The Leader presented the report, informing members that due to changes in pupil outcome performance measures and the pandemic, Welsh Government cancelled all statutory pupil data outcome collections for the end of the academic year in summer 2020.
No school end of phase data was submitted to local authorities. Each school continued to record internal teacher assessment for their own pupil progression purposes. No moderation processes were held between schools in Wales.
Key Stage 4 and 5 external examinations were cancelled and replaced with a ‘Centre Assessment Grade’ system. Welsh Government did not collect or publish Key Stage 4 or 5 outcomes.
Due to the significant changes in the make-up of GCSE, vocational, AS and A Level courses and the absence of external examinations, any locally produced outcomes were not to be used for accountability purposes. Data comparisons or trends were not to be used in an attempt to analyse this set of pupil outcomes.
The purpose of the report was to provide a contextual view of anonymised schools rather than the performance of the local authority or individual schools. The information was used sensitively and appropriately.
The local authority used a wider set of information to evaluate each of its schools. This included:
· The schools ability to self-evaluate
· The success of the School Development Plan
· The quality of teaching and learning
· The schools capacity for self-improvement
The report showed that there were significant increases in pupil outcomes but it was not possible to determine if this represented school improvement or sustainable improvement.
Charts within the report showed WJEC outcomes over ten years with noticeable gains of around 10% in the final column, which represented the August 2020 Centre Assessment Grades.
The Newport KS4 and 5 results represented the eight English medium secondary schools in the city. Our Welsh medium secondary school would have its first set of end of Key Stage 4 outcomes in summer 2021.
The Key Stage 4 results showed that Newport schools had the highest and lowest Capped 9 outcomes in the region. This was also evident in Key Stage 5 outcomes. To add context, it was noted that Newport had a diverse set of secondary schools with significant differences between the volumes of learners entitled to free school meals. Newport had one secondary school in the city with highest level of deprivation out of the 32 regional secondary schools, representing five local authorities.
The Council was exceptionally proud of its learners and the Centre Assessment Grades they were awarded.
This was against the backdrop of a pandemic and significant changes in teaching and learning that they adapted to in their last and most significant term of their GCSE, AS and A Level courses.
The Council would continue to work with all of its schools to prepare and support them for the further modifications in Centre Assessment Grades for summer 2021 and beyond, as well as ensuring that learners had the most appropriate transition between the next stages of their lives. This was whether it was within schools, in apprenticeships, the world of work, Further or Higher Education.
The Welsh Government was committed to supporting the capacity and conditions to allow each secondary school to have robust centre determined grades whilst maintaining whole system integrity for 2021. This provided public confidence and gave value to learners that the grades they would be awarded would have been through a very thorough validation process. To support this process Welsh Government was allocating funding to help centres with some increased capacity to:
· Attend professional learning offered by WJEC to support the centre determined grade process;
· Allow time and space for schools and colleges to develop an assessment approach and undertake internal quality assurance;
· Provide time for Headteachers and college leaders to discuss the process and outcomes with other schools and colleges, to provide reassurance and transparency for both centres and learners.
Every centre across the region would receive: £2988 this financial year to support these principles.
The Leader thanked Education Services, teachers, parent, pupils and everyone involved for their co-operation, dedication and hard work.
The Deputy Chief Education Officer add that it was an extraordinary year, with so many disruptions for pupils and he praised them for achievements they made under the difficult circumstances.
Comments of Cabinet Members:
Councillor Harvey echoed the response of the Leader adding her thanks for everyone’s hard work.
Councillor Cockeram understood the difficulty that parents had experienced with home schooling and hoped it was appreciated that teachers did so much for pupils. He was also pleased that schools would be opening soon.
That Cabinet noted the report and acknowledged the position regarding pupil performance.