Virtual Schoolbag (VSB)

17 Dec 2018
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2018/381
Primary Targets Data 2018/19 - key messages for schools

The purpose of this communication is to summarise key messages emerging from the collection of primary schools’ 2019 targets.

In agreement with the Strategic Management Board (SMB), the local authority collects data from all primary schools and academies. Collections take place as follows:

  • Targets for 2019 outcomes in October/November.
  • In-year forecasts of where pupils will be by the end of the academic year in January 2019.

The key uses of this data are to ensure that the local authority and Education Improvement Partnerships (EIPs) focus their funding on the correct priorities, through targeted interventions that promote excellence for all. However, we hope it also benefits individual schools to see the emerging picture as figures are aggregated to local authority level and key messages can be distilled from this.

Since the implementation of the new curriculum and accountabilities there has been an expectation that schools target all, or at least the very vast majority of pupils to be working at the expected standard. School targets express the aspirations for their pupils to reach the highest standard possible. A good target should be possible to attain, but should also feel just a little out of reach. As a result they may not be met, but it is crucial that all teachers and pupils believe they are possible. These targets, alongside current tracking data, should drive quality first teaching in the classroom; including through informing planning, interventions and pupil progress meetings.  Schools will also have identified groups of pupils for which their target setting may need to be more aspirational, in order to ensure underachievement is eradicated.

The local authority recognises that everyone needs to analyse all reported school data with prudence and caution in order to achieve the most effective blend of support and challenge in pursuit of excellence for all. Over the past three years the local authority has recognised the pressures that headteachers were under and sought to work with schools to understand their data and the challenges being faced under changed accountabilities and performance measures. This year the picture is much clearer, although we recognise many challenges still exist.

Key issues

The local authority urges schools to continually review their aspirations for pupils in 2019, with a particular focus upon:

  • disadvantaged pupils and those with SEN/D across all key stages.
  • targets against FFT 20 estimates in all subjects/key stages.
  • targets for English grammar punctuation and spelling at the higher standard in Key Stage 2.
  • ensuring that the level of challenge at Key Stage 1 will result in improving trends by reviewing targets against FFT 20 estimates.

Across the East Sussex schools that have shared their targets there are 1208 disadvantaged pupils. Collectively schools have targeted 752 of these pupils to reach the expected standard in reading, writing and mathematics combined at Key Stage 2. This leaves 456 (38%) disadvantaged pupils who will not be secondary ready if all schools meet their targets. If each school was able to support one more of these pupils to make the expected standard we could reduce this gap to 25%.

Given the profile of East Sussex we should be seeing outcomes for all pupils, as well as pupil groups, of above the national average. We need to set aspirational targets above this in order to get there. Whilst this is the aspiration for all pupils the data suggests it is not yet the aspiration for pupil groups.

Attendance and exclusions are often a key issue for disadvantaged and SEN/D pupil groups. We urge schools to regularly track the attendance of these groups and intervene where necessary, to ensure the highest possible outcomes are secured.

Submission of 2019 Targets data

97% of East Sussex primary schools and academies have contributed their data to this analysis. The following should be read as a commentary, rather than a series of judgments and it is essential to note that this analysis is based on a partial picture, owing to the incomplete return of data at the date of writing.

 

Analysis in brief

  • School targets suggest that if collective aspirations are met the outcomes across East Sussex would be above national averages in the vast majority of measures. However, these collective aspirations universally fall short of the FFT 20 estimates for East Sussex.
  • Pupils entitled to Free School Meals (FSM) or who are disadvantaged are targeted to do much less well than other pupils in all subjects and key stages. Gaps between FSM/disadvantaged and Non-FSM/Non-disadvantaged in schools’ targets, compared to the targets set at the same time last year; show that current targets are unlikely to significantly close the gap in attainment, although there may be some improvements at Key Stage 2.

Key Stage

Subject

2017 gap (%)

2018 gap (%)

2019 gap (%)

EYFS

GLD

17

18

17

Phonics

Year 1 Phonics

-

-

16

KS1

Reading EXS

20

17

18

Writing EXS

20

21

21

Mathematics EXS

20

18

19

KS2

RWM comb EXS

19

18

16

Reading EXS

17

18

15

Writing EXS

18

20

17

Mathematics EXS

15

17

15

EGPS EXS

19

21

18

 

  • SEN/D pupils are targeted to do much less well than other pupils in all subjects and key stages. Gaps between SEN/D and Non-SEN/D in schools’ targets, compared to the targets set at the same time last year; show that current targets are unlikely to consistently close attainment gaps, although there may be some improvements.

