Priority 2: school improvement

Our aim: to raise attainment in our primary and secondary schools

Our targets

By 2021 Derby will have significantly closed the gap in English and maths progress and attainment at key stage 2 and key stage 4. The city will be on track to exceed national averages within 5 years.

Why this is a priority?

Derby’s educational performance is weak, particularly for those schools in areas with the highest levels of deprivation, with 2016 results at key stage 2 and key stage 4 below the national average. There is widespread underperformance in maths and English at both primary and secondary. In 2016 just over half of Derby’s pupils achieved A*-C in both English and maths at the end of key stage 4, against the national average of 63.3%. Pupils with English as an additional language (EAL), particularly from new communities, are especially vulnerable.

Too many of Derby’s pupils are missing school. Although the level of authorised absences match those across England’s primary schools, Derby has a higher proportion of unauthorised absences at primary compared to national levels. Similarly, the proportion of unauthorised absences at secondary are higher in Derby than nationally. These differences are greater in disadvantaged pupils.

Recruitment and retention of a quality workforce is also a key concern for head teachers, as is the need to invest in high quality development for existing teachers.

In 2016, an audit of teacher development across Derby found a number of barriers to a good development culture, including information overload and lack of specialist continuing professional development (CPD). The audit found that CPD in the city should focus on language, phonics and parental engagement at primary level. At secondary level, the priorities are high-quality specialist teaching and learning support CPD for middle leaders, partnering with other schools, and better supply cover.

What are we doing?

To ensure that Derby schools access the best possible evidence and  use it effectively, we worked with the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) to designate Wyndham Primary Academy as Derby’s Research School. Wyndham will be funded and supported to ensure schools in Derby can use research to improve teaching and attainment.

We also want to make sure that school improvement support is focused on and tailored to the needs of Derby schools and pupils. The partnership board has worked with the Department for Education, Derby City Council, local teaching schools, and school leaders, to help schools assess their improvement needs and obtain relevant school improvement programmes.

Click to find out more about the programmes Derby OA are funding.