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County's cabinet gets stuck into school failings

Tuesday, 19th February 2013.

Suffolk schools poor attainment levels are to be discussed by the county council's cabinet for the first time since the latest disastrous results announced in December.

A report has been published this week illustrating the attainment levels for Suffolk schools during 2012, including the county’s key stage two results.

The cabinet is to consider the recent results along with a number of improvements made by schools during its meeting next week.

Although Suffolk has a history of underperformance issues with key stage two, attainment levels in the county are seeing year on year improvements since 2009, the council says.

Some of the recent improvements include:
* A nine per cent improvement in performance at the early years level compared to only five per cent improvement nationally;
* The change from three-tier to two-tier is starting to show some excellent results with schools in Haverhill and Lowestoft outperforming schools elsewhere in the county in terms of improvement. Haverhill schools showed a 13 per cent improvement compared with five per cent nationally, and schools in north Lowestoft showed a ten per cent improvement;
* The number of primary schools that are considered to be below the floor standard has significantly reduced since 2009 from over 30 schools to 11 in 2012;
* Provisional A level results for 2012 showed a strong increase on last year. On average in Suffolk the number of points per student for A levels increased by 27 points compared with last year’s results. This means that students on average scored one grade higher than previous years. Typically in 2011 this would have meant that students gained three Bs and this year this would equate to students scoring two Bs and a A.

The cabinet will also be considering the plan for further improvements to the attainment levels in Suffolk, including the Raising The Bar programme.

Cllr Graham Newman, the council’s cabinet member for education and young people, said: “I will be asking cabinet to acknowledge the current attainment levels in our schools, and the action being taken to address them.

"While it is essential that we continue to implement our immediate improvement plans, it is also important to recognise that there are a number of schools that are seeing year-on-year improvement in performance.

"With 21 schools judged as having improved under the new, stricter Ofsted inspection criteria introduced last September, parents are more likely to have their children attend a ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ school than in previous years.

“The council has already taken urgent action to address attainment through the implementation of its seven-point plan and by inviting headteachers to work with the council’s learning and improvement service in analysing their school’s performance data to produce strategic plans to target support exactly where it is needed.

“Suffolk County Council’s new director for children’s services, Sue Cook, has recently taken up her post, and has already committed to working to drive up attainment in Suffolk’s schools.

"I am certain that by working together with head teachers, governors, school staff and parents, Suffolk’s schools will soon begin to climb the league tables.”

Haverhill Online News

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