Key Stage

Subject

2017 gap (%)

2018 gap (%)

2019 gap (%)

EYFS

GLD

56

62

56

Phonics

Year 1 Phonics

-

-

43

KS1

Reading EXS

50

52

50

Writing EXS

54

55

54

Mathematics EXS

48

48

52

KS2

RWM comb EXS

60

55

56

Reading EXS

55

56

53

Writing EXS

62

59

56

Mathematics EXS

53

52

51

EGPS EXS

58

58

56

  • The schools’ targets for all pupils in the Early Years are just higher than the 2018 outcome and well above the 2018 national outcome.
  • The schools’ targets for all pupils in Year 1 Phonics are broadly in line with the 2018 outcome and the 2018 national outcome.
  • Schools’ Key Stage 1 targets at the:
    • Expected Standard (EXS) are above ESCC and national 2018 outcomes, but below ESCC FFT20 estimates.
    • Greater Depth Standard (GDS) are above ESCC and national 2018 outcomes, but below ESCC FFT20 estimates.
  • Schools’ Key Stage 2 targets:
    • For reading, writing and mathematics (combined) at expected and high standards are significantly above ESCC and national 2018 outcomes, but below FFT20 estimates. This suggests that schools have collectively maintained their increased aspirations for combined outcomes in all three subjects.
    • For reading, writing and mathematics (separately), all are above ESCC and national 2018 outcomes, but below FFT20 estimates.
    • For English grammar punctuation and spelling (EGPS):
      • At the expected standard are above ESCC and national 2018 outcomes, but below FFT20 estimates.
      • At the high standard are in line with ESCC 2018 outcomes, but significantly below national 2018 outcomes and even further below FFT20 estimates.

This suggests that in 2019 outcomes will again be disappointing in this subject.

Next steps                                                                                                         

We will continue to engage with schools and sponsors in an endeavour to collect a full set of data and we have been contacting some schools in order to gain a greater understanding of the figures they have reported.

All school leadership teams will need to have satisfied themselves that they are confident with their chosen methods of target setting, assessment and tracking. Triangulating accurate tracking and monitoring within school should assure senior leaders of the accuracy of the data. They can then support teachers with planning the most appropriate teaching and interventions to support all pupils in making good and better progress, therefore reaching the highest standards possible.

Education Improvement Partnerships (EIPs) and teaching school alliances are able to support schools locally, to work together to achieve improved outcomes for all pupils.

Important considerations for schools

We wish to remind schools that the FFT Aspire benchmark estimates provide reliable information to inform target setting for 2019 outcomes. We urge schools to use FFT20 or higher (as appropriate) benchmark estimates for this purpose. Historically, setting targets using FFT50 estimates has led to underachievement.

Targets for Key Stage 2 mathematics suggest that 2019 outcomes may be improved and this is likely to be above the respective 2018 national averages, which would see East Sussex exceeding national outcomes. Accessing support and training for developing mastery and reasoning approaches are essential aspects of the improvements needed in mathematics, with an emphasis on improving outcomes for disadvantaged, SEN/D and higher attaining pupils.

Targets for EGPS at the higher standard are likely to mean that outcomes across East Sussex will be poor in 2019. For EGPS, spelling is a key emphasis, building a systemic and systematic approach to phonics throughout the school, rather than just in key year groups. Teaching of spelling should also look beyond phonics, to making logical links between word classes and patterns, and encouraging children to ‘problem solve’ spellings rather than relying on rote learning. Although schools should not be teaching for the test, it is important to note that there is a clear correlation between writing outcomes and grammar. The fact that East Sussex lags behind the national average for the higher scaled score in the EGPS test may partly account for our low performance in GDS writing. Schools are encouraged to review their provision for grammar teaching and ensure that the teaching of writing (and reading) is strongly linked to effective approaches to developing pupils’ grammatical prowess.

At Key Stage 1 we urge schools to be as aspirational as possible. Despite being above national outcomes at local authority level, we do not compare favourably to our statistical neighbour authorities. The national direction of travel is still upwards and FFT estimates suggest much more is possible. Schools can focus upon those pupils who just scraped a good level of development in early years, but who were not secure. What works and can be done to support these pupils?

The Venn approach to tracking whether pupils are on course to succeed in each of reading, writing and mathematics is a high priority. In the past this approach has been successful across all year groups and can be used to focus upon:

  • pupils working at the expected standard or above;
  • pupils working within greater depth at the expected standard.

This tracking should identify pupils who need to be targeted for interventions in individual subjects.

We ask schools to ensure that target setting for the FSM and disadvantaged groups of pupils is aspirational, to ensure that performance gaps are narrowed significantly. Some individual school FSM/disadvantaged cohorts have a significant overlap of pupils with identified special educational needs (SEN). If this has an impact upon targets and in-year data schools need to identify this group and be able to very clearly articulate the progress all individual pupils are making. The local authority understands the impact this issue can have on schools’ aggregated targets, especially for those with smaller cohorts.

Similar aspiration also needs to be applied for all SEN/D pupils, alongside focused inclusive practice. A range of national and international research evidence suggests that the key approach to raising standards for disadvantaged and SEN/D pupils is to ensure they receive high quality first teaching in the classroom.

Attendance and exclusions figures for East Sussex are amongst the worst nationally. We urge schools to make improving attendance and reducing exclusions a key priority, with a particular, but not exclusive, focus on vulnerable groups. This is an essential priority for helping to ensure that all children are able to access the full range of learning and opportunities to support their achievements.

Reviewing data, targets and progress over the year enables schools, EIPs and the LA to work together to support each other to ensure that as many children as possible are ready for the next steps in their learning and the challenges of the next key stage.

 Original data request details

If schools have not yet shared their data, we would strongly encourage them to do so using the details that can be found as follows:

Primary School Targets 2019 - ESCC Averages can be found HERE

Laura-Jane Marshall
Bill Roddick
Commissioning Manager

Phone: 07920 498244 Mobile
Email: bill.roddick@eastsussex.gov.uk