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'We are committed to making improvement' - education leader hits back after Ofsted criticism

Central Bedfordshire says a critical letter from Ofsted ignores the work being done in the county. Credit: Press Association.

Education leaders in Bedfordshire have hit back at inspectors following criticism about standards at the county's schools.

Central Bedfordshire council's director of children's services believes a letter sent to the authority by Ofsted completely fails to acknowledge the work being done to improve outcomes for children.

"I should point out that Ofsted inspectors have rated 86 per cent of our schools to be good or outstanding. Many individual school inspection reports cite good support from the local authority to secure school improvement and improved outcomes.

“Having already made significant improvements in GCSE results – something that Ofsted fails to acknowledge – we are committed to making the same improvements for every key stage and for all pupils regardless of their situation.

“We are collectively determined across all partners to make sure that all of our children and young people reach their full potential, and will not rest until outcomes for all pupils in Central Bedfordshire are among the best in the country."

– Sue Harrison, Director of Children's Services.

Ofsted reports back on child protection

Northamptonshire County Council will present the findings today of an independent inspection of child protection services in the county.

Ofsted's latest report will be presented in a meeting at County Hall in Northampton at midday.

The council embarked on a programme to better protect vulnerable children, after the watchdog rated its system inadequate in February 2013.

County Hall in Northampton Credit: ITV News Anglia


Ofsted slams under-performing Suffolk schools

The life chances of Suffolk's children are being damaged by the local authority's failure to challenge and support its schools, according to a damning verdict from Ofsted.

The education watchdog has consistently criticised education standards in Norfolk and Suffolk and today slammed the County Council for being too slow to intervene when schools are under-performing.

Suffolk County Council today said they took onboard the criticisms, but added they are already making changes.

Elodie Harper reports.

Council outlines response to Ofsted concerms

Suffolk County Council is already working to address the four areas for improvement. Key actions include:

  • The development of a four year improvement strategy which will be published later this month
  • The council will work with school leaders to ensure their role in the strategy is understood
  • A more robust stance with under performing schools
  • Developing a more robust quality assurance regime

Reorganising schools is a major strand of the county’s approach in tackling historic underperformance in schools - moving to a primary and secondary system.

The areas that have been reorganised in Suffolk, including Lowestoft, Haverhill, Forest Heath and Waveney, are already outperforming three tier areas.

Suffolk County Council responds to Ofsted letter

Lisa Chambers Credit: PA

Suffolk County Council has responded to a report, published by Ofsted today, following an inspection into its arrangements for supporting school improvement.

Councillor Lisa Chambers, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for education, skills and young people, said:

"Ofsted’s report makes sobering reading, and rightly so. There are few issues of greater significance than the education our young people receive and if advice needs to be given, it ought to be heard – loud and clear.

“We welcome Ofsted’s report and absolutely agree with the four areas of improvement they have identified. So much so that work to address each of them is already well underway.

This report confirms that we are tackling the right issues so that the county council is in the best possible position to support and challenge schools to improve.

We will now, with this guidance from Ofsted, continue on our journey of improvement. Results are improving in Suffolk, but too slowly. And although 70% of schools in Suffolk are rated good or outstanding, this isn’t enough. We must all work to drive up standards.

Ofsted makes four recommendations

Ofsted have criticised Suffolk County Council for not doing enough to challenge or support schools.

Ofsted recommends that:

  • The Council must urgently communicate and implement its plans to improve quality
  • Improve communication between the local authority and school leaders
  • The council must rapidly dentify and resolve emerging problems in schools
  • Implement better quality checks

Now that Suffolk County Council’s education support has been found to be ineffective, Ofsted will monitor developments and re-inspect within a year.

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