beta

You're viewing our new website - find out more

Publication - Guidance

Standards in Scotland's Schools etc. Act 2000 statutory guidance

Published: 27 Mar 2017
Part of:
Education
ISBN:
9781786528759

Statutory guidance covering provisions under the Education (Scotland) Act 2016 which amend the Standards in Scotland’s Schools etc. Act 2000.

70 page PDF

809.1kB

70 page PDF

809.1kB

Contents
Standards in Scotland's Schools etc. Act 2000 statutory guidance
Annex C: Guidance Note On Local Authority Reporting

70 page PDF

809.1kB

Annex C: Guidance Note On Local Authority Reporting

Meeting the reporting requirements of the National Improvement Framework

A guidance note

1. Introduction

The Scottish Government launched the National Improvement Framework for Scottish education in January 2016. The Framework is central to the Scottish Government's commitment to raising attainment for all, and closing the poverty-related attainment gap.

The Education (Scotland) Act 2016 Act placed the National Improvement Framework ( NIF) on a statutory footing and introduced requirements for local authorities and schools to plan and report on the measures that they are taking to address the key priorities of the NIF.

Statutory guidance has been developed to support the introduction of these legislative duties (the draft guidance can be found at: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Education/Schools/NationalImprovementFramework/StatutoryGuidance). The statutory guidance provides an overview of the planning and reporting requirements placed on local authorities and schools through the introduction of the NIF.

This note supplements the statutory guidance and provides some additional, specific information that local authorities and schools may wish to consider when preparing plans and reports of their work to address the National Improvement Framework key priorities. This further guidance note does not form part of the statutory guidance and it is entirely a decision for local authorities as to whether they choose to use it or not.

This note seeks to place the planning and reporting requirements relating to the NIF in the wider context of planning and reporting for school improvement, in order to help local authorities and schools develop a simple but coherent approach to planning and reporting. It is recommended that this guidance note should be read in conjunction with the statutory guidance. It will be for local authorities to satisfy themselves that they are fulfilling their legal obligations.

It should be noted that this guidance note will be reviewed regularly and may be subject to future amendment - please bear this in mind if printing hard copies.

Further useful guidance that may be of interest includes:

  • Driving Excellence and Equity: Advice on School Improvement Planning 2017/18. This resource has been developed by Education Scotland to provide essential advice and support about how partnership can work constructively, to create a meaningful improvement plan. This resource can be found at: https://education.gov.scot/improvement/Pages/nif-driving-excellence.aspx.

2. Context: the basis of improvement for Scotland's schools

HGIOS 4 is the model for self-evaluation and improvement in Scotland's schools. It is based on the EFQM (the European Foundation for Quality Management) Excellence Model and provides schools with a framework to describe:

  • The strategies that they have adopted to improve educational outcomes for children and young people.
  • The processes & resources that are in place to deliver these strategies - and the people & partnerships involved in their delivery.
  • The outcomes that are being achieved for children and young people through this work.

flow chart

Self-evaluation allows the success of these key elements to be understood and provides the basis for effective improvement .

This basic model of improvement underpins other aspects of quality improvement for children's services in Scotland, including:

Use of the EFQM Excellence Model, and the models of improvement derived from it, enables schools and local authorities to:

  • Assess where they are on the path to excellence.
  • Provide a common vocabulary and way of thinking about the organisation.
  • Integrate existing and planned initiatives, removing duplication and identifying gaps.
  • Provide a basic structure to benchmark, review and measure progress, and provide the intelligence to plan further action .

3. The connection between HGIOS 4 and the National Improvement Framework

The HGIOS 4 Quality Indicators are based closely on the EFQM model, but describe the various key elements in terms that relate more closely to the school context.

flow chart

The National Improvement Framework does not seek to replace this approach to school improvement. Rather, it provides a clear focus on the key issues that, as a country, Scotland needs to address. These are the four key strategic priorities , which are nothing other than the outcomes that as a country we need to achieve across the education system:

  • Improvement in attainment, particularly in literacy and numeracy
  • Closing the attainment gap between the most and least disadvantaged children
  • Improvement in children and young people's health and wellbeing
  • Improvement in employability skills and sustained, positive school-leaver destinations for all young people

Similarly, the drivers for improvement provide a summary of the key processes that will need to be put in place; and the key people that will need to be involved if improvement is to be achieved.

