Council meetings

Agenda item

Lewisham Schools results




The Committee congratulated all primary schools in Lewisham on their excellent results.


The Committee will consider secondary school results in more details as part of the scheduled item in February.


Sue Tipler (Head of Standards and Achievement) introduced the report, highlighting the following information:

·         Lewisham is near the top of the country in terms of primary school results.

·         Phonics results are being looked at closely to see whether Pupil Premium children are closing the gaps in achievement with non-Pupil Premium children.

·         At KS1 Lewisham is above the national average in every measure.

·         At KS2 the step change in achievement made in 2012 has been sustained, with more schools moving up, although gaps in achievement remain at the higher level.

·         At KS4 results dropped for the first time in a long time. The national figures are not out yet but the early indication is that London-wide results have dropped. Ofsted have indicated it will be difficult to directly compare the previous year’s results with this year’s.

·         Investigative work has been carried with schools around GCSE achievement, with indications that there are different results at different schools with little pattern. Some have achieved better in English, where the national trend is worsening or achieved worse in maths where the national trend is improving.


In response to questions from the Committee, Councillor Paul Maslin (Cabinet Member for Children & Young People), Frankie Sulke (Executive Director for Children & Young People) and Sue Tipler provided the following information:

·         Officers are working with Sutton Trust, who have produced a toolkit to help schools improve the gaps in achievement between those on the Pupil Premium and those not. Headteachers are being pointed towards it.

·         There is a focus on the quality of teaching and learning as well as awareness raising so teachers know who is Pupil Premium in the classroom.

·         Pupil Premium children in Lewisham do better than the national average and above the London average for Pupil Premium. At Level 4 the gap is closed and at Level 5 the gap is closing.

·         Ofsted have indicated that they won’t give an Outstanding grade to schools with big gaps in achievement between those on Pupil Premium and those not.

·         The achievement at Early Years level and in primary schools has been excellent, especially given the levels of deprivation that are present in the borough and Lewisham has some of the best primary schools in the country.

·         There have been concerns over the performance of some schools at GCSE level. A key indicator is whether schools have matched their GCSE performance with the performance of their cohort in the primary tests when they were 11. 

·         Officers have taken teams into two schools and looked carefully at predictions for next year, assessing how robust they are.

·         One concern has been the number of pupils at levels 4 c, b and a not converting to higher grades, especially those at Level 4c.  Officers are saying to primary schools that sending pupils at Level 5 will result in a conversion to higher GCSE grades.

·         Pupil Premium children in London have a better chance of going to university than some non-Pupil Premium children in other areas of the country.

·         Lewisham’s ranking comparison with the rest of London at GCSE has been disappointing and is likely to be disappointing again this year when final results are published in January 2015. However there is a lot of good practice out there and improvements can be made.

·         Due to the independence and autonomous nature of schools there are limits on what the local authority can do. Lewisham has a close relationship with its schools.

·         The strategy that worked in primary schools, of getting in outstanding leaders as Executive Headteachers, hasn’t worked as well in secondary schools.

·         There have been problems with recruiting teachers.  This may be due to teachers being unable to get housing that is affordable in London.

·         The final results will be published in January, after that it will be possible to see the outcomes properly and then be clear about what the 10% improvement target in GCSE results outlined in the Mayor’s priorities will look like. A plan can then be developed to achieve this improvement. This 10% improvement target is a floor, not a ceiling, and the aim is improve more than this, as well closing the gaps in achievement for Pupil Premium children.

·         There are some schools that officers are concerned about and officers are considering options and approaches to take, which could include a form of intervention.

·         The mark schemes for examinations have not changed, but the questions in the exams were higher order questions and these can throw some of the less able children.

·         Admission policies for schools are very clear. In those schools which are their own admissions authority, officers do scrutinise them to make sure they are legal. However, in those schools, governing bodies ultimately have the responsibility in passing admissions policies and ensuring they are in line with the National Admissions Code.


The Committee then discussed the following:

·         The need for a strong focus on school results by the Committee

·         How Lewisham can achieve the improvement in GCSE results set out in the 2014 election manifesto.

·         That issues identified here about secondary school results will be looked at in more detail at the scheduled item at the February meeting.

·         That comparative information showing gaps in achievement should be between Pupil Premium and non-Pupil Premium children.




The Committee congratulated all primary schools in Lewisham on their excellent results.


The Committee will consider secondary school results in more details as part of the scheduled item in February.

Supporting documents: