Doncaster Council’s new director tasked with improving schools

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A YORKSHIRE council has appointed a new director to help ensure more children in the town go to schools that are judged to be good or better.

Doncaster Council’s new director of learning opportunities and skills Damian Allen will lead a new improvement strategy.

The authority said a key focus of his work would be helping more schools to become rated good or outstanding.

Last year Ofsted’s annual regional report for Yorkshire said only 37 per cent of Doncaster pupils went to secondary schools which were good or better - this was lower than anywhere else in the region.

Doncaster Council said that when Mr Allen was at Knowsley Council 90 per cent of schools were good or better “under his leadership.”

Ofsted has recently carried out an assessment of the council’s school improvement services and is to announce its findings today.

Mr Allen said: “Doncaster has exciting times ahead of it as it plans to improve education and learning for children and young people. Mr Allen’s role used to be described as director of children’s services. Doncaster Council is still responsible for schools and education but its safeguarding of children and social services were given to an independent trust following a critical report of the authority in 2013.

Doncaster Children’s Service Trust was created as a result of this last year.

Commenting on Mr Allen’s appointment Coun Nuala Fennelly, cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: “Damian has a wealth of experience and expertise and has a strong track record in helping to change services for the better and deliver success.”

“He is just the sort of person we need to permanently take over from Eleanor Brazil who has built a very strong platform of positive changes and help us move forward in the right path we have been on,” she said.

Jo Miller, Doncaster Council’s chief executive, added: “Our Team Doncaster approach is built upon collaboration and working together to drive up standards and educational grades that will give young people the best possible opportunity to do well.

“We have had some positive results in recent Ofsted reports with more to come on how we are turning education around. Damian’s approach, background, experience and strategic thinking will get us results.”

Jo Moxon will act as interim director of children’s services following on from Eleanor Brazil who left the role at the authority last week.