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Suffolk: Ofsted report will highlight areas of concern in Suffolk County Council’s bid to improve education - Labour

PUBLISHED: 09:30 04 March 2014 | UPDATED: 09:30 04 March 2014

Lisa Chambers, Suffolk County Councils cabinet member for education, skills and young people, said the report confirms the authority is tackling the right issues so that the county council is in the best possible position to support and challenge schools to improve.

Lisa Chambers, Suffolk County Councils cabinet member for education, skills and young people, said the report confirms the authority is tackling the right issues so that the county council is in the best possible position to support and challenge schools to improve.

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An Ofsted report launched following a damning raft of school inspections in Suffolk will today highlight several areas of concern in the county council’s bid to improve education, the Labour Group has said.

They claim the education watchdog’s report, due to be published this morning, will reveal four areas of concern in the authority’s School Improvement Service, including a lack of an adequate plan and a lack of communication with schools.

The opposition said concerns will also be raised over a lack of ability to intervene in failing schools and an inability to evaluate the quality of their own work.

But last night Lisa Chambers, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for education, skills and young people, said the report confirms that the authority is tackling the “right issues” to get the council in the “best possible position” to support and challenge schools to improve.

It comes after nearly one fifth of 33 schools visited by inspectors and 25 schools surveyed over the phone last September were judged as inadequate.

It prompted Sean Harford, Ofsted’s regional director for the East of England, to write a scathing letter to Suffolk’s education chiefs.

Last night, Labour Group leader Sandy Martin said: “Over and over again the Conservative administration has told us that their ‘Raising the Bar’ programme will deal with the problem of underperforming schools.

“But without adequate staff and resources, Suffolk County Council just will not have the capacity to help Suffolk schools improve.

“We have told them again and again that they need to build up the School Improvement Service, not tear it down.

“We want to work with the Conservatives to help improve Suffolk’s schools, but that won’t happen if they do not make the resources available. This is the most important issue facing Suffolk today.”

But Ms Chambers said there are few issues of greater significance than the education of young people.

“We welcome Ofsted’s report and absolutely agree with the four areas of improvement they have identified. So much so that work to address each of them is already well underway,” she said.

“We will now, with this guidance from Ofsted, continue on our journey of improvement.

“Results are improving in Suffolk, but too slowly. And although 70% of schools in Suffolk are rated good or outstanding, this isn’t enough. We must all work to drive up standards.

“Key to solving a problem is recognising there is one in the first place. By launching the Raising the Bar inquiry, seeing SOR through and challenging underperforming schools to improve, the county council has demonstrated this recognition. Schools also know full well the scale of the challenge facing Suffolk.

“We are already working, together, to make improvements and will leave no stone unturned in our pursuit of a better future for our children.”

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