Extra funding to help secondary schools improve their GCSE results is just one of a number of recommendations made by a review panel set up to investigate poor exam results last year.
While East Riding of Yorkshire Council showed a strong improving trend in GCSE results in 2011, there was a dip in students achieving the gold standard of five GCSEs at grade C or better with two being in maths and English.
The results saw the local authority fall from their best national placing of 38 out of 151 local authorities in 2010 to 110 in 2011.
A schools improvement review panel, made up of six members and chaired by Councillor Richard Burton, was set up to look into the results and to see what more could be done to ensure gold standards results improved in the future.
In the report, recommendations include the setting up of an “excellence for all” fund. This would be one-off funding of £200,000 which would be available to maintained schools providing they met a number of criteria. Consultation would need to be taken with the schools forum on this proposal.
Other recommendations suggest that:
- All East Riding schools, including academies, adopt a coherent, consistent and comprehensive approach to promoting the highest level of achievement possible.
- Schools adopt those strategies from the identified good practice list which they have not implemented
- A work shop be held with the council’s school improvement team for secondary school head teachers and governors, as a matter of urgency, to implement the report’s findings
- Full support to be given to governors to ensure they recruit first class leadership team members and to ensure governors have the support required to be active critical friends with regard to monitoring pupil tracking and achievement.
Councillor Burton said: “The panel were aware that the dip in results was due to a small number of students not performing as well as expected. If only 10 more students from each of our secondary schools have achieved a C grade in maths and English then the East Riding would have been in the top quartile nationally.
“But improving the league table results was not the priority of the panel. We were more concerned with ensuring that any recommendations for improvement made by the panel were inclusive, securing improved attainment for all pupils.
Councillor Julie Abraham, portfolio holder for children, young people and schools at East Riding Council, added: “I welcome the findings of this well considered report and thank the panel for its swift delivery in order that the findings can be of benefit to our current Year 11 cohort, as at the end of the day we want to improve attainment for every individual young person.
“I also wish to thank each school and academy that assisted the panel thereby demonstrating they have the same interest in ensuring top class performance as we do.
“The panel has identified that improvements can be achieved with a relatively small sum and even in these financially constrained times, I have ascertained that funding can be made available to those schools that meet the criteria to deliver results.
“The authority recognises that our schools have struggled with years of underfunding from central government and if these additional resources can make a difference then it is right that we provide them.
“Longer term, we hope that central government will act on the now recognised fact that the East Riding is one of the worst funded in the country and provide adequate, sustainable and fair funding to allow our schools to provide the quality education for all pupils that they strive to do at present.”