School results bottom 10%

(25 Posts)
Plentyofpies Wed 19-Dec-18 21:23:11

My child's school was featured in an article of a certain paper and the results were well below average. No communication about this about this at all from the school.
There are other concerns about leadership and standards. What should parents expect now in regards to improvements?
Ofsted was "Good" a few years back, but this was after a RI rating which pointed to leadership and poor performance in the areas it appears to have fallen down on again.

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RedSkyLastNight Thu 20-Dec-18 09:34:56

The problem with averages is that someone has to be below average!

This is only an issue if the results of the school don't correlate to the intake that it has. If they are in line, then there may not be a lot the school can do to raise their results with respect to their position above/below average. What they should be continually doing is trying to ensure that every child achieves to the best of their ability.

You can by all means ask the school whether they were happy with their results, and if not what areas they are looking to improve.

user1483972886 Fri 21-Dec-18 08:43:54

Our SATS results were dire (25% pass) 2 years ago. Apparently I was the only parent to notice.... I spoke to the head and wrote to the council (several of the schools around here were dire). Nothing was ever said to parents, no transparency of the school development plan. No one could give me a straight answer.
I became a school governor to try to find out what was going on. Turned out relationship between head and chair of governors was overly cosy, no challenge whatsoever. Everything I suggested was deemed hostile. The other governors had all given up. DH wanted me to report them to the diocese for the shambles that it was but the situation was so toxic I just wanted out. We had a safeguarding incident with DS1.
We moved DS1 to a private school. School has joined a MAT, new head. DS2 is still there. When he's older we will move him too.
Compared to my friends experiences of being governors in bigger schools I just couldn't equate the 'leadership' that was going on in ours...

Plentyofpies Fri 21-Dec-18 08:54:10

Thank you for that post. It all sounds very familiar with the Governors as they are all friends together. There are safeguarding issues too. Given that it was in the paper and shared via social media a lot of parents are very aware and unhappy.

Did you get anywhere with the Council at all?

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user1483972886 Fri 21-Dec-18 09:11:34

The Council refered me to the school! So hopeless.
The parents here are not fussed as most have low aspirations for their children.
You should ask to see the school development plan. If it's a one off blip that's OK and as said it depends what their clientele base is like... ours is white working class so typically low aspirations. My friends in London with high EAL and Syrian refugees etc do much better in the sats! confused good luck!

BubblesBuddy Fri 21-Dec-18 10:16:55

Councils or LAs no longer tell schools what to do so they cannot do anything. They are there to support schools and advise. There are a number of ways this school should be improving.

The governing body minutes are not confidential and neither are the supporting papers unless specifically marked as such. You should be able to get headlines of the Improvement Plan.

Many schools buy in advice for improvement and the Head must be performance managed. It’s up to the governors and the attached adviser to challenge the Head.

You should always look at progress in conjunction with results. Some children might not have had great Sats results but could have made good progress.

Governors who cannot or will not challenge are useless. Unless enough of them want to change, nothing will happen until ofsted come back. As pp has said, one governor asking questions will be seen as a trouble maker. However I wouldn’t dismiss this route but I would get up to speed with how schools work and what is delegated to them. It’s a great deal! All governors need to be trained in data analysis but no governors can change a school with a useless head. They need to act and sort out leadership but that’s a big challenge!

Plentyofpies Fri 21-Dec-18 10:31:28

This is great thank you. I am up for a challenge as they will back the head all the way. However, they cannot ignore such results.

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Norestformrz Fri 21-Dec-18 15:32:17

More than half of schools in England are still under LA/council control.

Plentyofpies Fri 21-Dec-18 15:44:05

I have approached the local authority and asked the question. I fear being passed back to the school. Who else would monitor any failings?

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Norestformrz Fri 21-Dec-18 16:07:50

Complain about how a whole school is run
You can complain to Ofstedd_ if you think a school is not run properly. You must have already followed the school’s complaints procedure.
The school complaints procedure should be published on the school’s website. It should tell you what kind of complaints the school will deal with, such as bullying or bad behaviour.

BubblesBuddy Fri 21-Dec-18 16:39:01

The Governors are responsible. Not the LA. Have you ever seen a LA criticised in a school Ofsted report? No. That’s because it’s nothing to do with them. An LA does not control a school. It has a scheme of delegation and empowers schools to manage themselves. The LA “control” is fiction.

All the things that make a difference is schools is down to leadership and governance within the school. The LAs now provide advice and the money. Schools choose to buy back services from them. They don’t march in dishing out orders. It’s Governors that performance manage Heads. Not LAs.

If you read the government’s web site on school governance you will understand how it works. Don’t waste your time with the LA. Complain directly to the school. The more who do it, the more likely someone will take notice!

JustKeepSwimmingJustKeepSwimmi Fri 21-Dec-18 16:41:59

Im in 2 minds. The sats onky test a very narrow curriculum, of which most of the English is pointless. If the lower "passes" were due to a fully rounded curriculum I'd prefer that to a sats factory. Our schools year 6 is almost pointless. Its focus is almost exclusively sats.

