A PROGRESS report about teaching standards and attendance levels at St Cyres School went before the Vale Council cabinet earlier this week.

Vale Council cabinet members, meeting at the Paget Rooms in Penarth on Monday, noted a report that detailed the progress made by the school since a Scrutiny Progress Panel was set up.

Councillor Chris Elmore, cabinet member for children’s services, said that the school was “making progress” but that the panel would “continue to monitor them”.

He added that the school had been placed in “formal warning procedures” and was being reviewed by the chief learning and schools officer.

The report, which was referred to cabinet for noting by the lifelong learning scrutiny committee, outlined a number of targets that the school and its head teacher, Dr Jonathan Hicks, have been set.

These include: Objective 1 - To raise standards and improve performance to all key stages in line with the mean of similar schools

Objective 2 - To improve pupils attendance to 94 per cent, so that it meets the mean of the Family of Schools and is in the top half of schools with similar FSM entitlement

Objective 3 - To ensure that there is consistent and systematic whole school approach to the improvement of pupils literacy and numerous skills

Objective 4 - To improve the quality of teaching and assessment

Objective 5 - To strengthen leadership at all levels to provide more rigour and challenge to secure improvements in standards and quality teaching

Objective 6 - To improve the rigour of self-evaluation and improvement planning particularly in analysing data.

The report added: “Following the GCSE results in 2013 concerns had been raised in relation to improvements for the future and minimum targets had been agreed between the school and Vale of Glamorgan Council officers.

“The purpose of the Panel meeting had been to establish that there were up to date and authoritative plans in place to address the concerns, to establish that the school had arrangements in place to monitor the impact of the plans, to amend them as appropriate, to establish what progress had been made and what further progress was required.”

During a presentation to the panel the school’s head teacher, Dr Jonathan Hicks, said that he “operated a zero tolerance approach for attendance” and that many initiatives were being used by the school, including text messages and a rewards scheme, to address non-attendance.

The report added: “The school also operated a reward system, where following the donation of a number of portable IT tablets, pupils had been praised for their attendance together with a prize draw taking place during the school year where the pupil with the highest attendance would receive a pc tablet.”

The Panel concluded that work on Objective 3 was at an early stage with more required and that in relation to Objective 4 the quality of teaching assessments deemed good or better showed a marked improvement, however, the Panel also requested to receive evidence of external moderation.

The Panel’s overall reaction was that it had a measure of confidence at this stage in the process that the PIAP (Post Inspection Action Plan) would be implemented and the agreed expectations met, but the Panel would be continuing to monitor progress through officers and a planned future return meeting would take place in the autumn following the examination results.