Plans and reports that identify:

  • The particular challenges facing a local school or local authority in its unique context
  • How addressing these challenges will contribute to improving the four key priorities of the NIF

will not only meet the reporting requirements of the NIF, but will also provide a rigorous basis for school / local authority improvement and a robust basis for self-evaluation within any inspection process.

4. A general approach to meeting the reporting requirements of the NIF

The Education (Scotland) Act 2016 Act sets out a number of requirements for reporting progress within the National Improvement Framework. In summary, these are:

Requirements to report on Strategies & Processes

Point 1. Steps taken by the authority to reduce inequalities of outcome for pupils who experience them as a result of socio-economic disadvantage or experience them for other reasons. This information may include steps taken by a person, other than the education authority's area, which were included in the children's services plan (provided for by section 8(2) of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014) for the authority's area.

Point 2. Any steps the authority has taken in pursuance of the National Improvement Framework.

Requirements to report on People & Partnerships

Point 3. Steps taken by the local authority to seek and have regard to the views of:

  • The headteachers of such schools managed by the authority as the authority thinks appropriate,
  • Such pupils as the authority thinks appropriate;
  • The parents of such pupils as the authority thinks appropriate,
  • The representatives of any trade union which appears to the authority to be representative of the teaching staff at such schools managed by the authority as the authority thinks appropriate;
  • Such voluntary organisations as the authority thinks appropriate, and;
  • Any other persons the authority thinks appropriate

in relation to the authority's strategic decision making about the carrying out of its functions relating to school education and its consideration of the steps to take to implement such a decision.

Requirements to report on Outcomes

Point 4. Any educational benefits for pupils that the authority considers result from taking those steps.

It is important to realise that a systematic approach to planning and reporting which provides an effective basis for self-evaluation and improvement should meet the reporting requirements of the National Improvement Framework.

This is true for both school planning and reporting (meeting the requirements of HGIOS 4) and local authority planning and reporting (meeting the requirements of QMIE).

5. A strategy-based approach to planning and reporting

The National Improvement Framework ( NIF) sets out four key priorities that need to be achieved by the Scottish school system. These are:

  • Improving attainment, particularly literacy and numeracy
  • Closing the attainment gap
  • Improving the health and wellbeing of children and young people
  • Improving employability skills and post-school destinations

These priorities define the key areas for improvement at local authority and school level. They also summarise the key issues that need to be addressed by any strategic plan to meet the goals of the National Improvement Framework.

One approach to planning and within the National Improvement Framework is to use these key priorities as a framework to provide a narrative about improvement. An example outline narrative is shown on the next page, for illustration.

The narrative focusses primarily on the four key priorities, and the work on-going to improve these outcomes is used as the basis for a section of the report.

Working through the checklist of reporting requirements for the NIF (as set out in the section 4), it may be seen that:

  • The steps taken to reduce inequalities of outcome ( point 1) are evident within the narrative and evidence on "Closing the Attainment Gap".
  • There is also some account given of the wider work within GIRFEC to meet the requirements of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 ( point 1).
  • The steps taken to address the key priorities of the NIF are well documented ( point 2).
  • The educational outcomes of children and young people arising from the local authority's strategies are likely to be well evidenced ( point 4).

Because the paper has been structured around the strategic approaches taken to improving outcomes, the strategic elements of the reporting requirements ( points 1 and 2) have been very clearly met. There is also significant evidence and narrative about the outcomes achieved for children and young people (point 4).

However, since the paper has not been structured around the processes, people and partnerships by which these outcomes have been achieved ( point 3) care will be needed to ensure that these are referred to in relevant sections of the narrative.

This can be easily achieved, if relevant activity relating to the Drivers for Improvement within the NIF is referred to in the relevant sections of the report. The example outline narrative shows how this might be achieved for "Teacher Professionalism" (as an example).

Outline of a possible, strategy-based narrative for a report on the NIF with reference to teacher professionalism running through the narrative

Section 1. Improving attainment
A narrative outlining the strategies that the school or local authority is using to improve attainment for all learners.

Comments about the general role of professional development in helping to improve learning and teaching

Section 2. Closing the attainment gap
A narrative outlining the strategies that the school or local authority is using to ensure that outcomes for disadvantaged and vulnerable pupils improve significantly, helping to close the attainment gap. This may include reference, for example, to the Scottish Attainment Challenge and Pupil Equity Fund.

Comments about particular programmes that address learning and teaching of key skills for low attainers (e.g. comprehension, reading for learning)

Section 3. Improving health and wellbeing
A narrative outlining the strategies that the school or local authority is using to ensure that the health and wellbeing of children improve. This may include reference, for example, to the role of GIRFEC in the plan for improvement.

Comments about particular programmes that address learning and teaching of key skills for low attainers (e.g. comprehension, reading for learning)

Section 4. Improving employability skills
A narrative outlining the strategies that the school or local authority is using to improve employability skills of pupils. This may include reference, for example, to work ongoing within the Developing the Young Workforce programme.

Comments about particular programmes that address learning and teaching of key skills for low attainers (e.g. comprehension, reading for learning)

6. A process-based approach to planning and reporting

An alternative approach to that outlined in section 5 is to structure the plan and report around the processes, resources, people & partnerships through which improvement is achieved (i.e. to focus on the implementation of the strategy for improvement). These will include the key Drivers for Improvement related to processes, resources, people & partnerships, as set out in the National Improvement Framework:

  • School leadership
  • Teacher professionalism
  • Parental engagement
  • Assessment of children's progress
  • School improvement
  • Performance information

An example outline narrative is shown on the next page, for illustration.

Because the report has been structured around the processes and people involved in improving outcomes, the elements of the reporting requirements relating to people & partnerships ( point 3) have been very clearly met. There is also significant scope to address the question of how outcomes have improved for children and young people ( point 4), through the narrative on school improvement.

However, since the paper has not been structured around the strategies adopted to improve the key priorities ( points 1 and 2) care will be needed to ensure that these are referred to in relevant sections of the narrative.

One way to achieve this is to ensure that relevant evidence and narrative about the strategic approaches taken to address the NIF priorities is threaded through each section of the report. The example outline narrative shows how this might be achieved for the key priority of "Closing the Attainment Gap" (as an example).

Outline of a possible, process-based narrative for a report on the NIF with reference to closing the attainment gap running through the narrative

Section 1. School leadership
A narrative outlining the activities used to strengthen the leadership of the school and its impact on outcomes.

Section 2. Teacher professionalism
A narrative outlining the activities that are on-going within the school to help develop teacher professionalism and its impact on learning, teaching and other outcomes for pupils
.

Comments about particular programmes that address learning and teaching of key skills for low attainers (e.g. comprehension, reading for learning) and evidence of the impact of this work in helping to close the attainment gap.

Section 3. Parental engagement
A narrative outlining the ways in which schools are engaging parents, children and young people in the plan for improvement.

Comments about particular initiatives to improve engagement with parents from areas of social disadvantage. This may include reference to work with other children's services to improve engagement through a GIRFEC-based approach.

Section 4. Assessment of children's progress
A narrative outlining the role of assessment in understanding the potential and development of each pupil.

Section 5. School Improvement and Performance Information
A narrative outlining work undertaken to build the capacity for further improvement and the role of performance information in achieving supporting school improvement. This may include reference to learning from self-evaluation or school inspections
.

Comments about performance information that better supports closing of the attainment gap (e.g. the development of improved monitoring and tracking systems to help understand and evidence the impact of interventions to improve attainment of disadvantaged pupils).

7. Conclusion

As was noted above, a systematic approach to planning and reporting that provides an effective basis for self-evaluation and improvement should meet the demands:

  • For self-evaluation and improvement set out in the HGIOS 4 and QMIE models for continuous improvement of schools and local authorities.
  • For schools and local authorities to meet existing demands for reporting on performance (e.g. the need for a local authority to publish a Standards and Quality Report).
  • And, for schools and local authorities to report progress within the National Improvement Framework.

Furthermore, this approach can be easily adapted at a local authority level to provide an effective basis for self-evaluation and improvement of children's services in the round. This will also help to meet the demands:

  • For self-evaluation and improvement set out in How Well Are We Improving the Lives of Children and Young People (the framework for joint inspection of children's services).
  • And, the requirements for planning and reporting of children's services, as set out in part 3 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act (2014).

In summary, therefore, the reporting requirements introduced under the National Improvement Framework provide an opportunity for schools and local authorities to:

  • help to strengthen the focus of planning and reporting on effective and evidence-based school improvement, and;
  • support progress towards a more rounded GIRFEC approach to wider children's services - by encouraging reporting of wider partnership work across children's services to improve equity of outcomes.

Contact

Email: Hazel Crawford