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School improvement cycle

The local authority’s current statutory responsibilities for educational excellence are set out in section 13a of the Education Act 1996. That duty states that a local authority must exercise its education functions with a view to promoting high standards.

Categorisation of schools

Each Solihull school will be placed in one of four local authority categories based on published criteria. Please see the Solihull Council school improvement strategy for this information.

A desktop analysis will take place over the summer term. Using all available data and information about the school.

In the autumn term, schools will be informed, by letter, of their local authority category and the reasons for it. This categorisation will be reviewed every term and if the risk factors for the school increase/decrease the school’s category may be changed. This will be done in partnership and through consultation with the school.

School improvement advisors (SIAs) will be allocated to work with schools based on need, as identified through the categorisation process. All schools will be provided with an annual cycle of challenge and intervention

Where the local authority has concerns about academy performance, it will raise them initially with the school and then, if necessary, directly with the Secretary of State via the Regional Schools Commissioner and through Ofsted.

Challenge and Accountability – Maintained Schools

Once categorised, schools will receive a differentiated level of challenge and intervention from the local authority through school improvement advisors (SIAs). SIAs will arrange school visits and challenge meetings in order to evaluate performance, support the school to identify appropriate priorities for school improvement and support the planning for effective change. SIAs will act for Solihull local authority and are the main conduit for its communication on school improvement.

Specific allocations of SIA time will be determined according to the school’s category  and individual school’s circumstances.

Maintained schools identified as category A will undertake an ‘annual conversation’ over the telephone in the autumn term to determine the school’s priorities and an indication as to the focus of the SIA’s visit during that academic year.

All maintained schools in categories B and C will also be challenged and held to account through regular school improvement board meetings (SIB). SIB meetings will be chaired by a local authority officer and there will be a minimum expectation of attendance from the head teacher and chair of governors, although wider participation from school leadership teams and governors will be encouraged. The head teacher and chair of governors will present evidence of impact since the last SIB against the school’s priorities for improvement.

Challenge and accountability – Academies

Academies and free schools can choose to opt into the local authority’s school improvement strategy as members of the Solihull family of schools. The local authority will, as part of its duty of care for all children and young people in the borough, undertake appropriate analyses of public information to evaluate the provision and performance of these providers. Where the local authority has concerns about an academy or free school, it will notify the school of its intention to report the concerns to Ofsted or the regional schools commissioner.

Where Solihull local authority has concerns about the performance of an academy, it will in the first instance communicate with the head teacher /principal, chair of governors and, where appropriate, the provider. If necessary, this will be followed by a visit from the allocated SIA, in order to be informed about the school’s plans for potential solutions within an agreed timescale. If the local authority remains concerned that priorities to support improvement are not being addressed effectively, it will report its concerns to the Regional Schools Commissioner and Ofsted.

Where the local authority through its Safeguarding strategy has concerns about an academy’s safeguarding arrangement these concerns will be reported to the RSC and Ofsted.

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This is the covering letter, agenda and templates for the autumn term adviser visits.

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These pages are updated regularly and should be used as the main source of information.  Printed versions should be used with care as they can become out of date.