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Suffolk: Council chief executive’s improvement pledge

09:00 11 January 2013

Deborah Cadman

Deborah Cadman


THE chief executive of Suffolk county council has branded the county’s key stage two results “just awful” and said they have reinforced the need to complete the school organisation review.


Deborah Cadman said she had “held her head in her hands” when she received the results before Christmas, which placed the county close to the bottom of the national league table.

Speaking at the ‘half time’ summit of the Raising the Bar inquiry, said the news had only reassured her of the importance of completing the School Organisation Review (SOR).

The county council is in the process of bringing the remaining three-tier schools in line with the rest of the county, which has a two-tier set-up.

She told delegates from across Suffolk and experts from education industry that when broken down, the results, although disappointing, had shown that two-tier was out-performing three-tier in Suffolk.

She said: “This is the reason why SCC has decided that enough is enough - it’s not good enough for our young people in Suffolk. What we are doing is not good enough.

“Raising the Bar is the catalyst to all of this but it’s not a discreet project. It’s not a set of actions, I see it as a movement. This is Suffolk saying ‘enough is enough - we need to be different’. When the inquiry finishes, that’s not the end of wanting the best for Suffolk.”

She added: “We have had some bloody good results as a result of shifting to two-tier in Suffolk. We have got hard evidence that tells us that reorganising these schools is delivering better results but having said that, we had the most disappointing key stage two results. I held my head in my hands and said ‘this is terrible’.”

Raising the Bar was launched last summer in a bid to find solutions to improve educational attainment and achievement across the county.

The summit was held at the plush London HQ of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts (RSA) and featured speeches from a range of experts, including Joe Hallgarten, the RSA’s director of education, and Matthew Taylor, RSA chief executive.

About 80 people from the world of education and business attended the session and heard about plans for the Suffolk Baccalaureate and plans for new partnerships between schools, especially at primary level.

During her speech, Ms Cadman also said that Raising the Bar had developed as a concept over the months and spoke about the new ‘seven point plan’ that has been drawn up for the new term and sent to every headteacher in the county.

“These are tough measures, but in my opinion they are needed,” she added. “We are desperate to do what we can for the young people of Suffolk and do the best for them over the next five to ten years.”


1 comment

  • I'm not sure what completing SOR has to do with this. The problem seems to be about KS2 SATS, taken at 11. When these were taken in the Middle Schools, the County were not, I believe, 3rd worst in the country. What SOR seems to have revealed is that the Middle Schools were doing the best of a difficult job in taking pupils at 9 from under-performing Primaries, and trying, in 2 years, to catch the pupils up to a decent standard for SATS. What SOR has done, therefore, is reveal that, in 3-tier areas (and not necessarily exluding 2-tier), the standard of primary teaching was below standard in many places. That primaries are now responsible for SATS seems to underline this. So, whatever the rights or wrongs (mainly wrongs, in my view) SOR is definitely not the panacea that Tory SCC have trumpeted it as. One might also look at Norfolk, who got rid of Middles just before Suffolk (but rather more efficiently, honestly and humanely), and ask why they too, having made this change, still seem to be about 11th from the bottom.

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    T Doff

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