Cameron pledges to ditch failing heads

Prime Minister David Cameron
Prime Minister David Cameron
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DAVID Cameron has pledged to tackle failing schools by allowing regional commissioners to take steps such as replacing headteachers and boards of governors.

He made his comments during a visit to the Ark Charter Academy in Portsmouth, Hampshire, which has been turned around under the leadership of principal Dame Sharon Hollows from being a failing school and the lowest performing in the city to being ranked as the second most improved school in the country.

Mr Cameron said: “We have seen massive successful change in education under this Government, 250,000 fewer pupils in failing schools, 800,000 more pupils in schools that are good or outstanding and schools like this one completely turned around over the last five to six years - real success.

“But I do not want failing schools to fail for a day longer than is necessary so as well as converting schools into academies which is proven and works, we are saying also the regional commissioners, many of them talented ex-headteachers, should be able to intervene quicker and faster and do things like get new leadership into schools, more discipline into schools, choose the governing bodies if necessary, make the changes that will change the schools around.

“We know it can be done in any part of the country with any group of children, as this school here in Portsmouth proves.”

The visit came as the Tories pledged new powers to impose tough classroom discipline.

Mr Cameron wants to create a “crack squad” of teachers so the top talent in the profession could be swiftly despatched to classrooms that are failing to hit targets.

It comes amid concerns about the time it takes to turn around badly-performing schools and the impact that can have on the education of the 100,000 pupils affected.