GwE response to additional questions - Children, Young People and Education Committee



Specific groups of pupils


1.       In our 2018 inquiry on the PDG and schools causing concern, we heard that schools use a number of different tracking tools to monitor pupils’ progress, including ‘Alps’. Do the consortia favour or promote a particular tool in their region or is there quite a lot of variation in the methods used by different schools?


The GwE data team has produced a comprehensive assessment tracker tool which enables schools to analysis pupil performance and identify underperformance. Many schools who have adopted the tool as their main progress tracker have been identified by ESTYN as effectively tracking learner progress and used as good practice case studies.  The impact of the data summary and tracking can be seen in many schools with schools focusing on progress of groups of learners.  This includes:


·         Schools focusing on individual pupil progress from baseline to end of primary education, by both teachers and school leaders.

·         Schools focusing on progress of groups of learners.

·         Better consistency throughout schools in teacher assessment and target setting which leads to a more robust self-evaluation and improvement planning.

·         Using a variety of ways to interrogate pupil data and present the findings e.g. through graphs and charts


GwE commission ALPs – a company who measure A level progress from GCSE to A level across over 2,000 providers across England and Wales - to provide results analysis for all schools and local authorities, and to provide us with a full regional report.


iCAM Project – GwE is working with experts from Warwick and Bangor Universities to develop an individual child attainment model (iCAM) to predict attainment and inform child-driven priorities for secondary schools in Wales . The model will be based on historical data from across Wales and, if successful, would dispense with need for arbitrary between-school comparisons for cohorts of children and instead model expectations about individual children’s attainment at KS4.  Twenty seven secondary schools are piloting a data management system that focuses on highlighting in-school variance.  As in-school variance is four times more significant than school-to-school variance, effectively addressing this issue is central to improving performance across the region. Another smaller pilot programme is running to review and develop schools’ awareness and tracking of question level analysis.



2.       How much progress is being made in reducing the attainment gap between pupils eligible for free school meals (eFSM) and their peers in your region?


A clear and robust Pupil Development Grant (PDG) Support Plan for both FSM and Looked After Children (LAC) is being implemented across the region with clear communication plans.


The main priority for GwE is to support Local Authorities and schools to raise the educational attainments, achievements and engagement of children across the region by delivering a joined up partnership approach programme that will be:

-          Reaching and Accessible to learners

-          Engaging & Motivating

-          Child/Young Person centred

-          Flexible & tailored in terms of support and provision

-          Focused on transition and progression

-          Driven by joined up regional partnership and collaboration whilst addressing local needs.


The following actions are been implemented to drive improvement across the region: 

·      Further development and implementation of the consortia’s PDG Strategic Adviser Role across the region with focus on regional objectives/outcomes and national collaboration and consistency of role via the All Wales PDG project group.

·      Increase in the number of schools implementing the regional PDG framework model, focusing on the 5 key areas that are evidence based.

·      PDG Workshop developed and delivered across the region to support schools to further embed evidence based practises both via Collaborative Institute for Education Research, Evidence and Impact (CIEREI) and via the EET toolkit.

·      Targeted work on the effective practise in relation to PDG for school governors.

·      Further development in supporting Pupil Referral Units (PRU) in the use of the PDG and developing key strategies via the regional PRU steering group.

·      Targeted support via the PDG for schools to deliver evidence based practise such as the Readiness for Learning project and Trauma Informed Schools.

·      Increase in the number of individual PDG monitoring visits across the region and working with Core Leads to identify schools/settings that need additional support and to identify successful practise.

·      Further developed Oracy and Literacy intervention programmes. Good practise to be shared in the Evidence based conference in February 2020.

·      Supporting schools to further develop key interventions with the PDG and evaluate its impact.

·      Rolled out the Evaluating and measuring impact guidance across the region for schools to use to identify successful practice and distance travelled by FSM learners.

·      Data, target setting and tracking are more effectively and consistently applied and discussed with SIA’s/LA’s via the Strategic & Core Lead.

·      Annual audit and evaluation of impact on the actual evidence of grant spend has been carried out on the PDG in each school for 2018/19 and 2019-2020. This has resulted in identifying specific lines of enquiry for SIA’s during school monitoring visits.


3.       How much of a role do the consortia have in supporting minority ethnic pupils and Gypsy, Roma and Traveller learners? How has the approach changed in recent years? Is this work led by a lead authority in the region rather the consortium?


Support services are provided by Local Authorities.  Since 2017, the Minority Ethnic Achievement, and Gypsy and Traveller Children Education Grants are passported directly from Welsh Government to Local Authorities.  The grant amounts vary considerable depending on the demographics.  For example in some authorities, there is a high percentage of Pupils learning English as an additional language (EAL) and the grant is used to fund a support service which up-skill, support and assist schools in being able to successfully meet the needs of their EAL learners. 

Role of the consortia:

-        Pupil outcomes - outcomes are analysed annually.  Through the work of Supporting Improvement Advisers, the performance of various groups of learners are analysed and are part of the conversation with schools.

-        Tracking systems - the GwE data team has produced a comprehensive assessment tracker tool which enables schools to analysis pupil performance and identify underperformance. The impact of the data summary and tracking can be seen in many schools with schools focusing on progress of groups of learners.  The GwE tracker and departmental systems to monitor performance of all pupils is a priority for all school visits to identify key aspects for improvement.

-        Teaching and Learning - through the vast range of development programmes offered to schools by the consortia, teachers are now much more knowledgeable about the development of literacy and numeracy, differentiation, how to influence and advance learning for all groups of learners, lead subjects effectively in school and offer support to other schools, with regard to their own development journey.