Latest school improvement boss stresses early years success

THURROCK’S  school and college pupils are recording improved results across the board, members of the council’s Children’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee were told on Wednesday (30 October).

Mike Peters, the council’s new Strategic Leader, School Improvement, Learning and Skills, told members there were improvements at all key stages although some were improving more than others.

The report Headline Key Stage Results states: “As a result of intensive support and training for Early Years teaching and moderation in settings and schools, outcomes for Foundation Stage are above national, as are GCSE and individual subjects at Key Stage 1.”

Although the current sets of results are still provisional, the report explained Early Years results were “very encouraging as it puts the borough scores above the national and above others in the East of England region”.

At Key Stages 1 (aged seven), the report said there were still issues, but the second year of the Phonics check at the end of Year 1 saw Thurrock children making a 13 per cent “leap” from 2012 results, to two per cent above the national benchmark.

This “will help to underpin improvement in the standard of reading at the end of Key Stage 1 for the future”, said the report.

Key Stage 2 (aged 11) results have also shown an upward trend and although there is a need to improve the top level performances, the gap between Thurrock and national averages continues to close.

At this stage boys’ performances has improved more than girls, but there are still “significant gaps” which “will be a focus for further research and identification of good practice to share across all schools”.

GCSE results (Key Stage 4) have also continued to improve. The report says: “Thurrock schools have managed to increase the percentage of students attaining the benchmark measure of five A* to C passes at GCSE including English and maths against a predicted fall in the national figure.”

There was also a nine per cent improvement in students achieving five A* to C in the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) subjects – English, maths, sciences, humanities and a modern or classical foreign language.

However, the range of results at Key Stage 4 is still too wide, the committee was told, spanning 54 percentage points, although only one school is below the national floor standard this year.

Key Stage 5 (post-16) results were included this year for the first time, taking in A Level and vocational equivalents such as the BTEC Extended Diploma.

The report says: “The pass rate for BTEC averaged 99 [per cent, with a healthy representation of the higher grades. Two out of the three sixth forms with A level students achieved 100 per cent pass rate.”

It adds: “In order to develop and share expertise among the sixth forms, a post-16 network has been set up.”

Committee chair, Cllr Charlie Curtis said afterwards: “The Education Commission – which we also discussed – called for a proper celebration of success. It seems to me that these results show Thurrock’s young people at every key stage of their education here are succeeding and improving.

”We should be shouting about this success from the rooftops. The young people have done well and their teachers are doing well too. There are areas for improvement – there always are – but there is no doubt that Thurrock is heading in the right direction.

“Now we’ve got to ensure that improvement continues, and at an even faster rate too.”

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