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Suffolk County Council to work with schools commissioners for action plan improving under-performing academies

PUBLISHED: 13:06 12 June 2018

Gordon Jones said it was about achiving the best outcomes for Suffolk children Picture: SIMON PARKER

Gordon Jones said it was about achiving the best outcomes for Suffolk children Picture: SIMON PARKER

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National and regional education bosses will join up with Suffolk County Council to form an action plan improving under-performing academies, it has been revealed.

A meeting was held on Monday afternoon with Suffolk County Council’s education cabinet member Gordon Jones, alongside regional schools commissioner for the east Sue Baldwin and national schools commissioner Sir David Carter.

The gathering aimed to specifically address concerns about academies which were not performing to an expected level, and what could be done to help improve those.

Despite academies operating outside of local authority control, Mr Jones and the commissioners will now come up with a series of measures in an action plan later this month to work with the schools.

“It was really how we work better together to address the concerns that we both have regarding schools which are not performing as well as we would like,” Mr Jones said.

He added: “We don’t have direct influence on trusts but I think we all want the same outcomes, and we want the best outcomes for the children going through the system whether that’s a national academy chain, local multi-academy trusts or a local authority school, and it’s how we can work better together to achieve those aims.”

Mr Jones pointed to issues at Felixstowe Academy, which was put in special measures by Ofsted earlier in the year, and ongoing work to improve it as just one of the examples in the county.

But Mr Jones stressed that a “one size fits all” approach was not appropriate as different academies had different sets of issues.

He said: “I explained what they were doing there and what changes have been made, and it was made very clear that it was on our radar.

“We will have that in our strategy, and what action we take will very much depend on what the results are from this year’s exams.”

It is understood the strategy will be put together later in the month which will see the county working alongside the schools of concern, their respective trusts and the schools commissioners.

It has not been disclosed how many trusts were of concern.

Mr Jones added: “If we don’t [take action] we are failing the children.”

A letter to the parents from the governing board at Felixstowe Academy shortly after its Ofsted was published said that it was “disappointed” to get the rating but “significant action” had already been taken.

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