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Essex: Schools commissioner calls for more academies in county to raise standards

PUBLISHED: 10:00 04 June 2014

Schools Commissioner encourages more schools to become academies

Schools Commissioner encourages more schools to become academies

The Schools Commissioner for England is today calling on more of Essex’s good schools to consider academy status, which he claims will boost the standard of education in the county.

Frank Green, who ran a chain of academies for five years, is in Colchester this morning to meet heads and governors.

There are now 137 open academies in Essex. Secondary academies account for 83% of all secondary schools in the county, with primary academies making up 16% of all primary schools.

Mr Green suggested a greater number of academies, which enjoy more autonomy from the local authority, was leading to higher levels of attainment among pupils, citing statistics that 77% of academies are rated “good” or “outstanding” by Ofsted.

Mr Green said: “I want to see all schools in Essex achieving the very best for their pupils. I have seen first-hand a number of brilliant schools here – but there are still cases where children are not getting the first class education they deserve.

“I would urge excellent schools to consider becoming academy sponsors so they can realise their potential, share their knowledge and ensure more pupils get the best possible start in life.”

Tim Coulson, Essex County Council’s director for commissioning: education and lifelong learning, said: “Today’s event is about celebrating academic success in Essex schools and will give schools in the county the opportunity to hear from high performing academies, how they have transformed and improved their standards.

“Receiving a good education is critically important and by sharing expertise among our teaching profession we hope to continue to drive up improvements across the county.”

The event at Weston Homes football stadium is hosted by Essex County Council and includes talks from headteachers.

Academy schools have greater freedom to manage themselves than maintained schools. These freedoms include setting their own pay and conditions for staff, tailoring the curriculum and changing the lengths of terms and school days.

Witham MP Priti Patel faced questions over the prospect of a possible Cabinet return this morning in her first broadcast interview since quitting over her secret meetings with senior Israeli figures last year.

This is the last week that market traders will operate from Ipswich’s Cornhill for at least a year as work to rebuild the town centre is due to start.

Young apprentices in Haverhill have been honoured at an awards ceremony held to celebrate their successes and achievements.

Drivers are being warned they could face delays as roadworks begin at one of Ipswich’s busiest junctions this morning.

The government has still not agreed a deal to end its £50m commitment for the regional fire control “white elephant” in Cambridgeshire – nearly two years after negotiations started.

A police helicopter was involved in a search which continues this morning for a motorist involved in a single-vehicle crash in Suffolk last night.

James Blunt and Plan B have joined this year’s Newmarket Nights line-up.

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