Summit determined to improve schooling

Councillor Judith Blake
Councillor Judith Blake
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AN education chief has claimed Yorkshire’s councils are determined to get the region’s schools off the bottom of league tables as they plan for a second summit on the issue.

Coun Judith Blake, Leeds City Council’s lead executive member children and families, was talking ahead of an event planned for the city in March.

Last year, the 15 education authorities in Yorkshire joined forced to launch a school improvement programme to raise standards. Yorkshire has the lowest level of pupils achieving five good GCSEs, including English and maths, and the lowest proportion of schools in the country rated good or better by Ofsted.

In the past year, councils have launched the Pathfinder initiative which has seen 26 improving schools working together in groups to share ideas. This programme is set to be expanded to another 30 schools this year.

However, the education expert leading the scheme, Prof Mel Ainscow, has also warned that a much larger scheme will be needed to make a significant difference to the life chances of children across Yorkshire schools. Prof Ainscow said there would need to be a strong political mandate for a larger scheme from council leaders.

Coun Blake, the lead councillor for the work between the 15 councils, said: “There is definitely the political will to see Yorkshire’s schools become a self improving system and to make sure we make a real difference for all our young people.”