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Suffolk: School heads given call to arms in blast from county

10:20 19 December 2012

Deborah Cadman.

Deborah Cadman.


SUFFOLK has today launched a seven-point action plan in a bid to improve the SATS results for 11-year-olds which are among the worst in the country.


And in a hard-hitting letter to heads across the county, chief executive Deborah Cadman insists that the battle to improve teaching in Suffolk is now council’s top priority.

In the latest Key Stage Two (11-plus) league tables, Suffolk as an authority came third from bottom in the country for attainment and fourth from bottom for progress.

The shocking results came despite an acknowledgement that results in the county needed to improve – and the launch of the Raising the Bar programme.

The letter has gone to every headteacher in Suffolk – at High Schools, academies and free schools as well as primary and middle schools – to outline a seven-point plan aimed at improving performance.

The letter is signed by Ms Cadman and interim director of children and young people’s services Allan Cadzow.

It concludes with a blunt message: “The county council’s Raising the Bar programme has ensured improving attainment is now the county council’s number one priority.

“Raising attainment is seen as everybody’s business. It will take the efforts of the whole community of Suffolk to improve the current position.

“You are no doubt aware, both SCC’s leader, and the cabinet member for education and young people are very concerned about the weaknesses this year’s Key Stage 2 results have exposed, and are fully supportive of all the action we are now seeking to put into place.”

The letter emphasises that is not the “worst performing” schools that need to step up – support from the county has meant that those schools towards the bottom of the table or, “below floor,” have improved more quickly than others.

The county’s concern is that the majority of schools in Suffolk were below the national average for progress – and that improvements here were slower than in other parts of the country.

The county wants to work with the government to look at preparing those schools at the bottom of the table for a new life as an academy.

There are five points that the county emphasises as ways of improving results:

For the full text of the letter being sent to heads and chairs of governors click the link at the top of this page.

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  • Allan Cadzow Interim Director for CYP ? What happened to Simon? Suddenly, without the shield of the Middle Schools, we see where the problem is

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    Wednesday, December 19, 2012

  • So the response to this dismal failure is to write a letter...!

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    Wednesday, December 19, 2012

  • Am I the only one uneasy with the choice of headline in view of recent events?

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    Wednesday, December 19, 2012

  • As a frequent critic of the LA I have to say that this approach seems to make a lot of sense. The headline is inaccurate because this not a "blast" from the Chief Exec - it is clear and decisive action that is designed to support schools to raise standards. This is about using systems which have been effective in schools requiring improvement to develop. There is a clear vision and plan which is has been shared with all headteachers. It will be interesting to see how the seven action points are received by headteachers and governors. The level of challenge from the LA is increasing and it is important that schools work together to improve. In schools we have progress meetings with teachers to discuss attainment, progress and required support. The LA seem to have adopted this model and in my opinion that is exactly the way forward, because it works.

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    Wednesday, December 19, 2012

  • The seven point key actions are interesting: which headteachers 1) DON'T 'undertake detailed analysis of their performance data?'; 2) DON'T hold meetings to discuss improvement? 3) The County removed the School Improvement Partners [SIPs] who challenged schools to achieve (a cost cutting measure?) 4) Hurray!! another 'Toolkit' for Head teachers 5) Who doesn't involve their Governing Body in raising attainment? 6) Heads meet to discuss raising attainment both formally and informally on a regular basis - do the County think Heads want to run 'coasting' schools? 7) When three Stowmarket Middle schools tried to become Academies, the County stepped in at the DfE and stopped it happenning - with just three days to go! Most of this has been tried; it has not worked because money is still being ploughed in to reorganisation and not into raising attainment and teaching and learning. Suffolk have taken their eye off the ball, hoping that attainment will 'coast' along nicley whilst they focus on crucifying Middle schools for their perceived failings. What now Mr Newman?

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    Wednesday, December 19, 2012

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