Standards and Achievement Service

Standards and Achievement Service
Background information
The Standards and Achievement Service comprises of:
School Improvement Team
Early Years Improvement Service
14-19 Improvement Team
Governor Services
Looked After Children Educational Services
The service is accountable for ensuring that all schools, early years settings and post-16
institutions are providing a good or better education for all children and young people, so that
their educational outcomes are ambitious and create opportunities and choices for the
future. The service also aims to build strong capacity across these universal services, so that
they are able to support the needs of all children, including those at risk of
1. School Improvement Team
The prime responsibility of the central team is to:
Ensure good or better provision across all phases
Challenge where provision could be better
Intervene if there are serious concerns about the capacity of the leadership to
improve at the necessary pace
Support where there is capacity to improve at pace
Core Offer of Monitoring, Challenge and Intervention
All schools have a set number of officer days support each year using a principle of ‘inverse
proportion to success’. The schools are allocated a ‘support category’, which is reviewed
termly and is informed by Ofsted judgements. The ‘support categories’ are based on a set of
agreed criteria and take factors such as new leadership, expansion etc. into account.
These allocated officer days range from two days a year for support category 1a to a
bespoke tailored number of up to 40 days for 4b. They form part of a core offer for which we
do not charge. The days for categories 2a – 4b include teaching and learning reviews.
Category 1a and 1b schools can buy in these additional days. Schools are allocated a
School Improvement Advisor (SIA) and in principle a SIA will work with the same school for
three years. The internal officers; Strategic Leads for Early Years, Primary, Transition and
Secondary, act as SIAs and there are seven external advisers employed on temporary
contracts for a set number of days, which will vary according to the support category of each
school. The categories are recommended by the SIA, and validated internally.
The cost of the ‘core offer’ is determined by the number of days and reduces as the schools
collectively improve.
Neighbouring local authorities who have either moved to a fully traded service for all schools
or solely for ‘outstanding’ schools have reported that schools have slipped into either LA or
Ofsted ‘causing concern’ categories in a relatively short period of time and they have
subsequently re-instated a core offer as the financial costs of recovery are higher than
‘maintenance’ and the negative impact on children’s outcomes are long lasting.
The Council takes its statutory duty seriously to intervene where standards are in need of
rapid improvement and there is not the capacity within the school to effect change at pace.
There is a directorate School Recovery Board in place that reviews the Schools Causing
Concern on a termly basis, with input from all services within CYP. This then feeds into a
termly meeting of the Head of S&A, with Strategic Leaders and the Executive Director to
review progress of Schools Causing Concern, succession planning and other issues arising.
There have been a high number of interventions, which have taken place by working in
partnership with governing bodies. The local authority has issued two Warning Notices and
set up four IEBs over the past five years.
Balance between maintaining central staff, use of external advisers and leadership within
The shift has been to one of ‘intelligent accountability’ where the role of the Council is to
commission quality of provision rather than try to provide it. In Lewisham, the strategy to use
the very best headteachers to lead more than one school has been highly successful across
the primary sector both in improving individual schools and raising standards across the
board. Primary school outcomes have now been in the top 10 in the country for two years
The structure of the central school improvement team has been significantly reduced in size
and predominantly top heavy to reflect the need for strategic leadership and the expectation
that schools are responsible for their own projects/professional development programmes.
We have recently recruited two additional posts to support the primary and secondary school
improvement work.
The Strategic Leads are themselves successful school leaders and Ofsted trained. They
also deliver the additional strategic functions of:
Headteacher recruitment
Intervention & trouble shooting
Partnership/Federation brokerage
Strategic Partnership working
Good working relationships are paramount to enable them to perform these functions
External staff are engaged for a set number of days to deliver the Monitoring and Challenge
programme in schools. These advisers can be replaced when the agenda shifts or their skills
set is out of date. Costs remain low as they are only bought in for the minimum required
time. This approach is supported by senior officers and the funding allocated is currently
The costs of central staff delivering interventions in the past have been high and not always
successful. Through robust interventions where the leadership and the governing bodies
have been removed, where necessary, and replaced by outstanding school leaders running
more than one school, the costs have been much lower and the impact greater.
