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Agenda item

Learn Sheffield Peer Review

Report of the Chief Executive, Learn Sheffield



The Committee received a report of Stephen Betts (Chief Executive, Learn Sheffield), setting out the key findings from the peer review of Learn Sheffield held on 24th and 25th May, 2018.  The Review Team had been led by Christine Gilbert (Chair, Camden Learning) and included Jon Abbey (Managing Director, Camden Learning) and Tim Boyes (Chief Education Officer, Birmingham Education Partnership).  The report also contained details of the governance arrangements and resources of Learn Sheffield, together with a number of key recommendations arising from the review.




The report was supported by a presentation from Stephen Betts, who reported on the current strengths and next steps under the various services provided by Learn Sheffield, which included Strategy and Vision, General Practice, School Improvement, Evaluation and Resources.  He then referred to the recommendations following the review, and to the School Improvement Strategy 2019-22.




Members of the Committee raised questions, and the following responses were provided:-




·                 There was no obvious grouping in terms of those 19 schools which had chosen not to subscribe as members of Learn Sheffield. Schools had been grouped into four categories (maintained schools, single academies, local multi-academy trusts and national multi-academy trusts), and there were establishments from each of the four categories within the 19.  The fact that 90% of schools had chosen to become members of Learn Sheffield was considered exceptional.  All the schools which had chosen not to subscribe had made the decision based on funding.




·                 Consideration was being given to having the Governance and Service Improvement in the same place in order to assist with Learn Sheffield’s wider sustainability, and the impact of the service, when co-located with school improvement.




·                 The development of an effective strategy to ensure that Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities were better represented amongst school leadership and governance was agreed to be a priority for the City.




·                 Efforts had been made to recruit a Deputy Chief Executive to Learn Sheffield, but had not been successful.  This was currently being reviewed.  The Peer Review had identified an element of over-reliance on individuals.  Schools needed to be comfortable that they could get what they want from Learn Sheffield.




·                 The move to a subscription model had resulted in a small overall reduction in the school improvement budget available to Learn Sheffield.




·                 The estimate at the outset was that approximately 75% of Sheffield schools needed to subscribe to Learn Sheffield to secure basic viability.




·                 The Regional Schools Commissioners were viewed as a key stakeholder of Learn Sheffield, and representatives of Learn Sheffield met regularly with them, as part of joint meetings with the City Council.




RESOLVED: That the Committee:-




(a)      notes the contents of the report now submitted, together with the information reported as part of the presentation and the responses to the questions raised; and




(b)      welcomes the positive nature of the report, and extends its thanks and congratulations to all staff of Learn Sheffield for the excellent work undertaken in this regard.


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