Aiming high: Plymouth’s plan for the Class of 2020

Plymouth’s children and young people look set to benefit from an exciting new plan for education.

Schools, academies and nurseries are being asked to join a partnership with the Council as part of a bold move to drive up improvements through more collaboration and support across education in the city.

The Plan for Education is being unveiled at Cabinet on January 16 and sets out a vision of what the class of 2020 to look like. The plan wants schools to:
• Increase the proportion of pupils gaining a good GCSE in English and maths to be in line with or exceed national average
• Reduce the gaps in attainment between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged pupils by 50 per cent at the end of KS4
• Raise the attainment of boys by 10 per cent by the end of KS4
•Increase the achievement of pupils with special educational needs

As well as raising standards, the Plan for Education will focus on planning for pupil growth, developing an improved more integrated system for pupils with Special Educational Needs , skills and STEM ( science, technology, engineering and maths) – educating and preparing the workforce of the future and creating a strong system through partnership.

Councillor Terri Beer, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People said: “We are really excited by this as it’s an opportunity to drive up standards across the board for all children and young people – whatever school they go to. We have been talking to schools for some time now about how this could work and what they would need to drive up attainment and vitally, aspirations, so that all our children and young people thrive and get the best education they can.”

Details of how the partnership will work are currently being discussed with schools,  A city education board would have oversight of the plan.

The plan is being put together to improve attainment level across the city. There have been some improvements but by the end of KS4, results remain below the national average in attainment and progress.

At Post-16 the percentage of pupils achieving three or more ‘A’ Levels grades A*-E – again below the national average. Disadvantaged pupils attain less well than non-disadvantaged pupils. Attainment of children with special educational needs or shows that at key stages 1 and 2, pupils broadly attained at or above pupils with the same starting points, but by the end of KS4 SEND pupils broadly attain less well compared to all pupils with similar starting points.

Assistant Director for Education, Participation and Skills Judith Harwood said: “We need to do something differently to make the step-change that the schools need to get the best they can out of our children and young people. This is not just about better results, but about raising ambition and giving our young people the right skills to go out into the world of work and further education with confidence.”

The partnership would mean schools and other education settings could access expert support to help them improve attainment levels and raise aspirations in our young people. It would also explore using innovation to address issues.
Under the proposal, the Plan for Education outlines three key roles for the Council. They are to
• Champion the interests of parents and pupils by monitoring and challenging the work of all providers and schools. Through stewardship, parents and pupils will have their voices clearly heard and their interests effectively met.
• Commission a range of services and educational provision from a range of providers, including early years’ settings, schools and health, as a means of securing improved outcomes for all learners.
• Collaboration: to promote and organise ways in which schools and the council can collaborate and work in partnership with providers to secure improvement through networks and cooperative trusts. Through integration, where feasible it will promote a shared vision of aspiration and reduce inequality.

The Cabinet is being asked to support the principle of the Plan for Education and to continue discussions with all schools about how this could work. The majority of schools have indicated that they support the plan and would be fully involved in shaping its direction over the coming months.