(Report by Mr M Whiting, Cabinet Member, Education, Learning and Skills and Mr P Leeson, Corporate Director, Education, Learning)
1. The Chairman invited the Corporate Director, Mr Leeson to introduce the report. He highlighted the following points:-
2. Mr Leeson spoke on the boundaries being changed by the school examination Boards in January to June for English GCSE, which schools considered unfair. In 82% of the cases in schools had lower grades in English and this had affected some pupils’ choice on courses and apprenticeships. This had also affected the schools improving their performance results although some still made improvements. KCC was supportive to those schools and would be writing to support schools cases.
3. Mr Whiting congratulated the Headteachers, teachers and the young people in their KS2 and KS4 results. He commented on the GCSE grade boundaries being changed and advised that the views on this had been shared with the Children, Schools and Families Select Committee Chairman, Graham Stuart.
4. Members were give the opportunity to make comments and ask questions which included the following:
a) A suggestion was made that the Kent Challenge should be celebrated. Members wished their thanks to be passed on to Mrs Sue Rogers and her Team for all their work.
b) Members extended their congratulation on the examination results.
c) The huge improvement in boy’s attainment should be recognised.
d) In response to the question, Mr Leeson advised that only a small number of primary schools were compulsory converted to academies. When a school converted to academy status they lose the previous inspection history. Ofsted inspect within two years and the expectation is that they would have improved to satisfactory or better.
e) There was support to tackling the GCSE grade drift. A Member commented that the local authority should support regrading the GCSE papers rather than pupils having to resit the exams.
f) In reply to a comment, Mr Whiting advised that he had written to schools on 23 August for their comments on the changes to the grade boundaries and then wrote to the Chairman of the Children, Schools and Families Select Committee, Mr Graham Stuart with those findings. It was the role of KCC to support the Headteachers and the children. He made Members aware that a few Kent schools used the Welsh examination body which threw up questions as Wales had agreed to regrade their GCSE papers.
g) In response to a question, Mr Leeson reassured Members that they would receive a detailed comprehensive report on the results in November.
h) In reply to a question, Mr Leeson advised that there was a range of GCSE results in schools that were below floor level. Those schools that were previously below floor level had made improvements.
i) The Committee asked Mr Leeson to pass on their thanks to the schools on their performances.
5. RESOLVED that the responses to comments and questions by Members and the report be noted, with thanks.