Agenda item

School Attainment

To consider a report from Executive Director – People (Deputy Chief Executive)


(Presentation to Follow).



The Board had before them a report from Executive Director – People (Deputy Chief Executive) about pupil outcomes for all Key Stages for Cumbria in 2018, together with an update on Ofsted School Inspection outcomes.


The Assistant Director - Education & Skills talked members through the presentation, which explained that following the disappointing 2016 pupil outcomes for Cumbria in all key stages, the CASL plan was revised and action plans implemented to ensure a much greater focus on pupil achievement.


This focus had a positive impact on pupil achievement in 2017, with recognition across the CASL partnership that improvements needed to be sustained throughout the three year period of the CASL plan.


This ambition was reaffirmed to all partners in autumn 2017, and revised action plans implemented, driven through the Learning Improvement Service (LIS), CASL priority groups and the three Local Alliances.


During the academic year 2017-2018, there were a total of 86 Ofsted inspections in Cumbria.  Overall, judgements matched system predictions, with exceptions mainly due to relationships and culture within schools, rather than pupil achievement or the quality of provision.


Pupil achievement had shown strong progress in the Early Years, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. There had also been positive improvements in SEND outcomes in all phases. Despite some individual school and provider improvements at GCSE and Post 16, overall 2018 performance in these phases had been static in comparison to national figures.


·         Early Years


In Early Years, Foundation Stage Profile headline results show that the proportion achieving a ‘good level of development’ has continued to increase in 2018, from 65% to 70.1% in Cumbria.  Nationally, the proportion achieving the benchmark has increased from 70.7% to 71.5%.


Cumbria had increased at a faster rate than the national and has narrowed the gap for the third consecutive year, reversing a widening gap trend.  The CASL plan target for year three was to achieve outcomes in line with or better than the national in 2019.


·        Key Stage 1


In Phonics, 81.9% of pupils achieved the standard, compared with 82.5% nationally. This represents a three year upward trend, with a difference of 0.6% in 2018 compared with 2.2% in 2017 and 3.3% in 2016.


Cumbria was still slightly below the national for reading, writing and mathematics combined and for mathematics as a stand-alone subject. 


The disadvantaged gap in Key Stage 1 between disadvantaged pupils and other pupils nationally had reduced in 2018, but was still higher in all areas than the national gap.


·        Key Stage 2 


In KS2 64.4% achieved the expected standard Reading, Writing, Mathematics (RWM) combined - (National  64.1%) - a substantial improvement of 3.9% compared to a 3% national increase.


Reading results (77.5%) exceeded national (75.0%). Writing results improved substantially and now exceed the national by 2.1%. Cumbria’s results increased by 3.1% (to 80.3%), compared with a national increase of just 1.8%.


Maths results matched N (75.3%) after being slightly below last year. Results increased by 1.7% compared with just a 0.4% increase nationally.


In KS2, The performance of disadvantaged pupils achieving the expected standard in 2018 was more varied than in 2017.  On the combined measure of reading, writing and maths, the disadvantaged pupils achieving the benchmark fell slightly (down from 48.1% to 47.6%).  This contrasts to an increase nationally of 2.3 percentage points and means Cumbria is below the country as a whole by 2%.


·         Key Stage 4


Cumbria performed above the national average on the GCSE measure of the percentage achieving 9-4 grades in English & Maths (65.0% compared with 64.3%).


In KS4, the proportion of children achieving passes in English at grade 4 and above hadfallen for disadvantaged pupils (down from 58.4% to 57.1%). Attainment at the end of this Key Stage is not showing significant improvement.  All main attainment measures for disadvantaged pupils in Cumbria were below the national.



·         A Level


The average points score for Level 3 qualifications (A ‘Level and equivalent grade subjects) was 30.90 in Cumbria in 2018, slightly below the national figure of 31.59.


For A ‘Level subjects only, the average points score per entry was slightly lower in Cumbria (30.97) than nationally (31.84).  Cumbria has a notional grade ‘C’ compared to a national grade of ‘C+’.  Between 2017 and 2018, the Cumbria and national figures increased by roughly the same amount (up 0.94 for Cumbria and 0.99 for England).




·        Ofsted Outcomes


There were a total of 86 inspections during the academic year 2017-2018.  34 were Section 5 inspections and 52 were Section 8 inspections.  63 schools retained a good or outstanding grade, eight improved their grade to good or better and four declined from good or better to Requires Improvement (RI) or Serious Weaknesses (SW).  In two of the RI schools, leadership has improved from grade 3 to grade 2.


The impact of these inspections on the overall percentage of good or better primary schools in Cumbria was that this figure was now 92.94% compared with 91.85% at 1 September 2017.


The Board raised concerns over the areas where Cumbria was not achieving national average. The officers provided context of Cumbria’s unique educational challenges and then discussion took place regarding the positive results seen in Primary Education and how these could be translated into secondary education.


Members asked for clarification on how the results vary across the county and officers resolve to provide a geographical breakdown for the Board.



1)    An item on Child Poverty be brought before a future meeting of the Board which provides an insight into the fall in Key Stage 4 attainment rates.

2)    That further information be provided to the Board on how Key Stage attainment varies across the county.

Supporting documents: