The Chair of the Children and Learning Scrutiny Panel presented the Panels findings, conclusions and recommendations of the scrutiny investigation into the Local Authoritys Plans for School Improvement and Support, following the OFSTED inspection in January 2014.
The Board considered the following recommendations:
a) That measures be implemented to encourage elected members to develop active and supportive links with the schools in their ward.
b) That the Children and Learning Scrutiny Panel receive quarterly updates on the progress made against the Local Authoritys school improvement post inspection action plan.
c) That, at the end of each academic year, performance data pertaining to all schools, is reported to the Children and Learning Scrutiny Panel.
d) That a mechanism is implemented whereby, when a school is facing special measures and/or underperformance, the Children and Learning Scrutiny Panel is notified, enabling it to request a meeting with the head teacher and chair of governors to gain a clearer appreciation of the support and challenge the school requires.
e) That, Middlesbroughs schools and teachers use the Sutton Trust & Education Endowment Fund Teaching and Learning Toolkit as guidance to enable them to effectively use their resources to improve attainment. The Toolkit is an accessible summary of educational research.
f) That teacher evaluation is undertaken regularly which includes student performance assessments and outcome measures. Evaluation results should include substantive feedback to teachers and link results to a wide range of professional development opportunities to strengthen practice. This will ensure a continuous pathway for professional growth and development is maintained.
g) That an evaluation system for head teachers be developed that includes multiple measures reflecting the complexity of their leadership, management and pupil support roles and is linked directly to opportunities to improve their practice.
h) That newly appointed head teachers receive formal mentoring from more experienced and highly effective school leaders.
i) That the causes of high head teacher turnover are analysed and support and professional development programmes are developed that can mitigate the problem.
j) That the process for recruiting staff is reviewed with a view to increasing the number of applications received.
k) That a piece of research is commissioned to look at best practice from schools, outside of Middlesbrough that have achieved excellent outcomes despite similar levels of disadvantage.
l) That, the scrutiny panels recommendations are detailed in the School Effectiveness Strategy, in addition to information enabling schools to understand the scrutiny process and how the process can bring support and challenge to schools, regardless of their governance model.
It was suggested that recommendation (a) be amended to read "with the schools attended by children in their Ward". It was also suggested that an additional recommendation be added that schools be advised to involve Councillors with regard to links with the Community.
ORDERED that the findings and recommendations of the Children and Learning Scrutiny Panel be endorsed and referred to the Executive, subject to the amendments suggested at the meeting.