Advisors sent to underperforming Suffolk schools

EXPERT advisors are being sent to Suffolk to help three underperforming secondary schools.

Anthony Bond

EXPERT advisors are being sent to Suffolk to help three underperforming secondary schools.

The Government yesterdaysaid the advisors are being sent to give “intense support” and “accelerate progress”.

Alongside Suffolk, Leeds and Kent are the only other two local authorities from across the country were special advisors are being sent following yesterday'sannouncement.

The advisors are being sent as part of the National Challenge initiative in which every school must have at least 30% of its pupils getting five A*-C grades at GCSE, including English and Maths, by 2011.

But Holywells High School and Chantry High School and Sixth Form College, which are both in Ipswich, and The Denes High School in Lowestoft, are not reaching that level.

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As a result, Suffolk County Council has requested extra support from the Government.

Simon White, director of Children and Young People's Services at the council, said he was concerned about the three schools but confident they would be turned around.

“We have 38 secondary schools and seven which are in that category {National Challenge}, of those seven, four are now above 30% and all of them are improving.

“There are three schools which are still below 30%, or likely to be below, and we completely share with the Secretary of State the view that that is not good enough.

“We are working very hard with the schools to improve performance and all of them have got plans which should develop performance to the minimum standard of 30% next year. With the expert advisor coming in we will make sure that we are doing all that we can to make that happen. That should provide reassurance to parents.”

Schools secretary Ed Balls warned that he would be “uncompromising” in reaching the 30% target.

“Where a school's results have dropped unexpectedly to below the minimum standard or are otherwise a significant cause for concern, the local authority should issue a warning notice or ask Ofsted to inspect the school.

“If I am not satisfied that local authorities are taking the necessary action required, I will not hesitate to use my own powers to prompt an inspection.”