Agenda item

Agenda item

Attainment Headline outcomes 2023 (provisional)

Report of the Director of Education 


The report provides a summary of the 2023 provisional outcomes of statutory assessment at the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5.  It also provides a list of actions which are being progressed to address some of the gaps in learning.


The Committee considered a report of the Director of Education which provided a summary of the 2023 provisional outcomes of statutory assessment at the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5. It also provided a list of actions which were being progressed to address some of the gaps in learning.


Key points and themes in the report included:


  • Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) outcomes;
  • Year 1 Phonic Test outcomes;
  • Key Stage 1 outcomes;
  • Key Stage 2 provisional results;
  • Key Stage 4 GCSE provisional headline results;
  • Stage 5 A Level provisional headline results; and
  • Next steps.




The Committee heard from John Rowlands, Executive Principal and CEO, Greater Manchester Academy Trust (GMAT), which was a small multi-academy trust which provided nursery, primary and secondary education in north Manchester, as well as associate leadership and management support to a local authority-maintained nursery and Children’s Centres.  He outlined how the Trust provided a cradle to career approach within the area, supporting children, families and communities.  He reported that the area served had high levels of deprivation and that the Trust worked to understand the lived experience of the children and focused on both quality of teaching and mitigating the impact of social disadvantage, working with the Council and other partners.  He highlighted the importance of young people having not only good results but also developing the right character and a positive perception of their area.  He informed the Committee about the role of the Trust’s Manchester Communication Research School, whose role was to impart evidence-informed practice across the region and beyond.  He highlighted some of the work the Trust had been doing to secure improvements, including a focus on early years and on mental health, both in school and within families, supporting community cohesion and working with partners on issues such as housing.  He provided an overview of the current position, including the impact of the pandemic, particularly on younger children, which schools were working to address, and positive results at GCSE, highlighting the progress made by children from disadvantaged backgrounds.  He finished by emphasising the importance of investing in early years now in order to secure positive future outcomes for disadvantaged children.


Some of the key points and themes that arose from the Committee’s discussions were:


  • To welcome the approach taken by GMAT, including work with the local community;
  • Competing pressures on headteachers and senior leadership teams;
  • School workforce;
  • International New Arrivals;
  • Children with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND), including how children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and other additional needs were being accommodated, including in relation to Behaviour Policies; and
  • The impact of the pandemic and lessons learnt.


John Rowlands outlined how his Trust recruited teachers, based not only on teaching ability but also on their alignment to the Trust’s values and highlighted the excellent teacher training centres in the region.  In response to a question on Continuing Professional Development (CPD), he reported that the Trust used a long-term model based on evidence-informed practice to address needs and gaps in the school workforce.   He informed Members how the Trust had responded to the arrival of 26 pupils evacuated from Afghanistan, supporting them and their families.  He advised that there was a recruitment and retention challenge in schools in relation to both teachers and the wider school workforce and highlighted the Trust’s retention policy.  In response to a question on advice for secondary headteachers in relation to supporting the transition of pupils into Year 7 where they had not come from a primary school within the same Trust, he reported that it was important to work with the Council on excellence in transition and to understand the context and lived experience of those children entering the school.  He reported that his Trust had put in place a pastoral tracker across 17 schools in north Manchester which helped with obtaining a full picture of a child and family’s circumstances and he advised that parents were key partners who were experts on their circumstances and it was important to work effectively with both the family and professional partners.


The Assistant Director of Education reported that all schools were expected to make reasonable adjustments for children with SEND, including in relation to the application of behaviour policies, and she highlighted some of the support available to schools, including the Inclusion Toolkit, outreach support from special schools and the Autism in Schools Project.  In response to a Member’s question about children who had not yet received a diagnosis, she advised that the approach taken was to meet the presenting needs, rather than waiting for a diagnosis.


The Executive Member for Early Years, Children and Young People highlighted the positive impact of Manchester schools on the city’s children and the impact that not being in school or early years settings during the pandemic had had, stating that more time should be spent as a country considering the impact of this and the mitigation needed to address it.  In response to a question about increasing numbers of children with SEND, he advised that there was a challenge in identifying whether some children had missed developmental milestones because of the pandemic or had longer-term additional needs.  He advised that further information on the work the Council was doing could be included in a future report on SEND.


The Assistant Director of Education outlined some of the learning from the pandemic, including the importance of a holistic approach from schools, continuing education as much as possible while children were not in school, particularly in relation to literacy, and the disproportionate impact on young children from missing out on early socialisation and the importance of taking steps to address that quickly after that period.


In response to a question about teaching children who had English as an Additional Language (EAL), the Director of Education reported that this was part of the routine work of some Manchester schools who had become experts in this but that in cases where children from, for example, Afghanistan, were placed in schools which did not have that experience, the schools were being paired up with more experienced schools which could share their expertise.  In response to a further question about EAL, John Rowlands reported that his Trust had five tiers to reflect the different levels of English that pupil might have with a separate approach for each tier, which could include enabling them to study their heritage language.


The Chair advised that the Committee would receive a further report at a later date with a breakdown of the results including by gender and ethnicity and would then be able to look into these factors in more detail.  She highlighted the experience of white disadvantaged boys and the importance of parental support and expectations.  She welcomed the work that GMAT was doing, including working with children from their early years throughout their education as well as working with the community, and asked what more support the Council and Councillors could provide, for example, in relation to housing.  She highlighted the challenges families were experiencing in relation to housing and how the Council was working to address this.  She also asked how budget constraints impacted on the Trust’s ability to do this work.


John Rowlands reported that GMAT had an effective partnership relationship with the Council and other organisations such as Shelter to address housing issues.  He acknowledged the Chair’s point about constraints on school budgets and advised that efficiencies could be achieved as part of a multi-academy trust as well as by sharing resources across the wider group of schools which were part of the Family Zone.




To note the report.

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