A YORKSHIRE council where pupils delivered some of the worst GCSE results in the country has launched an ambitious strategy to ensure every child goes to a school which is “good or better.”
Bradford Council wants to raise standards across the district – particularly in the core subjects of English and maths.
The new strategy also highlights the need to reduce the impact that poverty has on children’s performance in schools.
The latest GCSE league tables from last year’s exams showed Bradford secondary schools were among the bottom 10 performers in the country out of 150 education authorities – based on the number of students achieving the benchmark of five good grades, including English and maths.
Despite delivering improved results Bradford was one of four education authority areas in Yorkshire where less than half of pupils achieved this standard. The national average is 58.2 per cent.
Government reforms are changing the role of councils in education. Increasingly some state schools are no-longer directly funded through the council or run by them because they are opting to become academies which receive their funding directly from the Department for Education.
Bradford Council has set out a vision for how it wants the authority to help raise standards across all schools in the district in future.
The strategy has been drawn up after consultation with “head teachers, governors and other education providers.”
It says school leaders are the people best placed to raise standards and eliminate under-performance and that the role of the council will be to direct resources and expertise to support this.
A council statement said: “The council will provide a strong co-ordinating role to improve school-to-school support across the district so that good practice is shared and built upon. In addition, the council will work to develop effective relationships with other partner organisations in the voluntary and independent sectors, and in further and higher education.”
The main aims of the strategy include ensuring all children and young people attend schools that are good or better; supporting language development and ensuring sufficient places are available at a time when the city is facing shortages because of a fast growing population.
Coun Ralph Berry, executive member for children’s services, said: “We are determined to provide all our children with an education that allows them to get the best possible start in life. We know that providing young people with the right skills and knowledge is crucial to their future success and wellbeing. It is also vital if we are to have a thriving local economy.”
“Raising educational attainment across the district is one of the most important challenges we face. The priorities in the strategy have been developed in collaboration with head teachers, governors and other education providers ... it sets out some demanding targets, but we believe they are achievable, and the council is committed to working in partnership with all those providing education to our children to ensure we can deliver them.”
Kath Tunstall, strategic director of children’s services, said: “We have a collective ambition across all schools to deliver better outcomes for our children and young people. This strategy identifies priorities and targets that will help us achieve that.”