Wirral School Improvement Strategy 2021-2024
Decision Maker: Children, Young People & Education Committee
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
This report presents the Children, Young People and Education Committee with the School Improvement Strategy 2021-24. The COVID-19 pandemic has been the most challenging emergency the Borough of Wirral and the Council has responded to in recent times. The nature of the pandemic saw the Council and education settings react at speed to implement Government policy and local priorities to limit the spread of the virus, protect the health of all our residents and ensure that our children and young people could continue to access education. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the education of young people and our educational institutions cannot be underestimated and it is essential that we now focus on a new era of change and support moving forward. The local authority is committed to provide schools with an enhanced school improvement service offer, in recognition of the reduced offer of school improvement, given the need to divert resources to focus on dealing with COVID. This School Improvement Strategy as attached at appendix 1 sets out the Council’s vision and ambition around school improvement. It forms part of a wider multi-factorial Education Strategy which will provide a new transformational and holistic approach to education across all areas, including early years, social care, early help and beyond. The report and strategy are aligned to proposed priorities of Wirral Council’s Plan 2026. -Brighter futures for all regardless of their background.
Resolved – That
the School Improvement Strategy 2021-2024 be endorsed.
the approach taken and ongoing support given to the school
system by Wirral Council be noted.
an update on progress towards implementation of the strategy be
reported back to the Children, Young People and Education Committee
in 6 months.
4) the School Improvement Strategy is identified in the Council’s Corporate Risk Register as the mitigation of educational under attainment caused by the pandemic, the Committee therefore agrees that alongside the three year strategy, it is necessary to develop an 18-month Covid-19 Education Catch Up Plan, to identify key actions, resources, target groups and key performance indicators to ensure that the adverse impact on our children’s life chances that may be caused by the pandemic are minimised, with the plan being reviewed by this Committee in 2022.
Reasons for the decision:
The Children, Young People and Education Committee has a role to play in ensuring that the local authority and partners are working collectively to improve outcomes for children and young people across Wirral local authority. The School Improvement Strategy 2021-2024 provides an opportunity for the Committee to understand the actions being taken to support schools across the local authority and seeks endorsement for the actions being taken.
The local authority has a statutory duty “to promote high standards so that children and young people achieve well and fulfil their potential” as set out within the Education Act 1996. This Strategy provides the framework through which those responsibilities will be fulfilled.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused disruption to children and young people’s education and forced re-prioritisation of resources to respond accordingly. It is important, as the Council transitions out of ‘response and recovery’ from COVID-19, to articulate a clear and robust plan to work collaboratively with schools to support improvements in attainment and pupil learning outcomes. This Strategy seeks to respond to the challenges presented from COVID-19, providing the necessary support and critical friend challenge to drive improvements and enable young people to achieve their aspirations.
Alternative options considered:
Do nothing: The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted on the current operations of school improvement and the self-improving system. Failure to articulate a clear plan moving forward presents a risk that the system may become fragmented and impact on the positive relationship between schools and the local authority.
Produce a wider Education Strategy: The School Improvement Strategy is the building block as part of a wider Education Strategy. It is important, in the current context, that it stands alone to demonstrate the importance of progress which needs to be made in this area. Including plans around school improvement within an overarching Education Strategy would potentially dilute the focus and priority of work needed in this area.
Report author: James Backhouse
Publication date: 14/09/2021
Date of decision: 13/09/2021
Decided at meeting: 13/09/2021 - Children, Young People & Education Committee
Effective from: 18/09/2021