Doncaster turns to London schools expert to boost prospects

THE MAN who led the transformation of London's schools has been appointed to help carry out a review of education and skills in Doncaster.

Professor Sir Tim Brighouse.

Professor Sir Tim Brighouse is one of the experts who is to help the South Yorkshire town where school results lag behind the national average.

Doncaster’s Mayor said the review would help residents take advantage of new jobs being created in the area.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Last year the Government demanded answers from Doncaster Council after the area’s primary school results in National Curriculum tests were among the worst in the country.

Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster. Picture: Marie Caley

The town was also one of the worst performing in the region in secondary school league tables with 50 per cent of pupils failing to get the GCSE benchmark of at least five good grades, including English and maths.

The review aims to help raise attainment levels to ensure that young people have the skills needed to secure new jobs being created in the borough.

The Commission is expected to hear evidence from local people, including parents, businesses, education and training providers, before putting forward its proposals.

Mayor Jones said: “Job creation and economic growth are vital to Doncaster and I have made them my top priority as mayor. We need more highly skilled, well- paid jobs to benefit Doncaster and its residents.

Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster. Picture: Marie Caley

“Great progress is being made, but it will be for nothing if local people aren’t able to benefit from the opportunities that are being created.

“At the moment the overall level of skills and qualifications in the borough are not where they need to be, so we need to be honest about the situation and take action.

“The commission will help us to meaningfully address these issues in both the short term and long term. I am delighted that we have received the support of our ‘Team Doncaster’ partners in helping to set up this initiative.”

The independent commission will be chaired by Dr Ann Limb with Professor Sir Tim Brighouse as vice chairman.

Dr Limb is currently chair of the Scouts Association and the South East Midlands LEP, and is a leading expert on further education and skills.

Sir Tim was the schools commissioner for London between 2002 and 2007 during which time he led the London Challenge - a programme of school improvement which has been credited with helping to transform education standards in the capital.

The Doncaster review will start work this month. It is expected that it will publish its initial findings in the spring and deliver its final report in the late summer.

Mayor Jones said: “With developments such as FARRRS (Finningley and Rossington Regeneration Route Scheme) and the National College for High Speed Rail these are exciting times for Doncaster, bringing new private sector investment and creating huge employment opportunities. We need to make the most of these opportunities, so I look forward to hearing their recommendations and working with our partners to deliver real improvements.”

Dr Limb said: “With so many positive developments taking place in Doncaster right now this is a good time to take stock of the local education system. I am keen to see how we can help the council and its partners improve the career prospects of young people across the borough.”

Sir Tim said: “This commission will be independent from the council and its partners. We will assess the existing system and come forward with recommendations for improvements. The aim is to create a learning and skills system that better supports young people to enter employment and responds to the growing demands of business.”