Additional areas
There are a small number of staff who are employed to cover specific statutory areas: Newly
Qualified Teacher Appropriate Body (to enable NQTs to become fully qualified we must
validate schools’ monitoring & evaluation processes); School Assessment Moderation of
Primary Tests and Elective Home Education (we have a duty to ensure that the education
received is appropriate); support for SACRE, both clerking and advising.
2. Early Years Improvement Service
We have maintained a small but high quality improvement service of 5 specialist advisors.
They work across all early years settings and providers, including PVIs, childminders and
schools to both encourage more providers to take targeted 2 year olds in addition to
improving the quality of that provision. They also work with schools in reception classes,
supporting transition from nurseries and into Key Stage 1.
There are two nursery schools in Lewisham, both graded by Ofsted as Outstanding,
Chelwood and Clyde. Chelwood has recently been granted Teaching School Status and we
are negotiating with them areas that they may lead on.
3. 14 – 19 School Improvement Team
We have a key role to ensure that there is adequate provision for our young people, as they
move through their education. We want to commission from our local providers where
possible. This includes the commissioning of alternative educational provision, such as
vocational courses for 14-16 year olds. The current status of Lewisham and Southwark
College (judged by Ofsted to be inadequate) is a priority.
We have maintained a small team which is comprised of a Strategic Lead and a small group
of officers.
4. Governor Services
This has moved to be a fully traded service and the majority of schools buy in to the LA
Service. The Service has a Head of Service and one full time officer, plus a number of
clerks. The service supports the Lewisham Governor Association and provides useful
documents and guidance to all governing bodies. We also identify Local Authority Governors
to join governing bodies or be nominated to join governing bodies under the new legislation.
5. Looked After Children Educational Services
We have a Virtual Head in post with a team of specialists. The Head is currently reviewing
the structure of the team. There is a Governing Body for the Virtual School, chaired by an
ex-headteacher, with Member, headteacher and foster carer representation.
Meetings with headteachers
The Executive Director for CYP has a termly meeting with headteachers. This takes place
for a morning each term. It takes place in schools and deals with news, key areas and
sharing best practice to raise standards.
The primary headteachers meet with council officers at the Primary Strategic Group on a
half-termly basis. The secondary headteachers meet three times a term and council officers
attend part of those meetings for specific items and updates. Special school headteachers
attend phase meetings and also have their own Special heads consultative where they meet
The primary headteachers used to have a Primary Consultative, which has now evolved into
a cross-phase Leadership Forum. They have planned two meetings termly, where one is a
business meeting and they intend to invite guest speakers to the other. They have had one
‘horizon-scanning’ meeting, which was well-attended.
The secondary headteachers have set up a working party to work with council officers on a
Raising Attainment Plan and there is strong commitment from all secondary heads to raise
attainment across all schools.
Key outcomes
The EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage 3, for 0-5) outcomes have been steadily improving
at a faster rate than national. In 2013, the assessment framework changed significantly and
our outcomes rose to be close to the top in the whole country, both for all children and those
termed as ‘disadvantaged’ (those eligible for Free School meals and those Looked After)
Key Stage 1 (aged 5-7): have remained at the same or just below national averages. In
2013, this shifted and the outcomes were above national in all measures for the first time
and this upward trajectory continued into 2014.
Key Stage 2 (aged 7-11): results have been rising well. There was a significant stepchange
in 2010 and steady improvements since then. For the expected Level 4 in reading, writing
and maths, Lewisham schools were ranked as 4th in the country. Level 5s in reading,
writing, and maths have also increased, but the gap for ‘disadvantaged’ pupils is not closing
as fast as we would like.
Key Stage 4: Results dropped more than the national drop and the local authority rank
against statistical neighbours is bottom. This has been an area that politicians are now very
involved in.
Key Stage 5: Outcomes across post-16 institutions continue to match national at the A-level
pass rates, but are below national for the higher grades. As with KS4, this is a priority.
However, there has been an increase in the number of young people who have gone on to
top universities and a decrease in the number who are NEET.