City draws up plans to tackle issue of sub-standard teachers

AN ACTION plan which will includes steps to make it easier for education bosses to tackle under- performing teachers is set to be approved by councillors in a Yorkshire city tomorrow.

Bradford Council’s executive will be asked to approve a 15-point improvement strategy which has been drawn up by the authority’s children’s services scrutiny committee.

It has been produced following a lengthy investigation by the committee into how standards in the district’s schools could be improved.

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During this process the committee was told by a head teacher that when school leaders have staff they feel need to be challenged the council’s policies are too “risk averse”.

One of the recommendations of the report is for the council’s human resources department to review its policies to address this issue to better support Bradford school head teachers in “ensuring all members of the workforce are capable of doing their job well”.

Other proposals include asking all councillors to consider becoming school governors and also that the existing school partnerships in Bradford be encouraged to find better ways of “sharing leadership expertise” and methods of improving the quality of teaching.

Bradford schools already work in a secondary and a primary partnership to raise standards.

The secondary school partnership was praised by Ofsted’s chief inspector of schools Sir Michael Wilshaw earlier this year at the North of England Education conference.

The Educational Attainment report was written after the scrutiny committee carried out 10 months of work between October 2012 and July this year.

The views and opinions of teachers and other education professionals, parents, trade unions, school governors and councillors were sought during this process.

Recommendations contained in the report look at issues including funding, performance management and community engagement as well as attendance and helping schools to cope with high pupil turnover.

The report is being considered by the executive tomorrow who will be asked to approve the 15 recommendations made by the scrutiny committee.

The executive will also be provided with a summary statement from Kath Tunstall, the council’s strategic director for children’s services, which asks councillors to consider whether to integrate the new recommendations into an existing improvement strategy or whether to adopt them as a separate action plan.

Bradford Council’s executive member for Children’s Services, Coun Ralph Berry, said: “I’d like to thank the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and all the people who contributed to their work for producing such a comprehensive Educational Attainment report as it provides us with a list of key recommendations to work with.

“The report follows months of discussion and hearings with a wide range of people and organisations.

“I also welcome the suggestions made by Kath Tunstall in her summary statement.

“The executive has been provided with a sound basis for discussion on the future strategy for further raising standards in schools.”

The plans for Bradford follow education bosses in another Yorkshire city developing an authority wide approach to school improvement.

Last week York Council announced that it was launching the York Challenge based on the success of similar approaches in both London and Greater Manchester which have been credited with raising school standards.

The Yorkshire Post also revealed last week that all 15 education authorities in the region are looking at developing a Yorkshire wide “challenge” programme.

This would use expertise from across the region in schools, councils, higher education and business to help raise standards in areas of Yorkshire where schools are found to be under performing.