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Suffolk schools have bright future, but still more improvement needed Ofsted report finds

By Peter Gudde

Suffolk County Council
Suffolk County Council

Suffolk County Council is making progress with school improvement plans according to the Government’s education watchdog Ofsted, but there’s still work to be done.

Visiting the authority in January, Ofsted’s inspector acknowledged a range of strengths and set out a number of areas for further improvement, including:

* Improve achievement for disadvantaged pupils and ensure that all pupils attend a good or outstanding school

* Raising the number of pupils reaching average attainment and making nationally expected progress by the end of primary and secondary school

* Increasing school to school support

Suffolk County Council has already begun working to address these areas for improvement. Key actions include:

*Carrying out risk assessments for all schools in the county. Identifying weaknesses and offering support and challenge to drive improvement

*Raising the Bar school improvement strategy; which clearly sets out the role of the local authority and targets for improvement in schools

*Increased engagement and consultation with school leaders to ensure their role in school improvement is understood and that the strategy is adopted throughout Suffolk.

* A stronger, more robust stance towards underperforming schools with the council using its powers of intervention when required

Councillor Lisa Chambers, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for education and skills, said: I believe this report comes as an endorsement of our direction of travel and the ambitions we have for the county’s schools.

“I have always said our programme for long term improvement will not be accomplished overnight. We take on board the areas for improvement identified in Ofsted’s letter.

“These are all areas we were already aware of and work was already in progress before receipt of Ofsted’s letter.

“I remain fully committed to ensuring we deliver the opportunity for every child to attend a good or outstanding school in Suffolk. Ofsted acknowledges that our vision and strategy are moving us in the right direction and there are some very positive points to take from their letter.

“Seventy five per cent of our schools in Suffolk are classed as good or outstanding and I am determined to continue with our good work so far in raising standards so we can achieve 100 per cent.”

Councillor Lisa Chambers, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for education and skills added: “We have already implemented significant changes since the last Ofsted visit. Suffolk is an improving picture and Ofsted recognises this.

We have closed the gap at key stage 1 and key stage 4 to within 1 per cent of national figures, an improvement of some seven per cent. Educational standards are on the rise and we will ensure this sustainable progress and improvement continues.”

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