School standards in Plymouth to be discussed at Scrutiny

The performance standards of Plymouth’s schools are going to be discussed at the Education and Children’s Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday 19 September.

Although the Council’s initial analysis of the results for 2018 reveal slight improvement when compared to 2017, Plymouth’s performance is still below the national average.

Councillor Jon Taylor

Councillor Jon Taylor, the Cabinet Member responsible for Education in the city is bringing a report to Scrutiny which gives a detailed analysis of the city’s Key Stage 1, 2 and 4 results. He said: “We want to ensure all pupils, fulfil their potential and no matter where a child lives, they receive an excellent education from a first class local school.

“When we compare the education landscape in Plymouth to other cities, the inadequacies in our schools are laid bare. Nine out of ten children in London go to a good or outstanding school where as in Plymouth, it’s only five out of ten and this puts our young people and our city at a significant disadvantage.

“Although our role is one of a champion for all children and young people in terms of promoting the best possible outcomes for school leavers, we have limited powers to take action in improving the standards reached by pupils at Key Stage 4, as the majority of secondary schools in Plymouth (75 per cent) are academies.

“This is why we need the Regional Schools Commissioner to play their part in holding schools to account, as well ensuring we are working together across the whole education landscape to fully embed our Plan for Education.

“The plan was launched earlier this year and is a unique partnership between the Council, the Department for Education and schools that focuses on four key elements:

  • Increasing the proportion of pupils gaining a good GCSE in English and maths to be in line with or exceed national average
  •  Reducing the gaps in attainment between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged pupils by 50 per cent at the end of Key Stage 4 (KS4)
  • Raising the attainment of boys by 10 per cent by the end of KS4
  • Increasing 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.

“Although we know where improvements need to be made we are also painfully aware that Plymouth is underfunded even after the National Funding Formula implementation. That is why we are asking Government to fund the gap between Plymouth and similar Local Authorities. This would ensure that all our schools have enough money to support educational achievement and will impact positively on standards.”