5. Schools causing concern – eligibility for intervention
Schools are eligible for intervention where one or more of the following apply:
- The school has been judged inadequate at its most recent Ofsted inspection
- Vulnerable in an inspection and rapid improvement is required e.g. the school has been judged to require improvement in the most recent inspection; the school remains good but with a return inspection within two years, there is a decline in standards over time.
- Standards are unacceptably low – i.e. attainment and/or progress is close to or below the government’s floor standards, or are in decline
- There is a budget deficit or significant overspend and plans to reduce them are not robust
- Governors do not fulfil their statutory duties; there are persistent vacancies on the governing body and/or meetings are not quorate
- There are weaknesses in SEND provision
- Safeguarding procedures are not fully in place
- Falling rolls make the school vulnerable to budget problems; signi cant shortages and staff re-structure
- Capacity is limited due to high turnover, staff vacancies, recruitment or retention issues
- The safety of pupils or staff is threatened and there is a breakdown in discipline
- Groups of pupils make unacceptably slow progress and/or significant and widening gaps between some groups of pupils
- High levels of mobility/casual admissions
- The quality of teaching is not consistently good enough across the school or within key stages
- Parents’/carers’ perceptions of the school are negative or deteriorating and there are complaints to the LA, Ofsted or the DfE/RSC
- Headteacher vacancy or absence
- Leadership and management requires additional support or capacity is limited
- Pupil attendance is low or declining and/or persistent absence is rising
- Levels of permanent and fixed term exclusions are higher than average and/or rising
- Pupil voice indicates the school is in decline
- The school has been identified by the Regional Schools Commissioner as ‘at risk’.
Governance and Governor Services
In order to support effective governance, the LA provides a comprehensive central service for governors. A team of governor trainers who provide high quality training for governors and governing boards complements this service. Uptake of training is high and there is regular monitoring of those governing boards that have not secured training.
As a result of highly effective governance in some schools, there are governors in Gloucestershire who have been accredited as National Leaders of Governance (NLGs). The LA has worked proactively with governors to secure leaders in governance and governors who can be called upon to act as additional governors and where necessary, to serve on Interim Executive Boards.
Research shows that schools at risk of decline or failure are likely to benefit from specialist HR advice. An HR business partner for schools is dedicated to the Education Outcomes and Intervention Team. Where the school would benefit from other specialist support (e.g. Safeguarding, Finance, Health and Safety) this is co-ordinated through the project group.
In order to ensure that budgets are used effectively, schools are monitored and potential deficit is challenged robustly by the deficit scrutiny group.
The clarity of the local authority’s relationship with other providers and impact
The LA seeks to work constructively with academies and sponsored academies. Where schools elect to convert to academy status the LA supports the transition. Where schools are already highly autonomous and successful, the LA respects the decisions taken by the schools to determine their status. Where schools are less successful and less independent, the LA works closely with the DfE and the schools themselves to advise and inform their decision-making. The LA was instrumental in the creation of one of the earliest models of sponsorship in the county and has a history of robust decision making to seek alternative solutions and partnerships with other providers.
Where there are concerns about standards or leadership in an academy, the LA works with the DfE and Regional Schools Commissioner to ensure that the appropriate challenge is given.
System leaders and school-to-school support
The LA promotes strong relationships between schools and academies and other partners locally and regionally through its partnership with school leaders and practitioners.The LA convenes a range of opportunities for partnership working and co-ordinates a number of networks for headteachers, senior leaders and governors. The LA also hosts conferences and leads training. In addition to the role of convenor and facilitator, the LA is an active partner in local school partnerships and associations and the Teaching School Alliances. The LA provides input to headteachers and governors at regional meetings on effective governance and Ofsted issues at key times of the year.
The LA brokers or commissions school-to-school support or other support in weaker schools. The LA works closely with the community of LLEs and NLEs in the county to provide support for schools where appropriate. The LA has identified a number of skilled and quality assured school leaders to act as Consultant Headteachers. These are the headteachers of good and outstanding schools who have a track record of leadership within their own schools and who have the capacity to support the improvement of others. Consultant Headteachers work with schools in a number of ways according to their skills and specialisms. There have been a number of examples of very effective and successful intervention from this group of ‘expert’ headteachers. The LA shares learning and best practice with members of this group to ensure that the consultant headteachers are fully conversant with the LA’s school improvement model and policy.
New and Acting Headteachers
The LA provides a structured programme of support for new special and primary Headteachers. Meetings are held six times a year and structured around the information and guidance that headteachers need. This programme complements the support that is available through the National College and through the networks and partnerships such as Gloucestershire Association of Primary Headteacher (GAPH and Gloucestershire Associations of Secondary and Special Headteachers (GASH and GASSH).
The LA regularly disseminates information and good practice to headteachers via the fortnightly newsletters (Heads Up), the LA Bulletin Board and via face-to-face briefings. These are routinely held and facilitated by the Education Outcomes and Intervention team.
The LA regularly disseminates information and good practice to governors via the fortnightly newsletters (What’s Up Gov?), the Bulletin Board and face-to-face briefings alongside headteachers and through meetings jointly held with members of governors’ networks. As a result, governors are well-informed regarding current priorities and local and national developments.
Similarly regular briefings are held for clerks to governing boards.
The Universal Offer
The LA provides a range of services that support and facilitate school improvement. Many of these can be accessed through Gloucestershire’s traded services (GCCPlus) and are signposted by the school advisers. These include:
- English, mathematics and science subject leader network; newsletters; secondary senior leaders meetings
- Newly qualified teacher programme of training (in association with Headteachers and Adfecto)
- Closing the Gaps workshops, events and annual conference
- Headteacher, governor and clerk briefings
- New and Acting Headteachers programme
- Single issue school led improvement model
- Bespoke training in response to local needs
- Early Years Service
- Governor Services
- Headteacher performance management
- Other training that is commissioned/brokered
- Gloucestershire Healthy Living and Learning (GHLL)
- Development of well trained and supported moderators
- Assessment and moderation networks
- HR advice
- Financial support
- Health and Safety