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Suffolk County Council vows to make all schools ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by 2017

09:00 15 June 2015

Classroom standards will improve - county council

Classroom standards will improve - county council

Archant

Every Suffolk school will be ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ within 18 months, under ambitious plans to rapidly improve students’ results.

The changes would mean almost 80 schools – about 25% in the county – would have to raise their ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’ Ofsted grades, with no current ‘outstanding’ or ‘good’ schools worsening.

The plan released by Suffolk County Council follows an inspection by the education watchdog of how the authority supports schools after years of poor national league table results. In last month’s report Ofsted inspectors criticised the council for being “too slow” to act to help schools.

Now education bosses have released their plan of action, through flagship education programme Raising the Bar, in response to the inspection which also said “decisive improvements” had been made.

The main points of the council’s plan of action are: all schools to be ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by January 2017; no schools still rated by the council as ‘red’ – meaning significantly under-achieving (currently 88 schools have red ratings); help to ‘rapidly improve’ results for disadvantaged children; and pupils meeting or exceeding national exam averages in nursery, primary and secondary schools.

Lisa Chambers, cabinet member for education and skills, is confident of hitting the 2017 target.

“The recent Ofsted inspection endorsed the work we have been doing towards improving education outcomes for young people in Suffolk, through Raising the Bar,” she said.

“The report also outlined areas where more needs to be done to accelerate progress. 

“We have developed a robust action plan following the inspection which will shape the next phase of Raising the Bar, making sure we focus on key areas for improvement, including having all schools in the county rated as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by 2017 and further work to make sure disadvantaged young people in achieving the very best they can.”

A total of five primaries and six secondaries, academies or middle schools are rated as ‘inadequate’. A total of 55 primaries and 11 secondaries, academies or middles are classed as ‘requires improvement’.

One issue for the council could be that several of those inadequate schools are academies – run by a sponsor and not the authority.

An academy sponsor is responsible for its school and is held accountable by the Department for Education. But league tables include all of Suffolk’s state schools, with the council responsible for raising overall county standards.

Graham White, secretary of Suffolk National Union of Teachers, , described the plan as “incredibly ambitious”.

He said the key issue behind poor performance for disadvantaged pupils is poverty. He said progress would be slow unless that underlying cause was tackled.

“I have no problem with the target but it is incredibly ambitious and I think teachers, parents and pupils will say it’s really good aiming high but they may not be able to achieve it,” he said. “The authority has a plan of action to address concerns but my worry is that some of the ‘red’ rated schools will not be local authority schools, they will become academies which is not the right way forward. Academies have no real record of turning schools around.”

Andrew Cook, Ofsted’s regional director for the East of England, said the council’s plan would now be reviewed ahead of a reinspection in 2017.

On Friday, this newspaper revealed how senior councillors plan to spend £800,000 more on Raising the Bar. Almost £1million has already been invested since the scheme started in 2012.

13 comments

  • Do these statistics include St Joseph's Primary Ofsted report, published 15th June, stating that the school still requires improvement - this time in all areas, including leadership and management? Come on Suffolk Council! How are you going to achieve this if current headteachers cannot raise standards in their own schools?

    Report this comment

    AnitaH

    Tuesday, June 16, 2015

  • @Rendall: Don't hold your breath. Elections are too complex, being made of too many issues and only very major issues (such as the economy or, more accurately, how little tax people have to pay) really influence the outcome. Secondly, the electorate is rather stupid and gullible; it is easy to frighten them, as 'Eton Dave' did in May.

    Report this comment

    Johnthebap

    Monday, June 15, 2015

  • I think the project is commendable but with SCC's stated position that they would like all schools to become academies are they just not passing the buck. SCC has had a position of improving Schools for the children of Suffolk for the past ten years and in a few notable cases this has happened. In the rest they have stagnated or gone backwards. I hope the electorate will judge the councillors at the next SCC election in 2017 if the promises are not fulfilled

    Report this comment

    Rendall

    Monday, June 15, 2015

  • Johnthebap; so you didn't grow up in Suffolk then so don't know how things were here. Suffolk has only just got a sort of university (it can't fully award its own degrees yet) and as a result much of our local talent has left the area to study and never returned. Of course parents have a prime responsibility and it hasn't done my children any harm not being educated by the local authority.

    Report this comment

    amsterdam81

    Monday, June 15, 2015

  • amsterdam81: 1) "As a pupil in the fifties and sixties I look back and realise we had no knowledge of universities". Really? I grew up in a poor family in a remote area of the UK and in the sixties went to University. We even had electricity and newspapers! 2) "Today many parents are better qualified than teachers". How do you know? Have you carried out an analysis? Or just guessing? Let us not underate teachers; they are being given the responsibilty for society's ills (of which there are many) when it rests in fact with the parents. Parents are not part-timers who can abbrogate responsibilty when their children are out of view.

    Report this comment

    Johnthebap

    Monday, June 15, 2015

  • In the sixties we barely had television let alone the internet and we were all conditioned to accept what we were given. As a pupil in the fifties and sixties I look back and realise we had no knowledge of universities and were conditioned to accept what came along. I consider I was fortunate in obtaining an appreticeship and higher qualifications before studying part time for a degree. Today many parents are better qualified than teachers and have ambitions for their children which Suffolk hasn't met for a number of years. It's time SCC recognised their responsibility and challenged the government to provide the level of funding for education that they provide elsewhere.

    Report this comment

    amsterdam81

    Monday, June 15, 2015

  • I agree with poppys dad. I am 62 and something went very wrong with our generation of parenting. If you ask me to explain ,I cant .I believe we put to much emphasis on independence, therefore allowing both parents to work, and not enough on respect and acceptable behavior. I cannot recall any concern regarding failing schools in the 60's.

    Report this comment

    Micky B

    Monday, June 15, 2015

  • I think you will find they will manipulate the situation by enforcing all schools to become academies that are Inadequate or Require Improvement, so that they are just left with the Good and Outstanding ones! Simples!!

    Report this comment

    Provocateur

    Monday, June 15, 2015

  • If this a 'Dave-type vow'? You know, the 'no ifs, no buts' as in his immigration vow to cut immigration to "the tens of thousands" when he knew he had no control over EU immigration. The end result was that immigration actually rose, but hey-ho he still managed to scare enough of the gullible electorate to get another 5 years (albeit with only 11 million votes out of an electorate of 45 million!). So SCC can say what they want; even if they think it is impossible. The electorate is too stupid for it to matter.

    Report this comment

    Johnthebap

    Monday, June 15, 2015

  • More chance of Travel Ipswich admitting the £24m light project was a mistake.

    Report this comment

    Tedbundy

    Monday, June 15, 2015

  • I expect they will achieve this by moving the goalposts. They have mismanaged education in the county for years.

    Report this comment

    Esco Fiasco

    Monday, June 15, 2015

  • Parents failed their children more than the teachers did over the last 25 years

    Report this comment

    Poppys Dad

    Monday, June 15, 2015

  • So its all going to be fixed by the time of the next SCC election? Wonder if there is a fixed date for publishing the results or will it depend on the outcome? I think we need to reflect on the children who have been failed over the past six years and consider how the damage done can be repaired.

    Report this comment

    amsterdam81

    Monday, June 15, 2015

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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