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Warwickshire County Council
Warwickshire County Council

Warwickshire School Improvement Boards and Consortia

This is Warwickshire’s approach to school improvement where system leaders (accredited National Leader of Education, National Leaders of Governance and Specialist Leaders of Education) are responsible for leading and driving school improvement. The role of the Local Authority is to be the champion of educational excellence. Education professionals in Warwickshire recognise that we all have a collective responsibility to secure the best outcomes for our learners, irrespective of the type of school, setting or college which they attend.

Priorities for school improvement:

  • Closing the gap for disadvantaged pupils at all phases remains a key priority.
  • Closing the gap between outcomes for pupils in different parts of the county.
  • Improve pupil outcomes and progress in maths at all key stages.
  • Developing capacity for system leadership and school to school support.
  • Securing a sustainable model for school improvement embracing the Warwickshire family of schools, settings and colleges.
  • Identifying opportunities to secure funding to support school improvement for the benefit of the Warwickshire family of schools, settings and colleges.

In addition to the above the DFE require that the Local Authority has a statutory obligation to support schools, Therefore, the Local Authority will, in partnership with the Regional Schools’ Commissioner, identify vulnerable schools, implement appropriate intervention strategies including powers of intervention, develop effective relationships with all school leaders and governors and facilitate a school-led improvement system.

The Warwickshire Education Challenge Board

The Warwickshire Education Challenge Board exists to ensure that school performance is monitored in a rigorous and transparent way by a group of stakeholders from across the education sector. It specifically focusses on:

  • Oversight of the Warwickshire Family of Schools
  • Trends in county wide data
  • Methodology for categorising schools
  • Trends in Ofsted reports within Warwickshire
  • Overview of schools causing concern
  • A report from the LA and RSC on their strategic priorities
  • Commissioning of initiatives and projects in response to this information

Area Analysis Groups

Attended by the LA, local MAT representation, local primary consortia chairs, secondary network chair and a special school representative. At least one Teaching School Hub representative. This group focuses on:

  • Data relating to local schools
  • Categorisation of schools
  • Recommendations for schools requiring support to be agreed and shared with the Warwickshire School Improvement Partnership
  • The identification of support available within the local consortium or network. Quality assurance of this work should be via the AAG.
  • Issues or recommendations to be passed on to Warwickshire School Improvement Partnership)

Categorisation of Schools

Currently Warwickshire’s Learning and Performance team carry out regular risk assessments of all Local Authority maintained schools and academies to identify vulnerabilities. Senior leaders from WCC Education and Learning meet regularly with representatives of all multi academy trusts with three or more schools within Warwickshire in order to discuss the trust’s view of their schools. This information is shared with the Area Analysis Groups.

Support for vulnerable schools is also brokered from good and outstanding providers within or beyond the consortium.

Schools are categorised through the collaborative risk assessment process as follows:

4: Substantial Support:

  • Allocation of a Learning Improvement Officer – half termly visits
  • Allocation of a Task Group Chair – half termly visits
  • Other bespoke support as needed such as Sustainability Action Groups, SEND Review, Pupil Premium Review

3: Medium Support:

  • Allocation of a Learning Improvement Officer – termly visits
  • Allocation of a Task Group Chair – termly visits
  • Other bespoke support as needed such as Sustainability Action Groups, SEND Review, Pupil Premium Review

2: Short term support:

  • School may require bespoke support for a particular issue or circumstance. Support may be from within the consortia/area network or LA.

1: No support:

  • Schools with a secure leadership and structure will be invited to engage in school to school support and challenge and to facilitate sharing of good practice.

Schools in Exceptional Circumstances

Teams across Warwickshire County Council meet regularly to input to the Schools in Exceptional Circumstances process which helps to provide wider context to the data. Other sources are also able to contribute information, for example professional associations. These schools have an assigned Lead Officer and a bespoke support package. There are regular meetings to look at progress to targets or progress on specific interventions.

Formal Warning Notices

Where a school is causing concern and the Local Authority considers it to be unlikely to improve unless further action is taken, we will consider issuing a formal warning notice. This will be agreed by the Education Challenge Board. Where the LA issues a formal warning notice a copy will be sent to the RSC and to Ofsted. Where a school fails to comply with this or fails to improve rapidly it may lead to the implementation of one or more of the LA’s powers of intervention. These are:

  • Removal of the school’s delegated budget
  • Appoint additional governors
  • Replace the governing body with an Interim Executive Board (IEB), subject to DfE approval.

It should be noted that the Regional Schools Commissioner has powers to intervene in underperforming LA maintained schools as well as academies, which includes issuing formal warning notices or an academy order if a school is judged to be inadequate by Ofsted.

The role of the Primary Consortia Chairs Board

The chair of each primary consortium sits on the Primary Consortia Chairs Board, where the strategic direction of primary education will be discussed. It is important that the chair is based in a school which is currently judged to be category A or B so that head teachers of RI or Special Measures schools are able to focus on improvement within their own school. (This also applies to chairs of secondary school networks)

The Primary School Improvement Board meets twice termly to discuss school improvement developments as well as any other relevant issues, including WES services to schools.

The role of primary consortia/secondary area network leads in School Improvement

In Warwickshire there are a number of primary consortia and secondary area networks, each of which is made up of a number of local schools who work together collaboratively to provide school to school support and collaborative support. The consortia are school led with support and advice provided by the Local Authority where requested. Special Schools are included in each consortium/network but also have their own network.. To support the role of consortia in school improvement Warwickshire Business Intelligence Unit (BIU) provides end of key stage data relating to schools in each consortium/network, which is shared with all schools to establish school improvement priorities across the consortium and identify good practice.

Currently a Link Officer is attached to each primary consortium and secondary area network to support the identification of priorities and facilitate appropriate support. Consortia are able to identify how best to utilise the time of their allocated Link Officer. Where the categorisation process identifies a vulnerable school, the chair of the consortium/netowrk will be informed via the Area Analysis Group, which may broker support from within the consortium where possible.

In Warwickshire, we also have an increasing number of good and outstanding schools who can provide support by sharing best practice and offering their support for schools causing concern.

They have a valuable contribution to make to the development of a school-led improvement system. All category 1 schools will be invited to make a contribution to this.

A Learning Improvement Officer (LIO) or Task Group Chair may also be commissioned to provide support for school improvement within LA maintained schools if requested by the recipient school. These experienced professionals provide professional challenge to the school by helping its leadership to evaluate accurately its performance, identify priorities for improvement and plan effective support and interventions. These roles helps the school to build capacity for school improvement and improve pupils’ achievement by supporting monitoring and evaluation.