programme of 3 schools, and there was a budget review to take some of the report’s recommendations forward.
The Director for Community Services said that the leadership for learning programme was carrying on but slowly declining as funding reduced and only 2 schools had continued the KRM programme outside of the intervention.
Cllr Fry asked if the schools that dropped out of the programme regretted not participating. Professor Browne explained that there were various reasons why schools stopped participating in the programme. These were often either a new head teacher starting, who stopped the programme or teacher turnover. A lot of teachers that started the initiatives moved on to other posts over the 2 year period.
The teachers’ network (established under the leadership for learning programme) continues to share good practice amongst schools.
The Chair asked if there was any connections between the nature of the KRM programme and the drop-out rate of schools. Professor McGregor said that the prescriptive nature of the KRM programme not always helpful for experienced teachers but can be very useful for newly qualified teachers.
The Director for Community Services explained that the City Council chose the KRM programme because they were looking for a programme with a proven track record for improving struggling schools. No school went backwards some just didn’t approve as much as the Council would of like.
The Committee asked whether the programme had made a significant difference. The Director of Community Services said that it had made a material difference – for a relative small amount of money. The programme had cost £200,000 over 2 years, and at the time there was no programme available for supporting leadership before the City Council’s programme.
The Committee provided the following feedback on the Council’s educational attainment investments:
For the Council to progress through the recommendations
That the Scrutiny Committee support education funding bid in budget.
The Committee resolved to note the report.