4.1 Angela Scattergood, Director of Education Services, and Sandra Roberts, Director of Lewisham Learning presented the report to the Committee and tabled an amended table to replace that on page 56 of the agenda report, a copy of which will be included in the agenda documentation. In the discussion that followed, the following key points were raised:
4.1.1 Lewisham Learning had been looking further afield than Lewisham to find good practice in particular around under-achieving groups. There would be a fact finding visit to LB Haringey looking at the work they had undertaken on narrowing the attainment gap and in particular looking at Black Caribbean children.
4.1.2 Research had just been published on under-achieving groups in London schools. It was called “Boys on Track”. There was a strong focus on Black Caribbean boys and White Free school meals boys. One of the authors would be working with the Council and Lewisham would use this research to inform strategies.
4.1.3 In terms of timescale, there was a focus on current Year 11s for some actions but the timescale for the overall plans for cross-borough work for under-achieving groups would be hoped to be introduced for September 2020.
4.1.4 A member of the Committee was concerned that results being affected by high-achievers leaving Lewisham for outside borough provision should not be presented as an excuse for results in Lewisham, as it was a small number of students. The Interim Executive Member for Children and Young People felt it was important to show how Lewisham children achieve as well as how Lewisham schools achieve. It was important to build the community’s confidence in Lewisham schools so they best served the Lewisham population.
4.1.5 A member of the Committee highlighted that whether or not the borough was losing high achieving pupils after Key Stage 2 would not be a factor in explaining the Lewisham Progress 8 scores as that represented progress and took into account the base level, and the Lewisham figures had been the worst in London.
4.1.6 A member of the Committee raised a concern that the gap in attainment was widening further rather than decreasing and that a more definite timeframe was needed.
4.1.7 In the planning and consultation for the new plans for a strategy for working with lower-achieving groups, the Council had carried out substantial consultation including meetings with parent groups, the Young Advisors, and groups such as Lewisham Education Group and Parent Engage.
4.1.8 A member of the Committee highlighted that it was very challenging for the secondary schools if they had a concentration of children with higher needs, and that although it should not be seen as an excuse, the additional challenge needed to be recognised. Proactively trying to get Lewisham families to educate their children in borough was also important.
4.1.9 There had been a 10.1 per cent increase in the number of Lewisham residents choosing Lewisham schools in the last year and celebrating this success was important.
4.1.10 A member of the Committee raised a concern that in respect of EYFS profile, the achievement gap between those on FSM and those who were not was a lot higher than the national average. This was in context of the overall results for EYFS being very good. It was also highlighted that the Key Stage 2 Lewisham writing scores were much lower than other areas.
4.1.11 The Committee heard that progress in writing had been a big challenge and there was a targeted programme for schools making the least progress. The numbers achieving the expected level was not much different to the national average however the number obtaining “greater depth” was lower than average and more work would be done from a younger age. Improvements had been made and Ofsted had recently recognised progress in writing in a number of Lewisham schools.
4.2 RESOLVED that the report be noted.