EdwardScissorskills Fri 21-Dec-18 17:05:46

Schools care about their SATs results because it is how they are judged. I don't think there's a school out there which really says or thinks they have picked a rounded curriculum over improving low results - if they did, I would seriously wonder about the quality of leadership there, because it is inviting a world of monitoring and pain! Schools with decent results can make a point of a broad curriculum, they have the luxury of deciding not to push to get the pupils to stellar results. Schools with poor results are desperately running literacy and maths interventions when it should be time for other subjects to get over the line to show progress and attainment.

Plentyofpies Fri 21-Dec-18 17:47:29

These are all a big help thank you. I have had a response from the LA who state they are working closely with the school. No further details on how this is being done.

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user1483972886 Fri 21-Dec-18 20:34:09

No our school said SATS were pants and they were above it all...

BubblesBuddy Fri 21-Dec-18 20:50:51

The LA will be providing advice, classroom monitoring and evaluation of teaching practice, mentoring the SLT/Head, working with the school on how to write and monitor an Improvement Plan that tackles the issues, providing CPD, looking at the school as Ofsted would and making sure the governors and the leadership evaluate themselves and the school, accurately. You cannot improve anything if you don’t know what the problems are. They will probably have assigned an Improvement partner to the school. They will instigate Governor training. Lastly, they will be all over the progress data or changing how it’s judged if it’s inaccurate. Possibly more interventions that I cannot think of right now.

user1483972886 Fri 21-Dec-18 21:06:23

That's true the school had an.improvement partner but as a disruptive governor I never met them nor heared what they were trying to achieve. ..

user1483972886 Fri 21-Dec-18 21:09:20

Laughably as someone with an engineering degree and used to budgets of hundreds of millions I was invited to join the HSE committee and an effort to keep me away from finance where we were making teachers redundant whilst mainting 1.6 FTE administration (for 60 children)...

GlassLantern Fri 21-Dec-18 21:39:12

mainting 1.6 FTE administration (for 60 children).

Why do you think that is too much?

Plentyofpies Fri 21-Dec-18 21:53:30

That is a great deal of control Govenors hold. Who evaluates them and if the head had them in the pocket what then?

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user1483972886 Sat 22-Dec-18 07:34:59

Previously the LA did more but now due to budget cuts their role seems to have been diminished. In my experience no one was supervising the governors. I'm sure in most cases people are behaving ethically in professional manner. In our case the head was paying the governors' children to be in her marketing campaigns for the business she had on the side and the chair of governors was having free holidays at the Spanish villa of one of the administrative ladies etc. And so it went on..

Plentyofpies Sat 22-Dec-18 08:39:43

Unfortunately this does not surprise me and I suspect this happens more than most realise. They have all been friends with the Head for many years and are protective.
However, this result and with a number of other safeguarding complaints the excuses may start to run out.

There are thankfully a decent number of parents coming together so we can look at a complaint and then Ofsted.

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BubblesBuddy Sat 22-Dec-18 09:22:37

The Governors are supposed to self evaluate. Some do, some don’t. There are various ways this can be done and my LA produced a template to guide governors. It was challenging and useful. It consisted of answering questions about governance and, critically, producing evidence of processes and measurements of success.

Governors don’t necessarily meet the School Improvement Partner. They will be challenging the Head and are involved with suggesting performance management targets for the Head. The Chairman should meet them.

In my LA, the services offered are bought in by the schools who have the delegated budget and make their own spending decisions. The LA is set up as a trust to do this. The school buys varying levels of support. I also know the trust visit schools to evaluate their performance and place schools on red alert if they are in danger of failing an Ofsted. Visits are based on poor progress data and Sats results and benchmarking. More support can be given in these circumstances. A report is written after a visit and governors do see this. They should then amend their Improvement plan to reflect what needs to be done. The Chairman will definitely meet the SIP.

It is not good enough that Governors and the Head are over friendly. The Governors need professional detachment whilst being challenging and supportive.

Actually 1.6 FTE is quite high for admin for a tiny school. Although it might depend what they are paid!!! You have to work your way into a governing body. Sometimes you don’t get what you want from day 1. However usually people who manage finance for their job are best placed on the finance and HR committee. Usually new governors are asked where their expertise lies so the school makes use of their skills. Some of the practices here seem to suggest dysfunctional schools!

BubblesBuddy Sat 22-Dec-18 09:31:13

Governors don’t deal directly with safeguarding issues. There is a clear process and policy for this within every school. Governors receive reports on how Safeguarding has been dealt with (no names). They won’t need excuses re safeguarding unless their policy doesn’t follow the LAs standard one and the safeguarding officer (Head usually) hasn’t followed it. Governors don’t get involved with individual cases but do require the school to follow procedures and must know these have been followed correctly. If they knew the school hadn’t followed the policy, then that needs to be reported to Ofsted.

user1483972886 Mon 24-Dec-18 21:56:46

The 1.6 FTE for 60 children is significantly higher than any other school in our area with similar number of children and a teaching head. 2 teachers have been made redundant in the last 6 years whilst no administration staff has remained constant.
Unfortunately I was directly involved in safeguarding incident as it was my child effected...
Just to reassure several of my friends are primary school governors and things are run professionaly. I think our school is unfortunately the exception. I do think relying on voluntary governors is flawed (especially in our case). My only hope for the future is the chair of governors quits soon. He is deluded about his role and his capabilities. .

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