Suffolk: Education leaders to look at new ways to raise results

Deborah Cadman, chief executive of Suffolk County Council

Deborah Cadman, chief executive of Suffolk County Council - Credit: Archant

SUFFOLK’s education leaders are to make changes to the way they work in a bid to reverse the slump in exam results across the county.

Deborah Cadman, chief executive of Suffolk County Council, said her education team would be taking a “different” approach to help the authority climb up the league tables.

Ms Cadman said education leaders at the county council had been “complacent” and had not done enough to attract the “bright and sparky” teachers that could help drive up results.

Her comments come after Suffolk plunged to 142nd out of 151 authorities for the most recent GCSE results - last year it was 121st.

She also said The East Anglian Daily Times was right to focus on the disappointing key stage two and four results from 2012 and that she believed the Raising the Bar enquiry into raising attainment and boosting employability of Suffolk’s young people would start delivering results soon.

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“I’m confident that the team are going to be different - that they want to improve and they want to be different,” she said.

“For too long we have allowed people to say ‘good enough is good enough’ instead of challenging far more vigorously.

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“The issue is the education our young people are receiving is not good enough. Everything I have spoken about when I’ve promoted Raising the Bar - it has been about partnership.”

Ms Cadman said she was motivated by the fact that in the next five to 10 years there would be many opportunities in Suffolk for young people - particularly in the energy sector - and it was important that they did not lose out to people from outside the county.

She said: “It can’t just be about the local authority being different - it’s about teachers, parents, governors and the whole community.”

Ms Cadman said she was “cross” but not “despondent” about the recent results and that she is confident that there are enough talented people in Suffolk who want to “make it happen” and help turn things around.

She was speaking after a visit to the county by Sir Michael Wilshaw, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools and head of Ofsted.

Sir Michael told the EADT that it was up to schools to raise standards, but also called on the county council to offer more support and for parents to take greater involvement.

He said: “I think expectations have been too low, I think the support the local authority has given schools has not been as good as it should have been and I think headteachers also have got to make sure they have high expectations of their students.”

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