max temp: 12°C

min temp: 7°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Suffolk: Review finds “cynicism” among teachers at Raising the Bar programme

13:17 04 June 2014

Review finds "cynicism" towards Raising the Bar programme

Review finds "cynicism" towards Raising the Bar programme

Education chiefs say the Raising the Bar programme to improve Suffolk’s under-performing schools is making good progress - but admit “strong cynicism” among some teachers must be addressed.


Reports prepared for the county council’s cabinet reveal results have improved at Key Stage 1 (seven-year-olds), Key Stage 2 (11-year-olds), and Key Stage 4 (16-year-olds) in the last year, though still trail the national average.

However, a review has also identified “strong criticism and cynicism” about Raising the Bar (RtB) among some teachers – despite the principles of the project being “widely accepted”.

One Suffolk teacher said they would be “surprised if there wasn’t a bit of scepticism” given the pace of change in the education system generally.

The Gateway Review recommends looking again at the RtB’s communications approach and a change of tone in messages to the education system to emphasise that “we are all in this together”.

SCC has announced a range of measures in response to the review including a transformation of the Learning and Improvement Service, with a new management team put in place.

A council spokesman said: “We have already made changes to the work we are doing to reflect the findings.

“Key to this is transforming services available to schools, both provided by the county council and externally. Plans are now being finalised to create the Learning Partnership, which has been developed and will be led by schools. And Schools Choice - our new organisation providing traded services to schools – is now up and running.

“We have also already restructured the senior team within the learning and improvement service – which is strengthening our ability to challenge and support schools to improve.”

The Gateway Review also praised aspects of the RtB programme including efforts to bring education closer to the world of work and the Families of Schools initiative in which schools form “improvement groups”.

Geoff Barton, headteacher at King Edward VI School in Bury St Edmunds, said he would be surprised if there was not some scepticism about the programme, “given how much change takes place in education, both nationally and locally.

“It’s almost inevitable culturally that there is an element of people who are going to be sceptical when they’re invited along to another conference with a slogan like Raising the Bar,” he said.

“I was one of the arch-sceptics at one of the first meetings I went to. But what struck me was that they had marshalled people who weren’t just in education but people from business and industry and it did seem perhaps that there was something different about it.”

Academic results for the year 2013 show that the number of pupils achieving the required standard in reading, writing and maths in Key Stage 1 rose by 3%, 3% and 1% respectively from the year before.

In Key Stage 2 the proportion of pupils who achieved the headline attainment figure rose by 3% between 2012 and 2013, though remains 5% below the national average.

The corresponding measure for Key Stage 4 saw a 3% rise year on year, though also 5% below the national average.



  • Why should we not be cynical? The County has not listened to teachers or school leaders during their consultations - and look at the result of the report on the County by Ofsted? If that had been a report for a school, it would have been closed - probably re-named - and then reopened with a complete overhaul of the leadership team. Why have the County allowed failing schools to stay unchanged for so long without stepping in? Why has the focus been purely on changing the system for the past 8 years and the colossal amount of money and time spent reorganising schools, that could have used the money for school improvement? Raising the Bar...as always, no-one in Suffolk is available to tell us how high, what for or how...just left to plod along and get on with it! Cynical?

    Report this comment


    Thursday, June 5, 2014

  • They can hardly be blamed for being cynical. Government and councils play about with the education system on almost a monthly basis. Usually pushing some narrow politically-inspired agenda, rather than anything backed up with any evidence. Rather like the way that, when I used to work for BT, every time a new senior manager was appointed he had to launch a massive reorganisation - rarely for any better reason than that he wanted to make his mark on the organisation. And they always accused the staff of being over cynical about it when we didn't support it wholeheartedly.

    Report this comment


    Wednesday, June 4, 2014

  • No comments? Perhaps the comments system is broken? Or maybe the teachers are all at work.

    Report this comment


    Wednesday, June 4, 2014

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

The church is launching its fight back against gangs targeting places of worship for lead. St Mary's Church, Combs Road, Combs. Left to right is Assistant Chief Constable Rachel Kearton and Ipswich Bishop Martin Seeley.

The public have been asked to help the church and the police combat thieves targeting medieval churches across the country.

Residents have been campaigning for a by-pass for the four villages for decades.

Suffolk County Council is to contribute £450,000 towards building a case for the construction of a new by-pass around four villages on the A12 in the north of the county.

The Greyhound, Lavenham

Two fire crews are at the scene of The Greyhound pub in Lavenham after a small chimney fire broke out.

Lost pig found wandering in Wrabness by public and reported to police

Police are hunting for the owner of a large pig found trotting down the road in Wrabness.

The church of St Peter and St Paul in Lavenham

Supporters of one Suffolk church targeted by lead thieves have rallied round to raise the necessary funds to repair the damage caused to it – and help prevent it from happening again.

Robert Morton

MPs have warned the region’s new ambulance chief they will keep a laser like focus on the turnaround of the service when they came face-to-face in parliament.

Community transport, like Dial a Ride, faces financial cuts.

Funding for on-demand transport in Suffolk is to be cut in half – but there was a furious reaction after the Conservative cabinet at the county council ruled out any new debate on the subject.

Stock image. Photo: PA

Suffolk police have strongly denied officers have used a Taser against a 91-year-old man after being accused of doing so by a BBC investigation.

Bella was brought in the Braintree Police Station with serious injuries

A Shar Pei dog was brought to Braintree Police Station in a “horrific” state with scars across her stomach and internal injuries.

Matt Gaw strikes up a conversation with commuters in London

I’m standing in a queue at a large supermarket. A woman in front of me has long since packed her shopping into carrier bags, writes Matt Gaw.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages