Schools chosen to lead drive to raise standards

THE schools which will spearhead an improvement programme aimed at turning Yorkshire’s education system into the best in the world have been revealed.

Benton Park School, Rawdon

Town halls across Yorkshire have joined forces to launch an inquiry into why the region’s schools lag behind the rest of the country.

The 15 education authorities in the region are also developing plans for a massive school improvement programme to raise standards.

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The drive was launched at a summit in Leeds on Tuesday in which education bosses outlined plans to transform Yorkshire schools into the best in the world.

This work will start by supporting a group of 23 pathfinder schools which will be given expert help to become good or outstanding.

Councils plan to learn lessons from these schools and use it as a blueprint to raise standards around the county.

The Yorkshire Post can today reveal the 23 schools which have been chosen. Education bosses were looking for schools which were rated less than good by the inspection body Ofsted but which are already showing signs of improvement. They have chosen 13 secondaries and 10 primaries from across the region.

The schools which have volunteered to be part of this scheme are Netherwood Advanced Learning Centre, and Horizon Community College in Barnsley, Hanson School in Bradford, Oakbank School in Keighley, Luddenden Primary and Calder High, near Halifax, Plover Academy and Hall Cross Primary in Doncaster, Bay Primary in Bridlington, Beverley High, Kelvin Hall School in Hull, North Huddersfield Trust School, Benton Park in Rawdon, near Leeds, Beechwood Primary in Leeds, William Barcroft Juniors in Cleethorpes, Havelock Academy in Grimsby, Bottesford Juniors and Frederick Gough School in Scunthorpe, Wales High in Sheffield, Swinton Fitzwilliam Primary, near Mexborough, New Earswick Primary, near York, and Burton Green Primary in the city and Sherburn High, near Selby.

The school improvement programme is being led by Prof Mel Ainscow who was previously the Government’s chief adviser for a similar scheme in Greater Manchester, and Coun Judith Blake, deputy leader of Leeds City Council.

Prof Ainscow said the schools would be given expert help to deliver further improvements. They will also be expected to work together to share ideas.

The schools have been placed into four “families”.

These are primaries, West Yorkshire secondary schools, South Yorkshire secondaries and secondaries from North and East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire.

A conference to launch the school improvement work was held on Tuesday with more than 250 delegates packed into Leeds Town Hall.

This included representatives from the 15 education authorities in Yorkshire: Barnsley, Bradford, Calderdale, Doncaster, East Riding, Hull, Kirklees, Leeds, North East Lincolnshire, North Lincolnshire, North Yorkshire, Rotherham, Sheffield, Wakefield and York. Also attending were head teachers from academies, which are run outside local authority control, and representatives from the region’s universities, colleges and businesses.

One of the key themes of the event was whether Yorkshire’s schools system could emulate the success enjoyed by the county’s Olympic heroes in 2012. Leeds City Council’s deputy director of children’s services Paul Brennan pointed out that had Yorkshire been an independent nation it would have been ranked 12th on the Olympic Medal tables.

He added: “And we would have been one of the very best in the world in terms of medals per head of population.”